A panel of the Episcopal Church on
Saturday approved a proposal which would allow transgender men and
women the right to become ministers.
According to Reuters News, the Church's
House of Bishops approved the measure at the Church's General
Convention, which started Thursday in Indianapolis.
The proposal seeks to add “gender
identity and expression” in the Church's “non-discrimination
canons.” That is, transgender people could not be excluded as
candidates to ministry.
The House of Deputies must now approve
The move comes sixteen years after the
Episcopal Church approved the ordination of openly gay clergy and
nine years after it approved its first openly gay bishop, the Rev.
Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Robinson's ordination created a deep
divide between the 77 million-member Anglican Communion and its more
liberal American branch, the Episcopal Church. The elevation of a
second openly gay bishop, Assistant Bishop Mary D. Glasspool, last
year further divided the two churches.
Robinson to retire in 2013.)
The Church is also considering a
blessing rite for gay and lesbian couples who wish to wed. The rite
would not confer “marriage” on a couple. The 2-million member
Episcopal Church defines marriage as a heterosexual union.