Two bishops from the Diocese of the Arctic have come out publicly against a decision by the Anglican Church of Canada to allow for same-sex marriages.
Bishop David Parsons and Suffragan Bishop Darren McCartney released a joint statement with five bishops from various provinces in which they condemn the decision.
“We believe that our General Synod has erred grievously and we publicly dissent from this decision,” the statement read.
The comments were issued after two-thirds of bishops, clergy, and lay delegates with the Anglican Church voted in support of accepting same-sex marriage.
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Initial results indicated the motion failed to pass by enough votes, but the decision was later reversed after a recount – a process the bishops’ letter describes as “flawed”.
“The entire process, beginning with the hasty vote in 2013 and concluding with the vote and miscount this past week, has been flawed and has inflicted terrible hurt and damage on all involved,” the statement read.
For Jacq Brasseur, a Yellowknife-based queer activist, the bishops’ position and statement dehumanize those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or questioning (LGBTQ).
“The message it sends is you don’t have the same rights as everyone else,” said Brasseur. “That can really mess with a person’s head, self-esteem and ideas about what they deserve.”
The Diocese of The Arctic has a history of opposing equal rights, having banned “gay employment” in 2005. Earlier that year, the diocese also condemned the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.
Brasseur, who identifies as a queer Catholic, says churches should turn to a message of love rather than a message of opposition.
“Religious communities need to talk about loving people the way they want to be loved,” said Brasseur.
“Queer religious people don’t want to be loved through someone telling us how we’re going to get into heaven.”
Before same-sex marriage becomes law for the Anglican Church, a second motion will need to pass in 2019.