Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex marriage

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The United States Episcopal Church has voted to allow same-sex marriage across the Church.

Always one of the more progressive Christian churches on LGBT rights issues – appointing their first gay bishop, Gene Robinson, twelve years ago – yesterday the Episcopal General Convention voted overwhelmingly to allow same-sex marriages in their churches.

It comes less than a week after the Supreme Court announced same-sex marriage was a constitutional right across all 50 states.

The vote was carried by 173 to 27 votes. It makes the religious marriage ceremonies completely gender-neutral, although clergy can still refuse to perform them should they wish to.

The Episcopal Church is the United States wing of the Anglican Church – headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Webly who remains firmly opposed to same-sex marriage

Reverand Cynthia Black, a lesbian campaigner from New Jersey, told AP: To finally get to this day is an incredible moment.

“It is the beginning. It is not the end.

“There will still be people excluded, but at least we’ve gotten to this point.”

Gene Robinson, now retired, said “It’s a day I wasn’t sure I would live to see.

“What we’re seeing I think in the Episcopal Church, and last week with the Supreme Court decision, is an entire culture evolving into understanding that gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender people contribute just as much as anyone else to this society and deserve all the same rights.”