Albany Diocese: Rules could change for clergy, marriage-Times Union
Episcopals to vote on laws that would restrict ordinations, unions
By MARC PARRY Staff writer
Saturday, May 24, 2008
ALBANY -- The Episcopal Diocese of Albany is weighing changes to local church law that will likely touch off fresh controversy around homosexuality and marriage issues when they come up for a vote next month.
One resolution mandates that only a person who is in a heterosexual marriage or "celibate and abstinent" can be eligible for ordination as a priest or consecration as a bishop. Another holds that only heterosexual marriages can be celebrated or blessed in the diocese -- and marriage between a man and a woman is the only kind of union permitted on diocesan or parish property.
Clergy and lay delegates will vote on the proposals during the 19-county Albany Episcopal Diocese's annual convention June 6-8 in Speculator. The debate comes at a time of renewed national attention to gay marriage in the wake of a California Supreme Court decision allowing it.
Homosexuality has been a flash point in the Episcopal Church since the 2003 consecration of V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as its first openly gay bishop, a move condemned by the conservative leadership of the Albany Diocese.
Supporters of the proposals counter that they are consistent with traditional church teaching.
"The national church has gone off the rails," said Torre Bissell, a lay person who runs a diocesan intercessory ministry and has asked on a blog that people pray for passage of both measures. the rest