Dear Friends is Christ,
Yesterday the House of Deputies concurred with three separate actions of the House of Bishops: the approval of the continued use of the rite “The Blessing of a Covenant Relationship,” the authorization of two trial rites for Marriage, and a change to the Marriage canons to allow for the marriage of two persons of the same sex. I voted in favor of the first two resolutions, and abstained on the third.
As I was determining my vote on the canonical change, the words of Jesus, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” resonated within me. As I could not faithfully do either, I abstained. Those of you who know me know that while my heart is desirous to embrace this change, my mind is not yet there. Moreover, I felt the canonical change was both unnecessary to the trial use process and would cause further strains in the world-wide communion.
No doubt, most of you are wondering what this means for the Diocese of Milwaukee. While I have yet to work out the details, I anticipate I will authorize the use of the trial rites under guidelines similar to those set forth when I authorized clergy to bless civil marriages. As the new rites are marriage rites, clergy will be able to act as agents of the state should they so choose.
Please remember that while some are celebrating this development, there are others for whom this decision has caused pain. All are valued and loved members of this diocese.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller