US 'Gay' Debate Timeline 1976–2003

1976   General Convention (GC) passes a resolution (A068) calling for study and dialogue on sexuality (including homosexuality).
    GC passes a resolution (B101) calling for study of homosexual ordination.
1979   GC passes a resolution (A053) ‘reaffirm(ing) the traditional teaching of the church on marriage, marital fidelity, and sexual chastity as the standard of Christian sexual morality.’ Resolution also says that there is no bar in the ordination process to homosexuals whose lives are ‘wholesome examples.’

Twenty bishops respond with a ‘Statement of Conscience’ which said that they ‘cannot accept these recommendations or implement them in our Dioceses.’

1985   GC passes a resolution (D082) calling to ‘dispel myths and prejudices’ against homosexuals.
1988   GC passes a resolution (D102) calling for the continuation of consultation and dialogue on questions of human sexuality
1989   Bishop John Shelby Spong ordains Robert Williams, an openly active homosexual
1990 September The House of Bishops censures Bishop Spong.

Bishop Walter Righter, Assistant Bishop to Spong, ordains another practising homosexual immediately following Spong’s censure.

1991   Bishop William Frey’s canon, which threatened liberationist clergy with ecclesiastical trials, defeated
1994   GC passes a resolution (D049) calling for the preparation of a report considering rites for same-sex commitments. 

Bishop Spong drafts the Koininia Statement. This states that homosexuality is morally neutral and supports the ordination of homosexuals in faithful sexual relationships

1996 May 15 Bishop Walter Righter acquitted in an ecclesiastical trial which declares that Righter had violated ‘no specific Core Doctrine’ when he ordained an openly homosexual priest in September 1990.
  August American Anglican Council incorporated.
1997 February The 2nd Anglican Encounter in the South issues the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality that takes the Global North to task for the innovations of ordaining openly homosexual clergy and for blessing same-sex unions that it said ‘calls into question the authority of the Holy Scriptures.’
  July General Convention refers the Kuala Lumpur Statement to a committee. Blessings of same-sex marriages were defeated by only one vote at General Convention.
  September Fifty conservative bishops and archbishops from 16 countries release the ‘Dallas Statement’ which affirms the Kuala Lumpur Statement and declares that scripture ‘provides no justification for the church to ordain non-celibate homosexuals or bless same sex relationships.’
1998   The Lambeth Conference overwhelmingly passes resolution 1.10, which declares that ‘homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’ and which states that it cannot ‘advise the legitimizing of same-sex unions nor the ordination of those involved in such unions.’
2000  

General Convention passes D039 on human sexuality that affirms a legitimate place in the church for non-marital sexual relationships.

2001 October Bishop of Delaware announces to diocesan clergy that he would allow same-sex blessings in the diocese. Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster moves forward with the creation of same-sex blessing rites.
2002 March  19 orthodox Episcopal Bishops sign an ‘An Appeal for the Preservation of Godly Union’ which calls on the Episcopal House of Bishops to provide for sustained pastoral care in ECUSA.
  March In response, the Episcopal House of Bishops issues ‘A Covenant on Episcopal Pastoral Care’ that says that ‘The provision of supplemental episcopal pastoral care shall be under the direction of the bishop of the diocese, who shall invite the visitor and remain in pastoral contact with the congregation.’
  April Anglican Primates issue a ‘Statement of the Anglican Primates on the Doctrine of God’ which begins by saying ‘In the light of current challenges to historic Christian doctrine from various quarters, and of the growing influence of different kinds of ‘post-modern’ theory which question the very idea of universal and abiding truth, the Primates wish to reaffirm the commitment of the Anglican Communion to the truths of the fundamental teachings of the faith we have received from Holy Scripture and the Catholic Creeds.’
 

July

The Rt Rev William E Smalley, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, announces his decision to bless ‘non-marital unions.’
  September 25 Anglican Consultative Council meets in Hong Kong and passes a motion urging ‘1. Dioceses and individual bishops not to undertake unilateral actions or adopt policies that would strain our communion with one another without reference to their provincial authorities, and 2. Provincial authorities to have in mind the impact of their decisions within the wider communion.’ Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, releases a statement in which he suggests the west is pursuing a new ‘cultural imperialism’
2003 May 23

New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham issues a same-sex rite for use in the diocese.

  May 26  Anglican Primates issue a statement from Gramado, Brazil stating that ‘there is no theological consensus about same sex unions’ and that ‘we as a body cannot support the authorisation of such rites.’
  May 28  First same-sex blessing rite held in the diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada. The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria, takes the unprecedented step of ‘breaking’ communion with the New Westminster Diocese.

The Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW) formed, which aligns dissenting New Westminster parishes with the Anglican Communion and against their dioceses’ actions.

  June 7 New Hampshire elects the Rev Canon Vicki Gene Robinson as the first openly homosexual Bishop in the Anglican Communion.
  July 6 Rev. Jeffrey John withdraws his acceptance of the post of Bishop of Reading, Church of England.
  July 18 24 Episcopal Bishops declare impaired communion with New Westminster.
  July 23 An assembly of mainstream Anglican Primates, priests and laypeople issue a statement from Fairfax, Virginia, stating that the confirmation of Canon Robinson as bishop would ‘separate [the Episcopal Church] from historic Christian faith and teaching [and] alienate it from the fellowship and accountability of the worldwide Anglican family’
  August 3 The House of Deputies consents to the election of Robinson.
  August 5 The House of Bishops consents to the election of Robinson.
  August 7 GC passes resolution allowing ‘local option’ for same-sex blessings.

Return to Home Page of This Issue

Return to Trushare Home Page