Big news out of our sister city to the west. New rules out of the Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese say clergy can now sign marriage certificates between same-sex couples. Some background from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The action builds on Bishop Dorsey McConnell’s decision in November 2013 to allow clergy to conduct blessings of same-sex relationships.
At that time, same-sex marriage was not a legal option in Pennsylvania, but Bishop McConnell and diocesan chancellor Andy Roman reviewed civil and canon law after the May 20 federal court decision ruling that same-sex couples be allowed to marry in the state of Pennsylvania.
They determined that the language of the same-sex blessing rite satisfies the state’s legal requirements, and therefore, clergy may sign civil marriage certificates in conjunction with the rite.
The rite was approved provisionally at the Episcopal Church’s national legislative General Convention in 2012, subject to approval by each individual bishop. Bishop McConnell, when he authorized use of the rite in November 2013, left it up to parish leaders to decide whether to perform the blessing rite within their specific communities.
“I know and treasure the theological diversity of this diocese, and know that practice in this matter will vary from parish to parish,” Bishop McConnell wrote in the letter. “I support the need for our clergy to be faithful to their own consciences, in choosing to use or not use the Rite, and hope as always that we will continue to regard one another with affection and respect across our differences …”