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Washington state bishops support marriage equality law

Washington state bishops support marriage equality law

The bishops who serve dioceses in the state of Washington both support the newly passed and signed law for marriage equality according to Mary Frances Schjonberg of Episcopal News Service:

The bishops of both the Episcopal dioceses of Olympia and Spokane will make provisions for their clergy to operate within the state of Washington’s new same-gender marriage law.

Governor Christine Gregoire signed legislation into law Feb. 13. The law takes effect in June. Opponents of the statute have vowed to seek its repeal through a ballot measure in November that could delay enactment further or halt it entirely, Reuters reported.

The Olympia diocese will “accommodate” the new law “within its structure,” according to a statement made prior to the legislation being signed into law.

A short statement under the heading of “Marriage Equality” on the diocesan website notes that Olympia’s decision is “much as other Episcopal dioceses have in states where similar legislation has passed.”

Prior to the Washington bill becoming law, Olympia Bishop Greg Rickel had left it to individual clergy to decide whether to bless same-gender civil unions, according to the statement.

In the eastern Washington Spokane diocese (which also covers northern Idaho, n.b., ed.), Bishop James Waggoner Jr. said in a statement e-mailed to Episcopal News Service that he had “been communicating my support for the legislation through various channels within the legislative process.” He “welcome[d] the decision and am grateful that it recognizes the reality of relationships already being lived out faithfully and lovingly. The validation of legal status and related rights, including benefits, is overdue.”


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JC Fisher

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