I’d like to point you to a story that ran today in the Boston Globe about the Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts giving permission for his priests to officiate at same-sex weddings. Because the same thing is going to happen here once the D.C. Council makes it official. Tomorrow is their first vote, the second and final vote is slated for Dec. 15, and then there’s a 30-day waiting period — giving Congress time to issue a disapproval resolution — before the law takes effect. Soooo, the first day gays may get ‘married’ could be Jan. 15, which is Martin Luther King’s actual birthday. That’s going to go over great with black conservatives.
Anyway, since the Episcopal Church gave the go-ahead this past summer not only for same-sex unions but for church liturgies to solemnize the occasion, it was only a matter of time before bishops started telling their priests to go ahead and perform these ceremonies. The latest prelate is the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of Massachusetts. The Episcopal dioceses of Iowa and Vermont also allow their clergy to officiate.
I asked Jim Naughton, spokesman for Washington Bishop John B. Chane, as to whether Bishop Chane will follow in Bishop Shaw’s footsteps. Jim didn’t commit as to when and if, but Bishop Chane’s been vocal of late as to his disagreement with the local Catholic archdiocese on this issue, so I’m expecting him to make an announcement any day now.
By the way, the Washington diocese unofficially has allowed same-sex ceremonies for years, and yours truly covered such an event in June 2004 overseen by Bishop Chane himself. That was the premiere event for the diocese’s new (at the time) same-sex wedding liturgy, which I suspect is getting dusted off as we speak.
— Julia Duin, religion editor