"The real issue here is how the Episcopal Church's own restrictions on same-sex blessings, minimal as they are, don't amount to much if a diocese allows loopholes." -- Ralph Webb, Anglican Action Director
Contact: Loralei Coyle, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, email@example.com; both with The Institute on Religion and Democracy
WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Monday, January 24, Bishop Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Los Angeles told media that "The fact of life is that we [the Episcopal Church] have never authorized same-sex blessings … It does not happen in my diocese with my permission." Just two days earlier, however, a same-sex blessing had occurred in his diocese at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.
Furthermore, while Bruno may not give "permission" to each individual blessing, he reportedly has told his priests that they can bless same-sex unions as pastoral measures.
IRD Director of Anglican Action Ralph Webb commented,
"Bruno's response clearly demonstrates the loopholes through which same-sex blessings can occur in the Episcopal Church. We have been told many times over that local same-sex blessings are permissible in parishes if—and only if—there is diocesan approval for such blessings. Now we find one example of how blessings apparently can occur without a bishop's self-professed permission.
"It's long been known that same-sex blessings occur regularly in the Diocese of Los Angeles. The real issue here is how the Episcopal Church's own restrictions on same-sex blessings, minimal as they are, don't amount to much if a diocese allows loopholes. Some dioceses may have what amounts to a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on same-sex blessings.
"This all boils down to an issue of forthrightness and honesty. How can the rest of the Anglican Communion trust the Episcopal Church with its lengthy track record of saying one thing and doing another? The bishops are to release their 'mind of the house' resolution this afternoon. The statement will be important not only for what it says, but for what it doesn't say."