June 15, 2002
One year ago, Michael Ingham, the bishop for the diocese of Vancouver, predicted same-sex unions would happen in some churches sooner rather than later. At a national meeting in Ontario, Ingham apologized to the gay community and told the other Anglican clergy he was sorry for the mistreatment of gays and lesbians by the church.
Today, Bishop Ingham's diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia, passed a motion to introduce same-sex unions, with 215 in favour and 129 against. It is the first Canadian diocese to formally authorize such a blessing and it does so without opposition from national Anglican leaders.
The Anglican Church has ensured that all sides have been represented in discussions and particular care has been taken to ensure that dissenters in the minority have been respectfully considered and accommodated. Each individual parish and priest or lay person can opt out according to their own faith and conscience. Further, a Canadian bishop from outside the diocese will be available as an "episcopal visitor" to offer pastoral care to priests or parishes who are uncomfortable with the change. In that way, they don't have to deal with Bishop Ingham if they don't wish to, and everyone's dignity remains intact.
We believe the Anglican Church has shown the way for other faith groups, who still remain hostile towards homosexuals, to tolerate differences. Over time, as the two sides get to know one another more, they will reconcile in faith and love.
A year ago, Bishop Ingham said if the Anglican Church recognizes gay and lesbian marriages, the provincial and federal governments should too. The Canadian Human Rights Commission agree. The Law Commission of Canada agree. The Quebec government is unanimous in their agreement.
Please consider showing your support and appreciation to the Diocese of New Westminster. They have sent an important message across Canada and around the world.
Ottawa (Anglican Church) postpones same-sex blessing decision (Oct. 23, 2002)
Religion vs. Sexual Orientation:
A Clash of Human Rights?
(Bertha Wilson Lecture, 2002)
Dr. Robert Wintemute, from King's College, School of Law at the University of London delivered this year's Bertha Wilson lecture at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Dr. Wintemute examined the issues confronting faith communities when religious dogma promotes discriminatory practices against LGBT individuals by secular institutions.
Resources about faith and homosexuality:
Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, "Just Married: Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights", (2002), Doubleday / University of Wisconsin Press.
John Boswell's "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality", (1980), University of Chicago Press.
"Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality? An Interview with Dr. Reverend Cheri DiNovo", The Turning Magazine, Summer, 2004
Hill and Rand Cheadle, "The Bible Tells Me So - Uses and Abuses of
Holy Scripture", (1996), Anchor Books.
Tom Horner, "Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times", (1978), Philadelphia: Westminster Press.
Vaughn Roste, "The Queer-positive Bible", a paper presented at the Diversity Conferences of Alberta, March 9, 2002
Open letter to religious leaders on marriage equality, (2004), Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing
Scrogg, "The New Testament and Homosexuality"
Bishop John Shelby Spong, "Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism", (1992), Harper San Francisco
"What We Wish We Had Known: Breaking the Silence, Moving Toward Understanding. A Resource for Individuals and Families", The Presbyterian Church, Mt. Kisco, New York, Third Edition.