Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bishops Worry about Gay Marriage Vote Fallout

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bishops Worry about Gay Marriage Vote Fallout

Article excerpt

Some bishops have expressed concern about the possibility that some priests may go ahead and marry gay couples in the event that a resolution changing the marriage canon to allow same-gender marriages is rejected at General Synod this summer, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

"If it's not approved, then, as we sometimes say... there could be some 'civil disobedience' on the part of clergy and parishes, and the bishops are going to have to handle that, because all of us that are ordained make a solemn promise to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Anglican Church of Canada," Hiltz said. Hiltz made the comments during an interview about the House of Bishops meeting April 4-8.

Asked to clarify if by "civil disobedience" he meant same-gender marriages in defiance of a "no" vote, Hiltz replied, "That's a possibility. Bishops are aware of that. We're mindful of our need to reach out to those who are going to be hurt or offended by a decision of General Synod."

Whatever the outcome of the vote at the General Synod meeting July 7-12, Hiltz said, the bishops need to be aware that the church risks losing members who may be incensed to the point of leaving. Bishops may decide to hold "post-General Synod" gatherings, which would enable people to "express what they need to express and consider how we continue to walk together," he said.

"We're all going into this synod knowing there will be pastoral implications no matter which way this vote goes, and every single bishop in our church has to deal with those pastoral implications," he said.

"I know it's difficult for people to hear me say this, but... if it doesn't pass, the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] community is going to be deeply upset-if not, in fact, deeply offended," Hiltz added. "And we will have to seize that as a challenge and an opportunity as a church to be, I think, much more deeply engaged with them in terms of their lived experience of their lived covenantal love one for another."

To pass its first reading at General Synod this July, the resolution to allow same-sex marriages needs a two-thirds majority from all three orders-bishops, clergy and laity. …

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