. . . I do not know if that is true. If it is, I would not be surprised and if it isn't I would be. Which is the point of this post. Too much of our church's policy and discipline has been handled in quiet. Too much of our theology has been two-faced. When Bishop J Jon Bruno boldly proclaims that same sex marriage does not happen in his diocese and at the same time pictures are posted from such a coupling, then things have clearly gone too far.
The goal of most bishops in the Episcopal Church is apparently to maintain plausible deniability as to what is going on while at the same time allowing priests to regularly violate the canons (try googling 'open communion' and 'episcopal church'). . .
So I decided to see what I could find online about diocesan policy. I know what Bishop Mathes has said:
. . . While supporting the rights of gays and lesbians, I am mindful that our church has not yet made the decision to bless same-sex unions. We are in the midst of a challenging but vital conversation about holy relationships in this diocese and indeed across the communion. . .
But does he really mean it and how have various churches interpreted that directive? St. Paul in the Desert, Palm Springs, has this statement from Fr. Andrew Green (who helped draft the final language of the resolution I sponsored in February) [boldface mine]:
. . . The Supreme Court Ruling does not change the policies of the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church does not have an official service for the purpose, although there are some unofficial liturgies and I am familiar with most of them.
The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego does not understand himself to have the authority to officially permit what the national church does not permit. Other bishops may agree or disagree.
At the same time that we are not permitted to perform a "public" or "official" Gay marriage, We are permitted wide latitude in personally and pastorally supporting Gay and Lesbian couples in the parish. Most members of the parish know that our clergy take that responsibility seriously and are diligent in supporting the people of the parish, both Straight and Gay.
One example would be the Anniversary Prayers which we offer, when asked, on Sunday mornings for Gay and Lesbian couples. Another would be the time invested in helping couples to prepare for making a commitment, even if we are not able to perform the ceremony.
In summary; we are not able to offer marriage to Gay and Lesbian couples at St. Paul's, but we are able to assist, prepare, and support these faithful members in significant ways short of the "official" ceremony.
Every situation is personal and pastorally unique. Please contact me to discuss your questions, concerns, hopes, and dreams.
And David Turney at SanDiegoAnglicans.com has another good point:
. . . I say we ask Bishop Mathes himself. He should be able to confirm or deny this. It's a fair question, given the documentation and public nature of the event.
So I have asked Bishop Mathes by email and I will post whatever he responds (or if I get no response). Now, admittedly I am no longer a member of the Episcopal Church so Bishop Mathes is no longer my bishop. He, of course, owes me no explanation, but I do hope that he will answer since, as David points out, this is now in the public arena and, if true, seems to contradict his official policy.
Original: From a comment by rsj92211 on Stand Firm's post on St. Margaret's Palm Springs financial struggles:
I live in Palm Desert and now attend services at a Roman Catholic parish in La Quinta (haven't officially jumped ship yet). Several parishioners at St. Margaret's told me that following the recent California Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, Bishop Mathes quietly has given consent for the blessing of same sex relationships. However, he stopped short of allowing clergy to actually perform the nuptials. Clergy are allowed to bless the civil same sex marriage once it has already occurred. Two weeks ago, Rev. Clark Trafton (retired but assisting clergy) announced immediately after delivering the sermon that he and his partner were recently married. Most of the congregation gave them a standing ovation.
Anyone have any more info on this?