Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Contact: John Becker, Director of Communications
Phone: 920-265-6023

Truth Wins Out Lauds Episcopal Church for Voting to Affirm Trans People, Bless Same-Sex Unions

While Work Remains, These Steps are Historic, Says TWO

BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out lauded the Episcopal Church today for adding gender identity and expression to its nondiscrimination laws at its General Convention in Indianapolis earlier this week, and for officially approving a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions last night. By adding gender identity and expression to two canons, the Episcopal Church named and included trans people as full members and opened the discernment and ordination process to them. In approving the blessing rite, the Episcopal Church became the largest mainline Christian denomination in the United States to bless gay and lesbian unions.

“We applaud the Episcopal Church for taking these crucial and historic steps toward the full embrace of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered congregants,” said John Becker, Director of Communications for Truth Wins Out. “Our hope is that other religious groups and faith leaders will follow in their footsteps.”

The landmark votes come at the same time that the worldwide Anglican Communion – of which the Episcopal Church is a member – appears to be moving backwards on issues of LGBT equality. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, recently decried the struggles for women’s rights and LGBT rights as “identity politics” that carry the risk of “fragmenting the society we live in.” Just last month, senior Anglican clergymen in the United Kingdom threatened to disestablish the Church of England from the state if marriage equality were to become law as that nation’s government intends.

“The disturbingly anti-gay trajectory of the global Anglican Communion makes the courage of the Episcopal Church – which has long been a trailblazer on LGBT issues – even more remarkable,” said Wayne Besen, TWO’s Executive Director. “These inclusive actions will go a long way toward telling LGBT Episcopalians that they are fine just the way they are.”

The blessing rite, titled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” is expected to go into effect for provisional use starting in December. While some Episcopal bishops have already begun blessing same-sex unions, yesterday’s vote marks the first time a set of official prayers has been approved for use by the entire church. The new policy allows each bishop to decide whether to allow same-sex unions in his or her diocese and forbids penalizing Episcopalians who oppose its use. Church law and the Book of Common Prayer, however, still refer to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“Clearly, since exclusionary and discriminatory language about marriage still exists, work remains to be done on LGBT issues in the Episcopal Church,” said Becker. “Still, this does not diminish the magnitude of what that church has accomplished this week. The walls of religion-based bigotry continue to tumble down.”

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

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