Love this photo of the I-35 bridge lit up to celebrate the arrival of Marriage Equality in Minnesota yesterday, as the governor signed into law the bill passed by the Senate on Monday. It'll be August 1 before the "I do's" start happening ... but a great day and a great celebration.
Meanwhile there was this Nice piece in ENS today about Minnesota Bishop Brian Prior setting policies in place now that Marriage Equality has come to "the land of sky blue waters."
The first comment, unfortunately, was a misguided slam at those who will -- in the writer's opinion -- be "violating the marriage canons" by solemnizing same-sex marriages in Minnesota. (Or ... one suspects ... any other of the jurisdictions where now over 25% of Episcopalians live that have achieved marriage equality.)
Of course I had a few thoughts ... actually, lifted from an earlier post on this blog:
In point of fact, the current canons on marriage are inherently self-contradictory now that over 25% of Episcopalians live in states with civil marriage equaliy.
Let’s review. The canons begin with:
CANON 18: Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony
Sec. 1. Every Member of the Clergy of this Church shall conform to the laws of the State governing the creation of the civil status of marriage, and also to the laws of this Church governing the solemnization of Holy Matrimony.
… and then continue with a “check list” — which includes in (b) a description of marriage.
Sec. 2. Before solemnizing a marriage the Member of the Clergy
shall have ascertained:
(a) That both parties have the right to contract a marriage
according to the laws of the State.
(b) That both parties understand that Holy Matrimony is a physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind, and will, and with intent that it be lifelong.
(c) That both parties freely and knowingly consent to such
marriage, without fraud, coercion, mistake as to identity of a
partner, or mental reservation.
(d) That at least one of the parties has received Holy Baptism.
(e) That both parties have been instructed as to the nature,
meaning, and purpose of Holy Matrimony by the Member of
the Clergy, or that they have both received such instruction
from persons known by the Member of the Clergy to be
competent and responsible.
It can be argued … and indeed, is being argued … that Canon 18.2b does not proscribe that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman … rather it describes Holy Matrimony as “a physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind, and will, and with intent that it be lifelong” at a time when that was indeed the case.
And it can be argued … and indeed, is being argued … that the values the make up the marriage transcend the gender of the couple committing to live out those values until death do they part.
It can be argued … and indeed, is being argued … that the descriptive nature of the language in Canon 18.2b does not “trump” the instructive nature of Section 18.1 to “conform to the laws of the State governing the civil status of marriage” — and that bishops are operating within the spirit of the law (canon) when they authorize the clergy in their dioceses to stand on right side of history by offering equal blessing and equal protection to the same-sex couples coming to them for the blessing and solemnization of their civil marriage.
All of this suffice to say there is plenty of work for the Task Force on the Study of Marriage to do … even as there are plenty of “happily ever afters” about to be celebrated in Minnesota, Delaware, Rhode Island, etc. etc. etc. And meanwhile, we wait on the Supreme Court ... (cue sound effects: tick/tock, tick/tock!)