Sunday, September 24, 2006

Episcopal Church Speaks Against Amendment C

This weekend, I was very proud to be a Episcopalian person of faith in South Dakota. I sponsored the following resolution:
RESOLVED, that the One Hundred Twenty-Second Convention of the Diocese of South Dakota urges Episcopalians, and all voters in the State of South Dakota, to consider rejecting Amendment C not only because it writes discrimination into the State Constitution, but also because its implementation may have many negative and unintended consequences that would harm children, elderly persons, and families across the state.

(The full text with explanation has been posted in the comments.)

It passed... four to one! Yowsa!

The faithful Christians of the Diocese clearly took a close, prayerful and honest look at Amendment C and found it wanting. Amendment C is intended to discriminate--to divide families into two groups: those worthy of support in our society and those that aren't. In the vote on Saturday, Episcopalians from across the State clearly said that Amendment C does not reflect our Christian values.

With this resolution, regional church bodies representing three of the major religious denominations in South Dakota have spoken against Amendment C: The United Methodist Church, the United Church Christ and now, the Episcopal Church. I think it is important to note that all three of these churches welcome and include people of faith who hold diverse points of view on the issues of sexuality, the role of Scripture, and even the role of the Church in the political process. All three of these regional church bodies chose to make time at their annual meetings, and all three found the common ground among their differences to speak clearly against Amendment C from a Christian perspective.

Mike Coats of South Dakotans Against Discrimination came to Convention to share information about Amendment C, and I hosted a table for IntegrityUSA, a group supporting GLBT persons in the Episcopal church.

I was very proud to follow the discussion at our Convention on Saturday, Amendment C was examined in light of what we practice and believe. This discussion included a priest, a lawyer and a psychiatrist all speaking to actual consequences to people's lives this Amendment will have if approved in November. Getting the facts on the table about the potential effects of Amendment C to our gathering of faithful Christians was my purpose in writing this resolution, so whether it passed or not, I would have been happy with the outcome. Of course, I am absolutely overjoyed that the resolution passed four to one!

It's important to keep in mind that the national Church passed a resolution this year against ANY "gay-marriage amendements, simply a restatement of the Church position chosen in 1994. But even in fairly conservative South Dakota, Amendment C was panned here-- this is a testament to how extreme it is and how dire the conseqences would be for real, not hypothetical, families if the thing passed.


  1. Episcopalians should go back and read their Bible: they may be cool with homosexuality, but God isn't, and it's His opinion that matters.

    If God says His one-man-one-woman model of marriage is the one that is legitimate and deserves recognition, then that's the one we should be recognizing. No other.

  2. Good for you guys! It makes me happy to see that some Christians still have compassion for other human beings. I just wish the ELCA, where I'm a member, would follow what you guys are doing.

  3. Bob,

    The reason this passed 4 to 1 is that Amendment C goes way past its first sentence. Homosexuality was only a part of the arguments discussed respecting this resolution. Many folks that are very much against same-sex blessings voted with the huge majority. Why?

    Read the resolution. We didn't vote on same-sex blessings. (Note: it's actually up to the Bishop of the Diocese, not us.) We simply made a recommendation against Amendment C.

    Like 1215, Amendment C oversteps and if passed will adversely affect many families that don't fit your neat definitions. These are real people (and kids) not abstractions. People that live in the real world realize this, and many Christians with solid real-world family values refuse to pass a law that could for example force the survivor of a cohabiting elderly couple (straight or gay) to lose their house--even if they thought they had taken care of the legal work, this Amendment could nullify it.) That's That's not loving your neighbor as yourself. He didn't say love your neighbor as yourself, as long as you approve of their relationship or sexual mores.

    Anyway, the opposition to C is about the law itself, not about gay marriage. C could go either way because its authors didn't think through its consequences when they added that second clause with its dangerous vague definitions that could be used by activist judges and lawyers to take away from straight and gay people what is rightfully theirs.

  4. I was so glad to hear this went through! I'm especially proud to be an Episcopalian this week (and the proud daughter of the resolution's drafter).

  5. The arguments you referred to are completely false, and if anyone actually believes them, then they haven't done their homework.

    Amendment C will have no effect on domestic violence laws (read SDCL 25-10). It also will not hinder unmarried heterosexuals from caring for one another, or passing along inherited property. It also won't affect domestic partner benefits that private companies choose to offer to their employees. A judge in Michigan ruled in 2005 that such benefits are benefits of employment, not benefits of marriage.

    In Virginia, which has an upcoming vote on a marriage protection amendment, the state Attorney General did a legal review to determine what, if any impact their marriage protection amendment would have on the areas commonly cited. His findings: none whatsoever. You can read the advisory at

    All the things which homosexual activists and apologists are trying to scare heterosexuals with can be obtained now and after Amendment C passes through the existing legal system. Heterosexuals aren't going to lose a single thing they now have a right to, and neither are homosexuals...because they don't currently have the right to "marry."

    The authors carefully crafted the language of the amendment; it wasn't some careless knee-jerk thing as you imply. And while you may think it cute to make fun of the "quasi" prefix, go look in any dictionary and you'll find it there. It's not some obscure word that no one is familiar with and no one understands. Even homosexual activists and apologists understand what it means, and have used the term (read " The Emerging Menu of Quasi-Marriage Options" or "The Introduction of Marriage, Quasi-Marriage, and Semi-Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in European Countries," which are two papers written by pro-homosexual law professors. It's been used in about 300 legal cases in South Dakota before, so even lawyers and judges understand what it means. You can find millions of references to "quasi" on the internet. It's simply not a secret, nor is it some bit of PhD-level information that most people can't grasp.

    The assertion that "quasi" is some sort of "vague" word that no one really understands is, depending on the level of knowledge of the person saying it, either a brazen lie or the height of ignorance.

    The simple fact is that there is no reason to oppose Amendment C...unless you want to make it easier for social architects and activist judges to force homosexual "marriage" on society and counterfeit the basic building block of order and stability in our civilization.

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  7. Here is the full text of resolution, in the final form submitted to the convention.

    RESOLVED, that the One Hundred Twenty-Second Convention of the Diocese of South Dakota urges Episcopalians, and all voters in the State of South Dakota, to consider rejecting Amendment C not only because it writes discrimination into the State Constitution, but also because its implementation may have many negative and unintended consequences that would harm children, elderly persons, and families across the state.


    The Legislature of the State of South Dakota has referred to its citizens a new state constitutional amendment restricting civil marriage laws as applying only to the union of one man and on woman. The amendment also includes a clause prohibiting State recognition of any civil union, domestic partnership or "quasi-marital relationship," regardless of the sex of the persons involved.

    The full text of the proposed amendment reads:
    ?Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in South Dakota. The uniting of two or more persons in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other quasi-marital relationship shall not be valid or recognized in South Dakota.?

    South Dakota's proposed Amendment C, if approved by the voters, may negatively affect the legal rights of many families in unintended ways. For example, because of its broad and ambiguous wording, unmarried elderly people who set up non-marital legal covenants to grant traditionally marital rights such as mutual power of attorney on legal and medical matters may find their long-standing contracts challenged under this law. In other states, constitutional amendments similar to South Dakota's Amendment C have negatively affected victims of domestic violence, families trying to obtain health insurance, adoptions, and foster parents.

    The Episcopal Church affirms that homosexual persons are children of God, and as such are entitled to participate in the life of the church and in society with integrity and openness. Episcopal General Conventions have passed resolutions (1976, 1979, 1982) that express these beliefs, and the Church has made progress in allowing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons to be accepted as full members of our Communion. Although controversy exists on the Church's approach to these social issues, as a Church we have committed to respect all persons, despite differences in our sacramental understanding of marriage and God's plan for relationships between adults and the families that grow from and through those relationships. As a Diocese we should speak against Amendment C because as Christians we are called (in our baptismal covenant) to "respect the dignity of every human being."


    Brought by: Curtis Price, Emmanuel, Rapid City
    Date: 8/8/2006
    Revised: 9/2/2006

  8. Anonymous15:40

    Did you know that the Episcopal Church has also strongly endorsed the legalization of medical marijuana? Along with the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the Unitarian Universalist Association?

    Here?s a good article:

    And a good quote:

    ?Medical marijuana is an issue of mercy,? said Rev. Lynn Bledsoe, a Presbyterian minister from Alabama who works as a hospice chaplain. ?As people of faith, we are called to stand up for humans who are suffering needlessly. It is unconscionable that seriously ill patients can be arrested for making an earnest attempt at healing by using medical marijuana with their doctors? approval.?