Church to begin same-sex nuptials
By Janette Williams, Staff Writer [Pasadena Star News]
PASADENA - All Saints Church in Pasadena, one of the largest and most liberal Episcopalian congregations in the country, announced Thursday it will begin performing wedding ceremonies for gay couples starting June 16.
In what All Saints Rector the Rev. Ed Bacon called a "historic vote," church officials adopted the "Resolution on Marriage Equality" unanimously Thursday, after a special meeting of the 3,500-member congregation's lay leadership.
The church's action came in response to the California Supreme Court's May 15 ruling overturning the ban on gay marriage approved by voters in 2000.
All Saints has performed blessings for same-sex couples for the past 15 years.
But Bacon described the church vestry's vote as showing "stirring courage to move beyond lip service" to the church's commitment to equality by extending marriage rights to gay members.
"Today's decision is consistent with All Saints Church, Pasadena's identity as a peace and justice church," Bacon said in a statement Thursday. "It also aligns us with the Scriptures' mandate to make God's love tangible by `doing justice and loving mercy' (Micah 6:8) and with the canons of our Episcopal Church that forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
Those against same-sex marriage have vowed to overturn the appeals court's decision by putting a constitutional amendment initiative on the November ballot.
One opponent, Richard J. Mouw, president of the conservative Protestant Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, said Thursday that he believes All Saints is "making a very serious mistake" in performing marriage rites for same-sex couples - and he advised Bacon to read Romans 1.
All Saints has many valuable ministries and Bacon is a friend, Mouw said, "but it should be clear to everyone that he's out of step with his global Anglican communion and fostering what many of us sincerely believe is a real threat to the social fabric."
By linking gay marriage to issues of "justice and mercy" rather than moral standards, he said, All Saints restricts dialogue with people who have "legitimate questions" about their definition of marriage.
Bacon called the decision a "natural step forward on All Saints' lengthy journey of justice, peace and inclusion."
So my question for Dr. Mouw is "help me understand how more couples committing themselves to love, honor and cherish each other is a 'threat to the social fabric.'" It seems to me that it is those who want to exploit marriage as a wedge issue to polarize the electorate who threaten "the sanctity of marriage" ... not the couples lining up to enter into it until death do them part!
As for Romans 1, I thank God that this is a country where freedom of religion allows Dr. Mouw to interpret the Holy Scriptures as his faith informs him. I also thank God that this is a country where the same is true for Ed Bacon and for All Saints Church. And most of all, I thank God that the separation of church and state keep either of those faithful guys ... or anybody else, for that matter ... from injecting their faith-based conclusions into our constitution-based rule of law.
PS -- Yes, we know we're out of step with the global Anglican Communion. It's called "a step ahead" -- and we're moving on!