All four Pittsburgh clergy deputies, and two of the diocese’s four lay deputies, voted against the General Convention resolution that set in motion a process to consider blessings for same-sex unions.

The resolution was adopted on the final day of the convention, with the House of Deputies voting more than 2-1 in favor. Earlier in the week, the House of Bishops approved the resolution by a 3-1 margin.

The vote in the House of Deputies was “by orders,” with dioceses having one vote each in the clerical and in the lay orders. The even split among Pittsburgh’s lay deputies is recorded as a “divided” vote, but is effectively considered as a “no” vote.

The resolution, known as C056, acknowledged changes in civil law in some states that call for a “renewed pastoral response from the church for considering same-gender blessings.” It calls for a process to collect and study various ways parts of the church have been dealing with same-gender unions. A report is due at the 77th General Convention in 2012.

Bishop Johnson and Standing Committee President Jim Simons point out that this General Convention did not approve a blessing.

“What it did was give local bishops latitude in developing a proper pastoral response, especially in those states where civil law authorizes those unions. The next General Convention will then look at what those responses have been,” said Dr. Simons.

“Adopting a liturgy, one of our public rites in the Episcopal Church, is something that will require a lot more consideration” Bishop Johnson said.

Bishop Johnson and deputies from the Pittsburgh Diocese will discuss the General Convention in a public forum on Saturday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon.

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