A086 Authorize Rites to Bless Relationships

Resolved, the House of ______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention authorize “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” (as appended to the report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage), authorized for use by the 78th General Convention, to be added to the “Enriching Our Worship” series, for use in jurisdictions of the Episcopal Church in which 1) the couple desiring marriage are of the same sex; and 2) the civil jurisdiction in which the marriage would occur does not allow marriage of same-sex persons; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention authorize “The Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship” (as appended to the report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage) for inclusion in the “Enriching Our Worship” series; and be it further

Resolved, That “The Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship” shall not be used for mere convenience. It may be used 1) by couples who desire to form and to formalize a relationship with one another that is monogamous, unconditional and lifelong, but is nevertheless something different than a marriage in that it does not include the merging of property, finances or other legal encumbrances; and 2) by couples for whom the requirement to furnish identification to obtain a marriage license could result in legal penalties including deportation, because of their immigration status; and be it further

Resolved, That these rites are to be used under the direction of a bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority; and be it further

Resolved, That it shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Church to decline to officiate at any rite of blessing defined herein; and be it further

Resolved, That this Church continue to honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality, and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support for these rites; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention direct the Secretary of General Convention and the Custodian of the Standard Book of Common Prayer, in consultation with the outgoing Chair of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Chairs of the Legislative Committees to whom this legislation is referred, to finalize and arrange with Church Publishing for the publication (in English, Spanish, and French) of the material contained in “Enriching Our Worship” as approved by the 79th General Convention; the General Convention Office to make these materials available electronically at no cost no later than the first Sunday of Advent 2018.

Explanation

In response to Resolution 2009-C056, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music developed “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” as a rite for blessing same-sex relationships. The rite was authorized for use by the 2012 General Convention (Resolution 2012-A049), then revised and authorized for use by the 2015 General Convention (Resolution 2015-A054). This rite is intended for use only in jurisdictions of The Episcopal Church in which 1) the couple desiring marriage are of the same sex; and 2) the civil jurisdiction in which the marriage would occur does not allow marriage of same-sex persons. This resolution proposes that this rite be included in the Enriching Our Worship series.