Victoria Anglican leaders argue for same-sex marriage

Two Victoria leaders in the Anglican church will argue in favour of allowing same-sex marriage at a national council meeting in Ontario this week — which is coincidentally Pride week.

“We’ve been talking about this since the ’60s. … I look at it as a justice issue,” said Logan McMenamie, bishop of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Kingcome Inlet.

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The Anglican Church of Canada will discuss and vote on changing the canon definition of marriage from being between a man and a woman to between two persons. Currently, the Anglican church performs blessings for same-sex civil unions.

The vote takes place at the General Synod, a national gathering, held every three years, of the houses that make up the Anglican church: The laity, clergy and bishops. In March, the house of bishops said it was not likely to pass the vote.

McMenamie responded with a letter of disappointment.

“For me it is a given, something that we should be doing,” said McMenamie, who noted the motion also includes options for churches to abstain from same-sex marriage duties.

If the vote passes, it will be three years until the new policy is officially accepted at the 2019 General Synod.

“My hope is it gives enough freedom for people who do not want to be involved,” said McMenamie, who does not want to see the church divided.

Alistair McCollum, rector of St. John the Divine on Quadra Street and archdeacon of the Tolmie area, will also argue for same-sex marriage.

“I’m convinced full inclusion is the Christian way,” said McCollum, who was hired in part for his support of LGBTQ rights.

“There is still a large part of the church that is struggling with this and they are good-hearted. … But we need to use our hearts and heads and follow the prime principles of love and justice.”

Patrick Sibley left the Catholic Church after 23 years to become an Anglican in 2014. He has been married to his husband since 2007, two years after same-sex marriage became legal in Canada. McMenamie recently blessed the couple’s marriage at Christ Church Cathedral.

Sibley is a deacon at St. John the Divine and spoke publicly this week about his hope that same-sex marriage will be accepted by the church and why he will stay if it isn’t.

“I’m telling my story now because I want people to know, especially my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, that the God I believe in does not love with restrictions, and that the faith that is planted in all of us will flourish when we open ourselves to that faith,” he said. “Whatever happens this weekend at synod, come next week I will still be an Anglican, still be married, still be clergy.

“I was led down this path for a reason, and I will continue to fight for equality. Religious freedom is not a free licence to oppress, marginalize, or exclude anyone. That’s what I believe. That’s why I keep going.”

spetrescu@timescolonist.com

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