From John Kirkley's meditatio:
Bishop Marc Andrus has announced his policy regarding the blessing of same sex unions in a letter to clergy of the diocese of California. Unlike the previous bishop, whose policy was "not to have a policy," Bishop Marc has presented a clear, concise, and pastoral response to the needs of lesbian and gay couples in our churches, consistent with Resolution C051 of the 2003 General Convention.
* Blessings are subject to the discretion of clergy in consultation with couples
* Careful counseling and preparation should precede the rite
* The bishop is to be informed of the blessing in advance and consulted regarding the rite, as part of the exercise of his pastoral responsibility
* The Diocesan Commission on Marriage and Blessings will identify and/or develop rites of reference for use in the diocese (this will relieve couples and clergy of the onerous and unfair task of having to reinvent the liturgical wheel for every rite)
* "The blessings of same-sex couples in our churches are celebrations of Christian love and vocation, and deserve the same expressions of joy and excitement that others enjoy." (in other words, such rites are not to be treated as a dirty secret, but as a public expression of the church's common life and ministry like any other sacramental rite)
Bishop Marc is demonstrating the kind of transparency that caused him to be elected bishop of California in the first place. This is a real step forward toward the full inclusion of lesbian and gay couples in the diocese of California, and Bishop Marc is to be commended for his leadership. It will, no doubt, result in some backlash across the wider church. Ultimately, however, it will be a gift for all Christians who care about the vocation of couples as icons of holy relationship.
It is an important next step on a journey that isn't over yet.