*Episcopal clergy in Washington, D.C. have been given the green light to preside at same-sex marriages.
Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Diocese of Washington made the announcement Thursday, a day after gay and lesbian couples began applying for marriage licenses.

“Through the grace of Holy Baptism, there are no second class members of the Body of Christ, ” Chane said in a statement. “We are of equal value in the eyes of God, and any one of us may be called by the Holy Spirit into holy relationships as well as Holy Orders.”

Chane joins Episcopal bishops in other states – including Iowa, Vermont and Massachusetts where same-sex marriage is legal – in permitting clergy to wed homosexual couples.

The Episcopal Church approved a resolution last summer allowing “bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal” to “provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.”

The resolution also noted the need to consider providing theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships. The Episcopal Church does not permit its “Order of Marriage” to be used in the marriage of same-sex couples.

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