On New Year’s Day, Mally Lloyd and Katherine Ragsdale got married in Massachusetts. No big deal, right? Just a couple of lesbians exercising their right to same-sex marriage. Except both of these women are Episcopalian clergy.
The union of the reverends — Lloyd is a former pastor and now an official with the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, while Ragsdale is dean and president of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge; they met through a friend in 2008 — will only fuel the Episcopal Church’s debate over gay clergy and gay weddings. (To say nothing of Bishop Tom Shaw officiating the ceremony at a Boston church.) Yes, we’ve seen lesbians become bishops before. And we’ve seen anti-gay pastors leave the Episcopal Church (America’s Anglican branch, which has about 2 million members).
But what happens when two lesbian clergy get hitched? Will wee see a bigger outcry than in 2003, when V. Gene Robinson became the church’s first openly gay bishop? The Patriot Ledger reports:
The Rev. Lloyd said Monday night she hopes fellow Episcopalians and others won’t focus on her marriage as a gay ceremony, but instead see it as “a commitment and marriage like any other.” “We are asking God’s blessing, and asking the community and our friends to bless our marriage,” she said. A spokeswoman for the national Episcopal office was uncertain about whether there have been other marriages of gay women priests.
The dean of the Episcopal Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., the Rev. Mark Richardson, downplayed the possible impact of the marriage among conservative members of the church. “Same-sex marriages are not new in Massachusetts, and the marriage between two members of the clergy in the Episcopal Church also has a history,” he said. “I am grateful that their life together can have this public recognition,” the Rev. Richardson said.
And with that, I leave you with the words of the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who insists that to be a good Christian — not even a good Catholic! — one must always choose bigotry.