Sunday, May 18, 2008

California Episcopal Bishops React

And now for something completely different. The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles issued this release Thursday:

A statement from
The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles issued the following statement concerning the California Supreme Court decision regarding same-gender relationships.

May 15, 2008

Today's Supreme Court decision on same-gender relationships is important because it reflects our baptismal vow to "strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being" and our commitment to justice and mercy for all people.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has been a leader in working for the rights of all people in the State of California, and that work is honored in today's ruling. The canons of our church, under "Rights of the Laity" (Canon 1:17.5), forbid discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities or age. We affirm equal rights for all.

We will continue to advocate for equality in the future and will do so at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which will meet in Anaheim in 2009.

I celebrate and give thanks for this decision of the court and look forward with joy and excitement to a future of justice and mercy for all people in the State of California and the Episcopal Church.

To paraphrase St. Paul, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord.

J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of Los Angeles

Then there is this from the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California (San Francisco Bay area):

I welcome the ruling of the California Supreme Court affirming the fundamental right of all people to marry and establish a family. All children of God should be afforded the same rights under the law, and this decision recognizes that all Californians, regardless of sexual orientation, have equal access to one of our fundamental human institutions. This decision gives our church another opportunity to partner with our state to ensure that all families have the support they need to build relationships that strengthen our communities, state and country. Jesus tried to free his disciples from a narrow definition of what it means to be his follower. In Matthew 10:42, Jesus says “whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” God affirms the good in the world outside the boundaries of religious creeds and dogmas. In this spirit, we also affirm and rejoice in this decision by the California Supreme Court precisely because we are Christians. Clearly, this momentous decision will have ecclesial implications for the Episcopal Diocese of California. I intend to be in prayerful consultation with the people of our diocese to see how we can use this decision to strengthen our support of our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers, and our witness to God’s inclusive love. The Diocese of California will issue an appropriate statement in due course.

And then there's Saturday's statement by San Diego Diocese Bishop James R. Mathes:

Bishop Mathes' Statement on CA Supreme Court Ruling
May 17, 2008

While visiting the Diocese of El Salvador, I learned of yesterday's ruling by the California Supreme Court that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to receive a California marriage license. With efforts already underway to place a constitutional amendment on November's ballot banning such marriages, it is clear that this issue will continue to permeate our political life.

I support the Supreme Court's decision and oppose the likely effort to amend the constitution. At a federal level, the constitution has only been successfully amended to expand rights, not remove them, and it follows that California would maintain a similar posture.

While supporting the rights of gays and lesbians, I am mindful that our church has not yet made the decision to bless same-sex unions. We are in the midst of a challenging but vital conversation about holy relationships in this diocese and indeed across the communion.

I ask all people of the diocese to hold the court's decision gently. Prayerfully remember that God has placed his children, who share different perspectives on same-sex relationships, next to each other in church every Sunday.

As Archbishop Rowan Williams said, "our baptism puts us in solidarities not of our own choosing." Let us be good stewards of these solidarities and teach each other, and the wider community, how to listen and learn from each other as we accept the Court's decision to allow equal access to the institution of marriage.

The Right Reverend James R. Mathes
Bishop of San Diego


Peter said...

What will these bishops say, if in the next ten years or so, the California Supreme Court rules that polygamous marriages are now okay? Seems to me that once you open the door on same-sex marriage using the argument of "no discrimination", then you can't discriminate against any bizarre marriage requests.

Anonymous said...

Peter wrote: " Seems to me that once you open the door on same-sex marriage using the argument of "no discrimination", then you can't discriminate against any bizarre marriage requests."

I would suppose they would have to support them too since they have obviously declined to listen to our Lord's word in Matthew 19, Genesis1 and Genesis2 (not to mention the word found in Romans 1, 1 Cor. 6:9ff, etc.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler