Episcopal Bishop Strongly Supports Marriage Equality

Rhode Island Episcopal Bishop Nicholas Knisely has come out in full support of marriage equality legislation before the General Assembly.

“Episcopalians are not unanimous in our views, but in the Episcopal Church we find our unity in common prayer, not in common opinion,” he said in a statement released today. “Part of what informs my opinion is that before I became a priest and then a bishop, I was a scientist. So I know the importance of trusting evidence that we see with our own eyes.”

RI Future reported last week that he personally supports same sex marriage rights and is instituting some changes at the church to allow for same sex marriage ceremonies.

Here’s his statement in full:

As the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island, I support the bill before the General Assembly that would allow same-sex couples to marry in our state, not in spite of my Christian faith, but because of it.

Episcopalians are not unanimous in our views, but in the Episcopal Church we find our unity in common prayer, not in common opinion. Even so, through many years of prayerful discussion, the majority of Christians in the Episcopal Church have come to believe that it is possible, and even common, for two people of the same-sex to live covenanted, faithful lives together in service to God, just as people in traditional marriages do. We have also learned that it is possible to protect the consciences of those who disagree within our church and still live together in community.

Part of what informs my opinion is that before I became a priest and then a bishop, I was a scientist. So I know the importance of trusting evidence that we see with our own eyes. I have seen what St. Paul describes as the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in the married lives of two men and of two women. I have seen relationships that are loving, mutual, and monogamous and that have lasted a lifetime. Jesus tells us that we must test each tree by looking at the goodness of its fruit (Luke 6:43-45). Across our congregations and communities, I can see the goodness of gay and lesbian couples and their families.

The Episcopal Church has been blessed for many years by the life and ministry of gay and lesbian couples, both lay and ordained. I have seen how they contribute to the common good of a congregation and a community by creating stable, loving homes. As a new citizen of Rhode Island, I am eager to see our state legislature join many others across the country in passing legislation to ensure civil marriage equality. I believe it is time for the State of Rhode Island to extend marriage equality to all of its citizens. I urge the legislature to pass House Bill 5015.

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Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

2 responses to “Episcopal Bishop Strongly Supports Marriage Equality”

  1. John McGrath

    The Catholic church has made its purpose merely transactional rather than transcendent or transformational. The transaction in brief: Do as we say, make any sacrifice we demand, and in turn you will get into heaven. So if your primary goal is to get someone into heaven, then what appears to be hate – efforts, sometimes sounding very mean-spirited, to protect people from what the church considers error and sin – is in their minds a form of love. being loved is not always desirable.

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  2. leftyrite

    Liberty. Libertarianism. Liberalism.

    Supposedly, these are the word embodiments of loose sets of doctrines that help us to live as a free people. 

    Yes, fight for marriage equality–in a civil state.

    A civil state is the big prize, always was.

    A shared belief in that meta-idea gives people courage and a standing to compete in a free environment, not a monopolized and stage-managed one.

    We see the tragic results of religious bigotry particularly in the Middle East and in Africa.

    Do we want to be players in that drama, or do we want to work from a standpoint of much cleaner and more highly evolved ideals.

    This anti-marriage bigotry, particularly when it translates into property law considerations, let alone emotional ones, is the stuff of very old thinking that has warped over time.

    Nobody I know hates anyone, really.  Just don’t control us so tightly. Share the jobs.

    We want an enlightened civil state, not an environment spoken for by corporations and hedge funds. 

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