Magazine article Anglican Journal

Archbishop Weds Lesbian Couple

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Archbishop Weds Lesbian Couple

Article excerpt

Archbishop Terence Finlay, the retired bishop of the diocese of Toronto and metropolitan (senior bishop) of Ontario, has been disciplined for officiating at a same-sex marriage in a United Church in Toronto. He expressed the hope that Anglicans would "reflect on this with understanding."

"The couple I married are very close friends of our family," saidhbishop Finlay, whose licence to officiate at marriages was suspended by the current bishop of Toronto until the end of 2006.

"I've known one since she was a small chila; her father was one of my theological professors and he was an honorary assistant in one of my parishes and over the years, our families have remained very close." The news of his involvement in the June ceremony, first reported Sept. 29 on the Anglican Journal Web site (, made headlines around the world. It was out of a "long journey of love, friendship, support and familial relationship" with the couple that Archbishop Finlay said he "came to the conclusion that their love for one another was part of God's divine love and it was appropriate that that be deeply blessed."

The archbishop married Mary Rowe, a prominent public policy planner and author, and Sandra Morris, an artist and writer, at Toronto's Metropolitan United Church, on June 24. (Rev. Malcolm Sinclair, pastor of the Metropolitan United Church, signed the marriage licence.)

Archbishop Finlay, who made headlines in the early 1990s when he fired Rev. James Ferry for maintaining a homosexual relationship, said he received bad advice at the time. He said he was not trying to make a statement or encourage other clergy to defy the church's marriage canon, which allows the sacrament for a man and a woman only, nor did he do it "as a publicity stunt to make waves."

The archbishop, who retired in 2004, has been "admonished" and has had his licence to officiate at marriages suspended by the diocesan bishop of Toronto, Colin Johnson. Bishop Johnson declined to comment.

In a memo issued Sept. 1 to clergy of the diocese and obtained by the Journal, Bishop Johnson did not name Archbishop Finlay as the cleric who presided at a same-sex marriage. He stated that he had "reprimanded him in writing, admonished him not to do so again, and suspended his licence to officiate at marriages until the end of 2006." The act of presiding at a same-sex marriage breached the church's Canon XXI, wrote Bishop Johnson, who served as Archbishop Finlay's executive assistant for 11 years prior to being elected as his successor in 2004. "Same-sex marriages are not authorized at this time in the diocese of Toronto and I do not con-done diocesan clergy officiating at such marriages, whether in the Anglican church or elsewhere. …

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