New Episcopal Bishop tells same-sex couples to marry elsewhere

Posted on 10 Dec 2015 at 2:08pm

Sumner messageWhile the Episcopal Church recognizes marriage between couples of the same sex, the recently-approved church policy also allows individual bishops to forbid those marriages in their dioceses.

In Dallas, no same-sex marriages will take place in Episcopal churches.

The rabidly anti-gay Bishop James Stanton, former bishop of the Dallas Diocese who was once described by one Dallas Episcopal priest as a “tight-assed blowhard,” retired in 2014. He was replaced by George Sumner who comes to Dallas from Toronto. Canada for Christ’s sake.

Bishop Sumner has at least been polite to his LGBT members.

However, one of the first things Sumner made clear after his consecration as bishop in November was that no same-sex weddings would take place in Dallas Episcopal churches. As an accommodation, he suggested gay and lesbian Episcopalians were welcome to go to Fort Worth to get married.

“Clergy of the diocese may not officiate at any portion of a marriage or blessing of the union of a same-sex couple, whether that marriage or blessing takes place in the diocese or outside of it, nor may any such rite be performed in any church building or other property owned by the diocese,” he instructed.

In a note to Dallas Episcopalians for Unity, he did make it clear that LGBT Episcopalians were welcome and any omission in welcoming them on his part was simply because he thought it was self-evident that they were welcome.

He also mentioned, “Obviously we are in the midst of a great cultural debate.”

Well, no, the cultural debate is over. It’s settled. Same-sex marriage is legal. Settled policy. The law in Texas and the rest of this country and Canada. There’s no more debate.

You may prevent it in your 67 Dallas diocese churches, but that puts you out of the mainstream.

All this seems odd. Many Fort Worth churches and several of the most conservative in the Dallas diocese withdrew from the Episcopal church and aligned themselves with some right-wing anti-gay Anglican sect over the issue of same-sex marriage. What’s left of the Episcopal Church in North Texas tend to be progressive congregations. It’s interesting that a new bishop — from Canada — would come in and get off to such a bad start.

So welcome to Dallas, Bishop Sumner. You can maintain your policy, but you should know our LGBT community is more organized, more cohesive and, unlike Houston, effectively gets things done. To the members of Unity, I know a number of churches and synagogues right here in Dallas that would welcome you to marry right here at home.

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