I am too happy and tired to write much, so I will have to leave you with the cliff notes version.
It’s been a long road.
2003: Consent to the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop.
2006: A step backward. Our membership fights with itself, and the Anglican Communion asks for restraint when we elect bishops. We tell them we’ll be careful.
2009: The Anglican Communion asks that we be more cautious with who we elect to be a bishop. Our response: God calls people to be bishops – we won’t get in the way. In addition, we take the first baby steps in the Same-Sex Blessing process, and bishops are given permission to use “generous pastoral response” to both participate in the process and adapt to the changing legal contexts.
2012: The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music took three years to research existing blessing liturgies and craft one of their own. We approve its provisional use under the direction of the bishop. Many bishops take full advantage of their generous pastoral response and allow variations of same-sex marriage, depending on local laws. Changes are made to ensure there can be no discrimination based on gender identity, giving safety and acknowledgment to our existing trans members and clergy.
2015: We change the marriage canon to remove gendered language, and approve several possible liturgies for trial use (meaning one day they may be in the Book of Common Prayer). Bishops are still allowed to control the use of the liturgies within their diocese, however they must make provisions for couples wishing to get married (this language is intentionally vague to give bishops a lot of wiggle room, as we still have members who wrestle with this issue).
No matter what, there is no denying it now: we have full, wonderful, complete, gay marriage within the Episcopal Church.
It’s been a long week. It’s been a long 12 years. It’s been 40 years, or maybe 230 years. But we finally did it. We finally lived up to our motto:
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.