By and large, LGBT Americans are use to fighting religious organizations for recognition and respect, but the Episcopal Church, which is the US arm of the Anglican Communion, is showing that this is not always so. The House of Deputies has passed internal rules that “gender identity and expression” would no longer be barriers to being ordained as a minister.
Jeff Walton of the Institute on Religion & Democracy stated that “What this means is if there is a person who is suffering, for example, gender-identity disorder, they could not be denied access to ordination as clergy in the Episcopal Church simply based upon those grounds. So, it’s a pretty big move by the Episcopal Church to basically affirm transgenderism.”
The move also came as the Episcopal Church adopted a same-sex ‘blessing’ ceremony. Walton also explained that “This is technically not marriage. That word isn’t used, but it goes pretty much all the way up to that. You have a rite in which there is an exchange of vows, and it essentially mirrors the marriage rite of the Episcopal Church, with only a few alterations.”
The move was not welcome by all. A few conservative bishops attacked the idea, but they were heavily outnumbered largely because the most conservative congregations have left the Episcopal Church.