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#GC78: HOD resolutions review committee on changes to marriage canon

#GC78: HOD resolutions review committee on changes to marriage canon

Integrity is reporting that The House of Deputies committee considering proposed changes to the marriage canon have clarified that arguments suggesting that General Convention cannot make such changes because they run counter to the Book of Common Prayer are based on “flawed premises.”

The House of Deputies [Resolutions] Review Committee has included the following important clarification in its report on the work of the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage.

In clear concise language it clarifies that the canonical resolutions being considered by Committee 20 are firmly within the bounds of the authority of this 78th General Convention.

Good people of deep faith can and will come to different conclusions on what – if any — steps the Episcopal Church should take toward ending discrimination against sacramental marriage for same-sex couples. But the following excerpt from the HOD Review Committee makes it abundantly clear that taking the position that the proposals before Committee 20 are unconstitutional is utterly without merit:

We’re following up and will post the documentation from the committee as soon as it is available.

posted by Jon White


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Doug Desper

I’ll be the odd one out because someone has to be. I think that our Church is going a bridge too far by taking on itself the power to redefine what Jesus clarified about human bonding in Matthew 19. Christian Marriage has been settled in the Church by His words wherein He reiterated Genesis 2 (forgetting the errors that others twisted it into over time). We need to heed Chief Justice Roberts’ dissenting opinion yesterday. In it he said that there is now nothing that can legally be done to deny marriage to 3 or more people of any grouping. If the precedent of changing marriage is based on what people want, then the door is now open to continually redefine marriage. The same is true at General Convention. What this Convention changes a future generation will be obliged to move beyond because of cultural demands becoming the basis for change — an understanding that marriage “has evolved” again. I am very disappointed – but not surprised – that the Marriage Study never once quoted , nor dealt with, Jesus’ clarification of the “who” of marriage in Matthew 19. That Study began with the premise…..”our understandings of Marriage have evolved.”. After this Convention the “evolving” will have only begun. Then what? Blessings for 3 or more?

Cynthia Katsarelis

Doug, did you even read this? Reposting:

“Jesus’ comment about marriage was about divorce because it made outcasts out of women, leaving them without the protection of living under a male household. Jesus doesn’t really define marriage for all times.”

Hello! Jesus is talking about the hard-heartedness of men, and divorce in that context. To read it now as a definition of marriage is surely to cherry pick to make your point, and it is a stretch.

Again, marriage has been re-defined several times over, often to stop the abuse of women and give us an out. The suggestion that 1950’s marriage is 2000 years old really isn’t correct. It is a fantasy coming from people who imperially think that their life is perfect for everyone else too.

This bit about now opening marriage to 3 or more people is borderline insulting.

I’m so sorry about your phobia, but everything that you are saying just sounds like projection of your fears. It isn’t compassionate for the suffering of LGBTQ people, it isn’t kind, polite, or theologically rigorous.

Look, if it’s lacking in compassion for others, it probably isn’t of Jesus.

Charles Jackson

Here’s the thing. For the vast majority of Anglican history, we’ve recognized two sacraments — Baptism and the Holy Eucharist — as being intrinsic to the life of the church.

We’ve also recognized five other sacramental rites (Confirmation, Holy Orders, Marriage, Confession, and the Anointing of the Sick). Depending on your Churchmanship and theology, these may or may not be held in equal dignity to Baptism and the Eucharist. But Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church affirm a distinction.

As far back as the 39 Articles we’ve been taught that, “Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism…”

Our sacramental rites can be adapted to the times, after careful pastoral and theological reflection.

The Articles affirm this when they state, “every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.”

This would seem to clearly include authority to modify our sacramental rites.

Over the course of Christian (and Anglican) history we’ve witnessed the evolution of nearly all of the sacramental rites — take Confirmation for example!

What the Church today is called upon to do is affirm the dignity of LGBT relationships in the eyes of God.

It is completely within the competency of our Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to make these adaptations.

Doug Desper

It must be remembered that if today’s General Convention feels at liberty to alter the meaning of Christian Marriage, that they are setting a precedent for generations. If the Judeo-Christian mode is jettisoned, then it must be jettisoned entirely. Sine today’s main reason to alter Marriage is due to sensibilities to be generous to anyone in love, then you cannot – in the future – limit the gender nor the number of people who want to get married. The Church of the future will be faced with 3 or more people demanding to be married, and as a matter of “generous orthodoxy”, there can be no reason to deny it. Chief Justice Roberts gave this very scenario for the future in his dissent on today’s Supreme Court marriage ruling:

In his dissent on the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, Chief Justice John Roberts raised this:

“If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise “suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,”why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children?
Roberts further clarifies his argument:

I do not mean to equate marriage between same-sex couples with plural marriages in all respects. There may well be relevant differences that compel different legal analysis. But if there are, petitioners have not pointed to any. When asked about a plural marital union at oral argument, petitioners asserted that a State “doesn’t have such an institution.” But that is exactly the point: the States at issue here do not have an institution of same-sex marriage, either”.

What today’s Church feels justified in altering means that the Church of the next generation will be compelled to move beyond it.

Chris Harwood

You’re probably right re: poly marriage. And why not? The SC decision is about civil contracts. Several groups in Utah probably are getting their ducks in a row to make the argument very soon. And hasn’t at least one Episcopal priest already spoken up for it?

David Allen

Institutions, not churches. Organizations that participate in functions in the public sphere; namely adoption agencies and such, especially if they receive public funding to carry out their mandate.

Bro David

Chris Harwood

Cynthia, the SC just made secular same-sex marriage the law of the land. They did not do it out of faith filled reasoning, or regarding a sacrament, but as a legal contract to clarify people’s legal rights to benefits, inheritance, legal spousal rights, custody, property, medical decisions, etc. So there is no reason why in the future any combination of consenting adults cannot sign such a contract.

On the other hand, you may be glad to hear that in Justice Roberts’ paper he said the Solicitor-General “candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage”. So you’ve won and conservative Christianity is to be destroyed, one way or the other.

Cynthia Katsarelis

At this point, I would say, Chris, that the purpose of equal marriage was so that gay people also have the possibility to enter into a committed, faithful, Grace filled covenant with one other person. To say otherwise is very close to being rude, very rude.

I don’t know what future families will look like. Polygamy has typically been highly abusive to women and children. There’s clearly a Biblical model for it, but I don’t recommend it.

Fidelity and faithfulness to a partner is a strong part of my view of marriage as a covenant.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Sounds to me, Doug, like the church “lost it” when they allowed divorce. And before that when it kind of stopped accepting the “women as chattel” model of marriage. And before that when polygamy stopped.

Jesus’ comment about marriage was about divorce because it made outcasts out of women, leaving them without the protection of living under a male household. It doesn’t really define marriage for all times. If it did, your beef is with divorce, not gay people.

I’m sorry for your fear that giving me my Human Rights and lifting up my Grace filled long-term marriage is somehow inferior to straight marriage and indeed is so horrific that it forever ruins Judeo-Christianity for you. I don’t understand it, but I guess that’s what it’s a phobia.

It is a beautiful day in America and The Episcopal Church can choose to recognize God’s Grace in our lives now, or drag their knuckles for another 3 years.

Pete Haynsworth

Re: BCP was compared to the Confederate Flag … this GC is going to be loonier than ever! Here’s the quote:

“How long are we going to allow documents like the Book of Common Prayer to contain language that is explicitly discriminatory?” asked the Rev. Will Mebane, interim dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo and a member of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage. “Demands for the Confederate flag, a symbol of hate, to come down have been heard. … It is time to remove our symbol that contains language of discrimination.”

Richard Edward Helmer

Just to clarify Grant’s remarks above, so the process is clear:

The statement mentioned in this thread was an advisory issued by the House of Deputies *Resolutions Review Committee* (HoDRRC). Our charge under the House of Deputies Rules is to advise each legislative committee of the House on any constitutional, canonical, or polity concerns raised by proposed resolutions assigned to that particular committee.

Integrity’s post is based on an advisory our committee made to the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage of this Convention as they began to undertake their work. So, it is *not* a statement of the House of Deputies as a whole, but only an advisory of one committee to another at the beginning of our legislative process.

“Statements of the HoD” are only formed through votes of the House conducted in good order. The House is, of course, at liberty to disagree with our advisories (as is any committee to which we offer them!)

Richard Edward Helmer
HoDRRC Secretary

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