The retiring Episcopal bishop of Arkansas has OK'd blessing ceremonies for "faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships," AP reports. (registration required.)
The Right Rev. Larry Maze, bishop of the 14,000-member diocese, wrote to clergy that "seeking ways of recognizing and blessing" the relationships "falls within the parameters of providing pastoral concern and care for our gay and lesbian members."
(Maze) said the ceremonies will be local observances in each church, not approved formal rites. Arkansas has banned gay marriage, so same-sex couples will have no legal standing in the state.The Rev. Lowell Grisham of the Fayetteville church, notes:
Two churches - St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Little Rock and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville - plan to offer the ceremonies.
"My gay friends are very sensitive about the notion that we've been blessing animals for years and find it so difficult to bless their relationships."What's sad about the current fight over same-sex marriage is the hypocrisy of it.
Many gay and lesbian couples have had some form of informal blessing or ceremonies for their relationships for years from many different churches.
I know of Lutheran, Episcopal and Baptist churches, for example, where clergy have performed ceremonies. Many of them have occurred in Kansas. But of course, this can't be admitted in public in case someone gets upset.
I applaud the bishop of Arkansas for his brave move. May more churches realize that human beings and their relationships are at least as important as animals.