Bishop Thomas Breidenthal of Southern Ohio has issued a fifteen page document on "same gender unions," including theological rationale, policies, educational resources, and a trial liturgy.....Now, in contrast to the frankly offensive language of the Virigina diocese, which wanted to medically investigate homos for incest, the S.Ohio rules of procedures are very sensible, use gender-neutral language, and clearly apply to both gay and straight. For example,This group has gone far beyond my initial request in stating the theological convictions that underlie the policy, in developing a rite of blessing for trial use, and in providing web and print resources for congregational and individual study. I am extremely grateful for their work – not only for its outcome, which will contribute significantly to the Episcopal Church’s reflection on same-gender unions, but also for the charity, honesty and devotion to the Gospel that was so beautifully modeled in their conversations with one another.
2. For every proposed blessing, at least one of the two persons requesting the blessing must be a member in good standing of The Episcopal Church resident within the Diocese.and
3. Prior to a priest’s officiating at the blessing, the couple must receive adequate counseling as determined by the priest.....
5. The priest-in-charge retains the right and responsibility to determine whether any union shall be blessed on church property or under the auspices of the congregation.And just to make it crystal clear,
9. No priest of this Diocese shall bless the union of any person, except as hereinafter provided:And of course, very sensibly
a) The priest shall be satisfied by appropriate evidence that any prior marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a final judgment or decree of a civil court of competent jurisdiction, and that the same is true for any union that was evidenced by a formal civil proceeding.
b) The priest shall have instructed the parties that continuing concern must be shown for the well-being of the former spouse or partner, and of any children of the prior marriage or union;
(c) The priest shall consult with and obtain the consent of the Bishop to officiate prior to, and shall report to the Bishop, the blessing; and
(d) If the proposed blessing is to be given in a jurisdiction other than the one in which the consent has been given, the consent shall be affirmed by the Bishop of that jurisdiction.
10. It shall be within the discretion of any priest to decline to bless any union.There. That wasn't so hard, was it?
(Read the rite, it's very lovely. made BP cry.)
Update The first blessing in Ohio has taken place:
Warren MacPherson and Mike Harbin joined hands at the front of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and vowed to love and care for each other always.
I will love and cherish you in prosperity and in hardship,
In health and in sickness, in joy and in sorrow,
Until we are parted by death.