The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that extended the right to marry to same-sex couples was intended to ensure that the same protections afforded to heterosexual couples also applies to gay and lesbian couples. Several years later, these rights are still under attack by certain segments of society, including some religious institutions. One New York bishop of a prominent religion stated that his parish would not allow same-sex marriages.
Though many denominations are welcoming same-sex couples, there are several that have refused to recognize these unions. Recently, an Episcopal bishop announced that, in spite of a new directive, he would not permit these ceremonies in his diocese. According to a recent announcement, the Episcopal Church as a whole will issue a directive regarding how it will handle same-sex marriages beginning in early December. In spite of the church issuing a previous decision that permitted recognition of these relationships, many parishes have refused to grant same-sex couples official recognition.
Church leaders passed a resolution earlier this year that permits bishops who object on theological grounds the right to allow another clergy member to officiate at these ceremonies. So far, this particular bishop is the only one in the country who has publicly stated that he will not comply with the new directive. He made his decision public by way of an 8-page letter, which he used to denounce these marriages as an affront to religious beliefs.
The bishop’s actions are being reviewed by church leaders who will make a decision regarding what actions to take in light of his intention to ban same-sex marriages. Some church members decried the bishop’s remarks and stated that they no longer felt safe attending services in that diocese. New York has laws in place that protect the rights of same-sex couples. Those who feel that their rights are being denied may choose to consult with an attorney who has extensive experience in handling these types of cases.