In the wake of gay marriage soon becoming a legal institution in the state of New York, the Episcopal Bishop of Long Island, has ordered that homosexual priests wed their partners.
Long Island Episcopal Bishop Lawrence Provenzano has put his foot down against gay clergy who residing in homosexual relationships, and has given a nine month deadline for them to either get married or stop living together, according to the News Observer.
“I need to be mindful that the church has always asked people to live in committed monogamous, faithful relationships. I won’t allow heterosexual clergy to live in a rectory or church housing without the benefit of marriage. When one puts it in that context, then you see how it all begins to make sense,” said Provenzano.
Reverend Christopher Hofer, pastor of the Episcopal Church of St. Jude agrees with Provenzano, “I think his statement was not only fair, but beyond generous. It gives people time, acknowledging that there’s a financial component involved and recognizing that some may not choose to live together.
“Now that the state is recognizing civil marriage, we as priests, perhaps deacons too, who are in committed relationships, have a choice: we either live what we preach to become civilly married or we live apart,” he said.
According to SRN news, no other Episcopal dioceses in states with same-gender marriage have set an explicit deadline for gay clergy to marry their live in partners.
Many are concerned about what the repercussions are for the priests who do not conform to the new rule, but Provenzano does not have a set punishment for those that retaliate. He said, “No one will be disciplined for failing to meet the deadline.”
Same-sex marriage will become a legal in the state of New York on Sunday, July 24th.