One religion story that escaped almost everyone’s notice this past weekend is that the nation’s largest Episcopal diocese voted to allow church-sanctioned same-sex unions.
Time was when the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia was way too conservative or even middle of the road to consider such an action. The northern tier of the diocese used to be populated with several large conservative congregations that would have never agreed to same-sex blessings. But these congregations pulled out of the diocese several years ago in response to the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. The leave-takers, the majority of whom voted to leave during a dramatic series of votes in nine churches on Dec. 17, 2006, were also less than thrilled that a majority of the Virginia diocese’s bishops and delegates to the 2003 Episcopal General Convention in Minneapolis voted to ratify Robinson’s election.