Nfld. & Labrador

'Long past time,' Anglican priest says of permission to perform same-sex marriage

Some Anglican churches within the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador have been given the green light to perform same-sex marriages.

Change comes after Anglican Church of Canada allowed parishes to make independent decisions

Rev. Jonathan Rowe is excited to be able to perform equal marriage to any couple, not just those who are already members of his parish at St. Michael and All Angels in St. John's. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Some Anglican churches within the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador have been given the green light to perform same-sex marriages.

The decision comes after the Anglican Church of Canada voted against equal marriage at its General Synod in Vancouver, and opted instead to allow each diocese to make its own independent decision.

Eight local parishes made requests to Bishop Geoffrey Peddle, and late last week he sanctioned the requests and immediately authorized those parishes to perform same-sex marriages.

The Rev. Jonathan Rowe of St. Michael and All Angels Church in St. John's says it's likely that there will soon be even more local churches within the diocese offering equal marriage.

Now is the time for us to start making up for our failures in the past.- Jonathan Rowe

"There are a number more that have already indicated their intention to make a similar request, or to start having conversations on their own local level as the first step on making that formal request to the bishop," he said.

According to Rowe, the change is long overdue.

"It's not just time to act — it is long past time," he said. "Now is the time for us to start making up for our failures in the past, and we're excited about being able to move forward."

Rowe said he's already had some same-sex couples approach him about getting married at St. Michael and All Angels.

"Now I have the exciting job of starting to follow up with them and saying, 'Let's talk more, let's go forward,'" he said.

"When we made our decision to ask for permission from the bishop, we wanted to make it as a matter of principle before it became a very personal and very pastoral one."

St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church requested permission from the Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador to offer marriage to all couples legally entitled to marry in Canada in the spring. Last week, the church was authorized. (St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church/Facebook)

It's not only members of St. Michael and All Angels that Rowe will be able to marry. He said he's open to having those discussions with any couple that's legally able to marry. 

"Even couples who are already connected to a church, if they cannot get married in their church I would never make belonging to St. Michael's a prerequisite for getting married at St. Michael's," he said.

"I'm just that excited about being able to offer equal marriage to everyone."

Read more at CBC Newfoundland and Labrador