Calif. Episcopal Dioceses Split on Issue
As California clerks prepare to issue civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting Tuesday, some Episcopal dioceses say they will marry gays and lesbians, while others are urging caution.
In San Francisco, Bishop Marc Handley Andrus has asked his flock to serve as deputy marriage commissioners to help handle the expected flood of applications.
The Episcopal Church is arguably the most prominent of the mainline Protestant denominations struggling with gay marriage issues. Like other faiths, it has no official rite for same-sex marriages; some bishops allow clergy to bless same-sex unions.
Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno said his diocese approved blessings of same-sex unions in 2003 if pastors determined that they are "pastorally necessary." That policy now will be followed for gay and lesbian couples who have state marriage licenses.
Sacramento Bishop Barry Beisner told his clergy last month that "this change in civil law does not change our policy or practice in the church. . . . There has been no authorization -- from me or from my predecessors -- for same-sex blessings in this diocese."
-- Religion News Service
CAMPAIGN AGAINST TORTURE
300 Congregations Are Displaying Banners
About 300 houses of worship are displaying anti-torture banners this month in an initiative by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Most of the banners are a stark black-and-white and read "Torture is Wrong" or "Torture Is a Moral Issue." Congregations participating in the month-long campaign include Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews, Muslims, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Quakers and Roman Catholics.