After what Bishop Andy Doyle described as "a nineteen year fight" today the Diocese of Texas overwhelmingly approved the removal of Canon 43 paving the way for the equal treatment of the marriages of same and opposite sex couples.
The vote was 499 votes in favor and 144 votes against reordering the canons to remove Canon 43 which read:
In his address to the diocese, Bishop Doyle noted that Canon 43 "has not kept anyone dissatisfied with TEC from leaving" and "what it has done is keep talented clergy from other parts of the country from coming to the Diocese of Texas." He also noted "this is not a vote for marriage or against marriage. This is a vote for mission."
And I cannot help but pause for just a moment to recognize how far we have come as a church to the day when this is possible "deep in the heart of Texas." I remember a day over a decade ago now when we were able to get an appointment to talk to the then-bishop in Dio Texas about the Claiming the Blessing initiative. That appointment was contingent on [a] there be no public acknowledgement that we had met and [b] being willing to come up the back "freight elevator" so as not to be seen entering the building.
What a difference a decade or so makes.
There will be more to say as the dust settles but in this moment I want to claim the challenge of George Regas -- one of our Giants of Justice -- and that challenge is to "set audacious goals and celebrate incremental victories."
We are still on the journey to the audacious goal of the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church and today's historic vote in Texas is a great big fat incremental victory worthy of celebrating. #BigTime
Let's start by sending Bishop Doyle an attaboy for his leadership on Twitter at @TexasBishop. Because today's actions, my brothers and sisters, are proof certain that evolution is not a theory -- it is a reality. We just saw it happen.
And then give thanks for the persistent and powerful leadership of those who have worked within the Diocese of Texas -- quite literally "an inch at a time"-- to make this day possible. I think personally of Laurie Eiserloh and Muffie Maroney who have been at this work since Jesus was in the youth group. Along with many others in the Diocese of Texas their faith, perseverance and commitment made justice roll down today -- deep in the heart of Texas.
Let us rejoice and give thanks for it!