FAITH

Episcopal Bishops Can ‘Bless’ Gay Unions

Leaders of the Episcopal Church agreed to consider liturgies for same-sex unions and to give bishops more freedom in meeting the needs of gay and lesbian couples, adding to a decision this week to end a de facto ban on the ordination of gay bishops. The resolutions for change highlighted deep theological differences among the church’s 2.3 million members. Attempting to calm members angry over the new policies, presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and another church leader said in a letter the changes merely honor the church’s constitution and canons, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. "We remain keenly aware of the concerns and sensibilities of our brothers and sisters in other churches across the communion,” the letter said. Bishops may bless same-sex couples, especially in states where unions are legal, but the leaders stopped short of writing new liturgical writes for same-sex marriage ceremonies.