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American Episcopalians vote full ordination to GLBT clergy
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American Episcopalians vote full ordination to GLBT clergy

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

With a vote expected to upset world Anglican leaders, the Episcopalians declared Gays and Lesbians eligible for 'any ordained ministry' on July 14.

The Episcopal General Convention, meeting in Anaheim, California, gave final approval to the measure during a legislative assembly, which takes place once every three years. In the debates, delegates said they worried about the reaction of other Angelicans, but felt a duty to vote in favor of the measure.

The resolution says, "God has called and may call" Gays in committed relationships to "any ordained ministry" in the church.

The 77 million-member communion is the third-largest grouping of churches worldwide, behind Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches.

Episcopalians caused an uproar in 2003 when they consecrated the first openly Gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Since then, the Anglican spiritual leader Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has struggled to prevent a permanent Anglican split. The most recent incident happened last month when breakaway Episcopal conservatives and other like-minded traditionalists formed a rival national province to the Episcopal Church called the Anglican Church in North America. The new body consists of four seceding Episcopal dioceses and is supported by several overseas Anglican leaders who have broken ties with the Episcopal Church.

Integrity, an Episcopal Gay advocacy group, said in a statement that the declaration "effectively ends" the temporary prohibition on Gay bishops.

For decades, the Episcopalians and Anglicans have debated how to interpret the Bible on homosexuality. Liberals look to the Bible's social justice teachings on tolerance, while traditionalists believe scripture bans Gay relationships.

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