By Daderot (Daderot) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Daderot (Daderot) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Twelve years after they sparked a divide in the global Anglican denomination after electing Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop, the Episcopal Church voted to change the definition of marriage in an overwhelming majority vote.

The Episcopal Church voted to change the definition of marriage in church law, only a few days after the Supreme Court decision to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide. The vote was placed during the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, and it had an overwhelming response from the legislature. The changed definition was approved in a vote of 173-27. They also voted 184-23 for changing the wording on marriage to eliminate gender-specific dialogue. The vote follows 12 years after they sparked a divide in the global Anglican denomination after electing Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop living with his partner, for the leader of New Hampshire’s Diocese.

Reverend Cynthia Black of New Jersey said that she’s excited to get to this day, “it is the beginning.” She said that though there will be discrimination nonetheless, “at least we’ve gotten to this point.”  Clergy-members are permitted to decline to perform wedding ceremonies, though there are churches in the Anglican community of the US that had already been performing same-sex civil unions. When asked about what he thought on the vote, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was “concerned” about the motion to alter the definition. In addition, Rev. Mendoza-Barahona, Honduras, said the law was anti-Bible and would widen the divide between churches.

Bishop Robinson has said that he’s proud and delighted by the church’s decision. He said that he had never expected to see the day, but it, along with the decision by Supreme Court, demonstrated the evolution of a culture into the understanding that everyone deserves the same rights in our society. The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church and United Church of Christ have readily accepted and integrated same-sex marriage into their congregations. Meanwhile, the United Methodist Church bans same-sex marriage in spite of clergy performing them in protest.

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