New Ceremonies for Gay Unions

Religious liturgies, ceremonies, and vows from a variety of faiths.

 
If you and your partner are planning a same-sex wedding or commitment service-or if you're asked to officiate at one-you may be hard-pressed to find an appropriate religious ceremony. Below, we've collected ceremonies, some officially sanctioned, some written by the couple, that have been used to bless gay unions in different faiths.

American Baptist
A wedding ceremony created for two women by veteran pastor Howard Bess, recognizing "the rightness and holiness of their relationship."

Anglican
A complete Rite of Covenant for gays and lesbians, by the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, Canada, including solemn promises of life-long love and fidelity from the couple and support from the community. Includes prayers, readings, and Holy Communion service.

Buddhist
The ceremony of Josiah York-Carr and Sean Sullivan features the Metta Sutra and the Buddhist song "Free and Easy," which says, "Don't go into the tangled jungle looking for the great awakened elephant, who is already resting quietly at home in front of your own hearth."

Catholic
DignityUSA, the largest national lay movement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Catholics, provides information on Holy Union ceremonies of commitment for same-sex Catholic couples and blesses unions through local chapters.

Episcopalian
Terry and David's Blessing includes a ring ceremony and songs such as "Amazing Grace" and "Let There Be Peace on Earth."

Robin and Michelle's Blessing This liturgy incorporates Jewish themes and ritual, which honors the heritage of one of the participants. Includes the song "It's not easy being green."

For more on Episcopalian gay outreach, visit IntegrityUSA.org; or Oasis, California Diocese's ministry to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people.

Interfaith
Rabbi Miriam Jerris, who practices Secular Humanist Judaism, describes a ceremony she performed for an interfaith Jewish-Christian gay couple.

Jewish
A traditional ceremony ritually affirming and giving the blessing of Judaism, of family and community, to Kathy and Joyce.

From ritualwell.org, a ceremony written by Chris and Judy, with prayers and poetry.

Liberal Christian
Cathedral of Hope, a well-known gay megachurch in Dallas, offers two sample services: one with creative touches (including the Apache blessing and a Unity candle); the second more traditional.

Unitarian Universalist
In 1984, the Unitarians became the first denomination to affirm gay and lesbian unions, and to create religious services blessing them. This ceremony is one of nine sample services available from the Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns.

Wiccan/Pagan
Joanne and Ruth's "rainbow handfasting" invokes the God and Goddess and uses the colors of the chakras to bless the couple.

Rene and Denise exchange self-written vows "in the name of the Light that resides in us all."


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