D.C. bishop to bless same-sex union


Saturday, May 29

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Bishop John Bryson Chane, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, was to formally bless the relationship of a gay priest and his partner Saturday. The Washington Post reported same-sex union blessing ceremony for the Rev. Michael Hopkins, rector of St. George's Episcopal Church in Maryland's Prince George's County, and his partner, John Clinton Bradley, will be a first for Chane. Chane told the Post he believes covenant relationships, in which two people commit themselves to spending their lives together, "are holy and deserve to be blessed, deserve to be held up by the community and they deserve to be called what they are: sacred," said James Naughton, Chane's spokesman. Hopkins is a friend of Chane's and is well regarded in the diocese. "So in blessing this relationship, the bishop wasn't looking for an opening to make some type of statement -- he was celebrating the life of a friend as anyone would do," Naughton said. Traditionalist Episcopalians who oppose same-sex partnerships said they were unhappy with Chane's participation in the ceremony. Copyright 2004 by United Press International.