Brazil to adopt gender neutral marriage canons, archbishop says

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) will be the next member of the Anglican Communion to amend its liturgy to make marriage gender neutral. On 22 July 2015 the Most Rev Francisco de Assis da Silva released a statement on behalf of the IEAB applauding the recent move by the Episcopal Church of the USA in making its marriage canons gender neutral. Same-sex marriage was legalized by the Brazilian courts in 2011, he noted, adding the IEAB had engaged in a “broad process of reflection on the search for consensus on this issue.” He stated: “Our Province is discussing this matter – under the methodology of Indaba – in all instances of the Church. Our new Prayer Book already contemplates a change of language, estabilishing the gender neutrality that is a significant step of inclusivity. This change do not requires us to celebrate matrimony between people of same sex, but we’re open to the future and new pastoral requirements from our time.” Bishop da Silva said his church saw “with joy changing processes in the churches of Canada and Scotland. We see with joy advances in discussion of the theme in the churches of England, Wales, Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. We must respect this process which also occur in dioceses and parts of other Anglican Provinces.” Brazil would not be cowed by those calling for a halt to these innovations, he said. “As [a] Province within our Communion, we are committed to the unity and do not agree with any initiative that seeks to isolate the provinces that are adopting new pastoral and theological perspectives. My hope is that in our next Primates meeting we can have sincere and honest conversation. We should not have a single issue agenda, but we need be open to conversation.” He noted the Archbishop of Canterbury’s concerns over the steps taken by the Episcopal Church, but noted the right of provincial autonomy must also be taken into consideration. “I greatly welcome and share [Archbishop Welby’s] concern and trust that we can walk on together,” Bishop da Silva said.

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