Christian Living

ChurchWatch 06/16/08

Gay Marriage Battle in California & Anglican Church

California is due to become the second state, following Massachusetts, to allow homosexuals to marry. Across the state, county officials are preparing for an expected flood of weddings over the next several weeks.

Barring any further legal action, gay couples will be able to start marrying at 5:01 p.m. Monday, when a California Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriages goes into effect. Some counties plan to open their clerk's offices after-hours that day to accommodate couples wanting to be among the first to marry, but most across the state will wait until Tuesday.

But not every county clerk is elated over the ruling handed down by the California Supreme Court allowing for homosexual marriage.

"There's a lot of discomfort among about a dozen out of the 58 county clerks that I've talked to," said Campaign for Children's Randy Thomasson. "They don't want to go outside of the Constitution. They don't want to go outside of the statutes. They know that doing it by the book means that marriage is still between a man and a woman. And they don't really believe in homosexual marriage because most county clerks reflect the values of most Californians, he continued"

Californians will get another chance to vote in November on an amendment to the state's constitution that would ban gay marriage.

The Associated Press reports that attorneys general from several states who worried about possible legal chaos asked California to postpone the start of same-sex marriage until after the November 4 voting on the state ballot measure that could ban such unions. The request was denied.

CBN News reports that even though the state supreme court has rejected all appeals of its ruling, Matt Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, is making his appeal directly to the state appeals court on behalf of the Campaign for California Families. The appeals court is responsible for the task of making sure the high court ruling is followed.

"It should clearly be stayed because the people are going to vote in November with regards to the California marriage protection amendment," Staver told OneNewsNow. "That's a matter that, in fact, we addressed before the California Supreme Court, which they denied. However, the California Court of Appeals has a separate, independent obligation to consider this matter as well," he said.

Staver's group has asked the court to stay the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the California legislature has the time to examine other state statutes, which the Liberty Counsel says comes into conflict with the state supreme court's ruling.

Staver explained, "The California Supreme Court only addressed two of the many statutes regarding marriage. You can't simply address two statutes when there's literally hundreds of others, all of which reference 'men' and 'women,' 'male' and 'female,' 'husband' and 'wife,' all of which have to be addressed."

Anglican Gay Marriage Controversy

The Associate Press is also reporting that a spokesman for the Anglican church announced over the weekend that a wedding-like ceremony between two male priests broke the Church of England's rules.

The two clergymen exchanged rings and vows last month at a ceremony in St. Bartholomew the Great in London, according to The Sunday Telegraph, a preview of which was made available Saturday. The paper said the ceremony included traditional marriage liturgy, hymns and a Eucharist.

Church of England spokesman Lou Henderson said the service described by the paper violated church guidelines "in just about every respect."

Although civil partnerships between homosexual couples are officially recognized in Britain, the Church of England maintains that marriage should be between a man and a woman and its guidelines ask clergy not to bless such partnerships.

The issue of how to deal with homosexuality — both same-sex partnerships and the ordaining of gay priests — threatens to divide the 80 million-member Anglican Communion, including the U.S. Episcopal Church.

The debate came to a head when the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

News of the London ceremony — which Henderson said was the first he was aware of — is likely to further irritate the communion's conservatives.

The newspaper quoted the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, the bishop of Winchester, as saying the service was a wedding "in all but name," noting the ceremony was modeled closely on the Church's marriage service and thus "flouts Church guidelines." The Most Rev. Henry Orombi, the archbishop of Uganda, called the incident "blasphemous," according to the paper.

"The leadership tried to deny that this would happen, but now the truth is out. Our respect for the Church of England will erode unless we see a return to traditional teaching," Orombi was quoted as saying.

The issue of homosexuality is likely to overshadow the once-a-decade world Anglican summit due to be held this summer. Leaders from five Anglican provinces have already said they would boycott the meeting because of Robinson's ordination.

Related Stories from CBN News:

Attorneys Appeal For Gay Marriage Delay

Gay Activists Urge Caution on Marriage Rush

CA Clerk Takes Heat for Marriage Decision

More from CBN News

More from Christian World News

ChurchWatch Blog Home

More from Spiritual Life

More from Craig von Buseck

About This Blogger

Latest Blog Entries

Give Now