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Homosexual New York Episcopalians will be allowed on Sunday to get married by priests in Brooklyn and Queens, but not in the Bronx or Manhattan or on Staten Island; in Syracuse but not in Albany, reports the New York Times.

That is because the Episcopal church nationally has not taken a firm position nationally on same-sex marriage, leaving local bishops with wide latitude to decide what priests may do when the law takes effect in New York State. Six years the denomination approved a homosexual man who had left his wife to live with a same-sex partner as a New England bishop — causing a number of dioceses nationwide to explore how to leave the national denomination.

New York has six Episcopal dioceses. The bishops who head up each diocese are split: two have given the green light for priests to officiate at same-sex marriages, one has said absolutely not, two are undecided and one has staked out a middle ground, allowing priests to bless, but not officiate at, weddings of gay men and lesbians.

One of America’s shrinking mainstream denominations, the Episcopal church is down to 172,623 members in New York.

The worldwide Anglican Communion is sharply divided on the topic of homosexual marriage and homosexual priests with conservative and growing churches throughout Africa taking strong stands against church approval of homosexual activity.

In the U.S., such “conservative” Episcopal congregations as those in Plano, Texas, and Truro, Virginia, are among the largest in the U.S. church in terms of membership — and have pursued a variety of strategies to affiliate with the African churches, leaving the “liberal” U.S. denomination behind.

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