Bishop refusing to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies says he will appeal disciplinary action

(Unsplash/Sweet Icecream Photography)

The head of the US Episcopal Church has taken disciplinary action against the Bishop of Albany for opposing same-sex marriage ceremonies. 

Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev Michael Curry, moved to restrict part of Bishop William Love's ministry after he introduced a policy in the diocese last year preventing churches from performing gay weddings. 

Bishop Love introduced the policy in December after the Episcopal Church's General Convention passed resolution B012 earlier last year allowing congregations to hold ceremonies for gay marriages even in dioceses where the leadership objected. 

This resolution overturned a previous resolution passed by the General Convention in 2015 that had allowed bishops who disagreed with same-sex marriage to ban such ceremonies within their diocese.

In a pastoral letter to his diocese in November, Bishop Love said that the gay marriage rites approved by the General Convention 'shall not be used anywhere in the Diocese of Albany by diocesan clergy (canonically resident or licensed)'.

The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, primate of the Episcopal Church, gives an address during the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018.REUTERS/Owen Humphreys/Pool

In response to Bishop Love's actions, Bishop Curry last week sent a written notice stating that he was 'forbidden from participating in any manner in the Church's disciplinary process in the Diocese of Albany in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage'. 

'Nor shall he participate in any other matter that has or may have the effect of penalizing in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshipping congregation of his diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his diocese or elsewhere,' the notice continued.

Bishop Curry, who last year wed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, said that although he was 'persuaded of the sincerity and good will of Bishop Love in these difficult circumstances', he was 'convinced' that resolution B012 was intended by the General Convention 'to be mandatory and binding upon all our dioceses'. 

The Bishop of Albany William Love(Photo: Facebook/The Diocese of Albany)

He added that as Presiding Bishop, he was 'called upon to take steps to ensure that same-sex marriage in the Episcopal Church is available to all persons to the same extent and under the same conditions in all dioceses of the church where same-sex marriage is civilly legal'.

Responding to the measures, Bishop Love argued that his policy reflected the official teaching of the Church that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that no resolutions from the General Convention had overridden this. 

He said he planned to appeal the disciplinary action taken against him. 

'While I obviously would rather not have had disciplinary actions taken against me, and hope to see it overturned in the near future, I will abide by the restrictions placed on me by the Presiding Bishop during the appeal process,' he said. 

'With that said, as your bishop, it is important that you understand I have not changed my understanding or teaching regarding the sacrament of holy matrimony.'