The US Episcopal Church has ruled against a Bishop who refused to allow same-sex marriage blessings in his diocese.
Bishop of Albany, William Love, had refused to enforce a Church resolution requiring every diocese to bless same-sex marriages. If a bishop disagrees with the practice, they must invite another bishop to do a blessing in their place.
But Bishop Love refused, stating that same-sex unions are “in direct conflict and contradiction to God’s intent” for marriage.
Earlier this year, the Bishop attended a disciplinary hearing where he defended his position. However, the panel decided he had violated the Church’s canon law.
The judgement read: “Love’s actions in issuing a Pastoral Direction to his clergy that they refrain from performing same-sex marriages violated the Discipline and Worship of the Church as Bishop Love promised in his ordinal vows.”
“Depriving same-sex couples of access to matrimony materially and substantially impacts their spiritual, emotional and physical well-being as people of God.”
A hearing next month will decide what disciplinary measures Bishop Love will now face.
‘Continue to pray’
Following the decision, Bishop Love said he was “very disappointed”.
In an open letter he wrote: “Unfortunately, given the nature of this case, I have no reason to believe that appealing the Hearing Panel’s decision would result in any different outcome.”
But he thanked congregants for their prayers, saying: “I continue to pray that somehow God will use all of this for His purposes.”
“I want to encourage each of us in the days ahead to keep our focus on our Lord Jesus Christ. While we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, the Lord does. He will guide and lead us through all the storms of life, if we keep our eyes on Him, trusting Him in all situations.”