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By Ron Csillag
Religion News Service

(RNS) A second Canadian Anglican diocese has voted to approve the blessing of same-sex marriages.
Delegates at the Diocese of Montreal’s annual synod voted Friday (Oct. 19) to request that the bishop grant permission for clergy whose conscience permits to solemnize registered civil marriages, including those between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized.
It also asks that the bishop authorize an appropriate rite for same-sex ceremonies and to enact regulations for their use in supportive parishes.
Clergy delegates to the synod voted 44-25 and lay delegates 59-32 in favor of the measure. The tally was similar to one passed recently in Ottawa, where delegates to that diocese’s synod also asked that priests be allowed to conduct same-sex marriages, should the priest and parish approve.
In Montreal, Bishop Barry Clarke supported the resolution, telling reporters after the vote that he is “glad we came to a place where we made a decision.”
Clarke added that he “will consider seriously what I have heard today. I will take it into serious and prayerful consideration. I am a pastor at heart.”
But the decision makes no immediate change in the policies and practice of the diocese, he noted. He said he would bring the results of the vote to a meeting of Canadian bishops Oct. 25-30 in Ontario.
Both resolutions seem to fly in the face of a vote at the national church’s general synod last June, where delegates voted down a plan to let local churches decide for themselves whether to bless same-sex marriages.
The day after the Ottawa vote, representatives of the San Francisco-based Episcopal Diocese of California approved use of rites for the blessing of same-sex couples, opening the way for Bishop Marc Andrus to allow them on a trial basis in Bay Area Episcopal churches.
The resolution both affirmed “the unanimous decision…to refuse to discriminate against partnered gay and lesbian(s)” and deplored “the lack of access to adequate pastoral and ritual care for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in large parts of the Episcopal Church and the refusal of the majority of our bishops to make provision for it.”

Copyright 2007 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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