Episcopal Bishop William Love announces resignation in response to hearing panel ruling

The Rt. Rev. William Love, IX Bishop of Albany, gives his address at the 152nd annual Diocesan Convention on Oct. 24, 2020.
The Rt. Rev. William Love, IX Bishop of Albany, gives his address at the 152nd annual Diocesan Convention on Oct. 24, 2020. | YouTube/Episcopal Diocese of Albany

A bishop of The Episcopal Church announced that he'll be stepping down from office weeks after the denomination’s disciplinary panel ruled that he violated canon law by refusing to allow same-sex marriages in his diocese.

Addressing the Diocesan Convention on Saturday, Bishop William Love of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany said he will resign as bishop on Feb. 1, 2021, according to Anglican Ink.

On Oct. 5, the denomination’s Hearing Panel found Bishop Love guilty “by clear and convincing evidence” of violating Resolution B012, a measure passed in 2018 requiring that all Episcopal dioceses allow for the blessing of same-sex unions.

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The panel stated: “Depriving same-sex couples of access to matrimony materially and substantially impacts their spiritual, emotional and physical well-being as people of God. The expression of love changes dramatically when it is recognized, welcomed and witnessed. The loss of a public ceremony impacts the couple, the family and friends and the community.”

“I am very disappointed and strongly disagree with the Decision of the Hearing Panel, particularly their belief that I violated my ordination vows and their argument that B012 was passed as an authorized revision to the Book of Common Prayer,” Bishop Love wrote in an op-ed published by Anglican Ink.

While the bishop is resigning, he has questioned the interpretation of the nature of B012. “Was it properly constituted and passed as an authorized revision to the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) or not?” he asked.

“It is my belief and that of my legal team that B012 was presented as an alternative resolution to one which would have changed the BCP. It was intended to ensure that same-sex marriages would be allowed in every Diocese, regardless of the Diocesan Bishop’s theological views regarding marriage, while at the same time not changing the 1979 Prayer Book,” he explained.

However, the bishop added, “given the nature of this case, and the Episcopal Church’s demonstrated intent to ensure all dioceses (where civil law permits) allow for same-sex marriages, I have no reason to believe that appealing the Hearing Panel’s Decision would result in any different outcome.”

The B012 resolution impacted not only the Diocese of Albany but also the dioceses of Dallas, Texas; North Dakota; Springfield, Illinois; Tennessee; the U.S. Virgin Islands; the Diocese of Florida, and the Diocese of Central Florida.

In November 2018, Love sent out an official letter stating that same-sex weddings were not going to be allowed in his diocese in spite of Resolution B012.

“Jesus is calling the Church to follow His example. He is calling the Church to have the courage to speak His Truth in love about homosexual behavior — even though it isn’t politically correct,” Love wrote at the time. “Sexual relations between two men or two women was never part of God’s plan and is a distortion of His design in creation and as such is to be avoided.”

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