I sit in the Pacific Ballroom listening to testimony. The committee is considering all resolutions pertaining to advancing marriage equality. There are two hours allotted. The first for resolutions affecting canons, the second for non canonical resolutions.
Starting with Co19, the testimony was 1 against and 5 in favor Only Charlie Holt (Central Florida) spoke against. Bishop Andrus, Susan Russell and others spoke in favor. Susan said, "Like 1976 when women's ordination was adopted, same-sex marriages are no longer theoretical. They are ontological."
No speakers commented on C025.
C041 amend canon to define marriage as between 2 adults.
Bishop Sauls spoke as a "pastor and a Canonist. We voted in 1964 to allow divorced people to be remarried as an inclusive and pastoral response." (Now we can) "free our church of the hypocrisy which it has been bearing."
Opposed was Phyllis Bartel of Central Florida "How do we teach our kids about a traditional marriage" if our canons don't reflect it she aked.
The mother of two young sons, "only one of which happens to straight" spoke in favor of moving toward marriage inclusion. "It was apparent that my adopted son was gay from his early years. We moved him from the Roman Catholic tradition and found an accepting community in the Episcopal Church." she begged us not to back away from full inclusion.
Bishop Andrew Smith took over the chair and opened seeking testimony on C004 which lifts restrictions on Bishop's authorization of liturgical blessing. Deputy Runkle, a straight 72 year old man who wants his friends to enjoy the same rights he and his wife enjoy.
The one negative comment on this resoltion was from an recovering alcoholic who fought against God's call to fight his temptation and wants LGBT people to do the same.
A lay Deputy alternate from VA said, "We are afraid that if we go forward we will damage our relationship with the communion." In his parish however there are six same sex couples that members of the parish already see as married in the eyes of God. He told us that we don't have to be afraid ot speak the truth.
Brad Hinton, preist from Delaware spoke eloquently. "I thank the church for standing with me." he said, through his baptism and his ordination. He asked the church to "walk one more step with me."
The Rev, Ed Bacon from Pasadena said, "I trust this committee." He spoke of Aexperience with the group that were married during the window in California. From June to November All Saits married 46 couples. The couples had already been together from 8 to 32 years. It brought new levels of understanding through his pre-marital counselling. "I trust you to end the second class citizenship of lesbians and gay men."
Another speaker from Central Florida said the issue has not been accepted, "(action to advance inclusive marriage) will further alienate others in the communion."
From a 17 year old young woman "My friend Arthur is gay. He found a safe haven at an Epsicopal camp. Please offer the same safe haven to all gay and lesbian Episcopalians."
C028 (from Rochester) asked that gender neutral rights for marriage be developed for the Book of Common Prayer.
Retired Bishop Otis Charles said "This is the most direct and immediate way to end the 30 year coming out process for the Episcopal Church... It will be a gift to the Anglican Communion."
One priest called it poorly crafted and asked that we approach it in another way and allow him an out.
One person testified that he did not know whether his daughters would grow up straight or gay. "I want [an inclusive marriage rite] in the prayer book so someone will come to ask for the hand of my daughter in marriage. I want to see [that person] squirm. Asking for her hand in 'civil union' just doesn't seem the same.'
"I am Filipe Sancho Ruiz CHARLES," the next speaker declared, "I am the husband and wife.. spouse of Bishop Otis Charles."
A woman spoke, "I come from an Irish-Catholic where they might not understand my sexuality but they do understand 'wedding.' We party best at weddings and wakes. Please make this decision in time for my wedding and not my wake."