02 Jul

General Convention 2

Dear Friends,

What a Fantastic morning!  The Episcopal Church approves gay marriage in the church! I get the feeling that in years to come, people will ask me where I was when it happened, and I’ll have to tell them that I was in a dark corner of The Cheesecake Factory hunched over my phone watching the live feed from the floor and hastily scribbling shorthand notes on a napkin.  This post will be all about the debate, and I will post my notes from the regular Tuesday and Wednesday meetings tonight, and a more personal record tomorrow morning, which will be mostly about the atmosphere and experience of General Convention as well as the numerous daily worship services we attended this week.

The debate on marriage in the House of Deputies was very similar to that in the House of Bishops, full of pleas and repetitions.  Some key points included the Deputy from Albany fundamentally misunderstanding equality by sating “this does not make room for everyone, some people will now be excluded from the church”.  To which the Youth Deputy from Ohio responded with a quote from his deceased grandmother, “This is not our church , this is Jesus’ church and he loves those who love him”, which I think we all have to admit is a pretty unobjectionable point.  The Deputy form Tennessee then made everyone more confused by speaking against the resolution and still “supporting Gay Marriage”.  The Deputy from North West Pennsylvania, who was clearly very fed up with whole proceeding, pulled at the heart strings a bit by telling the house about how in the last 40 years his grandparents and parents have died and that 40 years is too long to for equality.  The deputy form Honduras had to use the aid of a translator and so the House only heard half of her argument at a time, the first half being “We must all love each other just as we love God” to which murmurs of amazement reverberate around the floor, until she contained, BUT, “God hates sin, so all God fearing people must vote against the resolution”, and the house relaxed back into rueful disappointment.  The last Deputy to speak was a Gay priest who made a beautiful and elegant case for the resolution, saying that his one regret in all his years as a priest was not being able to marry the LGBT parishioners in his parish.

The time for debate ended and the voting secretary calls for the Chaplin to sing a calming prayer before the vote, which was a beautiful idea, but my heart was still pounding during the 5 minutes attack for every deputy to make up their minds.  The vote carried by an overwhelming majority.  The house was told not to celebrate but Deputy from Hinton from Delaware got up and announced that he will marry his partner this Saturday in Salt Lake, the room erupts into applause and the Chair dismiss the house, some leave in sorrow but most leave in Jubilation.