Five days after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, Episcopalians voted in favor of allowing same-sex religious weddings in their church.
The vote happened at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before, the House of Bishops approved the resolution 129-26 with five abstaining.
After November 1, same-sex weddings will be allowed. In compromise with conservatives, clergy can refuse to perform same-sex services and bishops can prohibit the ceremonies in their diocese. The wording of gender-specific language will also be changed, like “husband” and “wife” for “the couple.”
“But don’t expect sweeping changes across the entire denomination anytime soon,” Episcopal priest George Conger said. He said changes “likely won’t take place in more conservative parts of the church, like Dallas, Albany and Orlando.”
In 2003, the 1.9 million-member church elected the first openly gay bishop.
“We have learned to not only care for, but care about one another,” Rev. Brian Baker of Sacramento said. “That mutual care was present in the conversations we had. Some people disagreed, some people disagreed deeply. But we prayed and we listened and we came up with compromises that we believe make room and leave no one behind.”