- The commission's proposal to "graft" same-gender couples into the estate of marriage, but as a distinct dispensation, is one from which I would have recoiled probably even a year ago, but they make a case for it which gives me real pause. At the same time, I can think of some of my heterosexual co-religionists who would shudder at the idea of mixed-gender love as a metaphor for divine love.
- The "opt-out provision" is, to be sure, sweeping. In a way, I find this less offensive than if the proposed canon simply restated the discretion of clergy to decline to solemnize a marriage, which they already enjoy on a blanket basis. Since such a restating would be canonically superfluous, it would serve only as a sop to heterosexual anxiety, in essence to simply place on the record that same-gender marriages are extra dubious.
- The footnote about the current prohibition of repeating of vows in the blessing of civil marriages is an important point, one which has troubled me since the Montréal scheme was authorized. The theory, in Anglican thought, is that couples who declare themselves married, whether before minister or magistrate, are married. They cannot be "remarried", but if the marriage took place outside the church it can be "christened."
The Occasional Celebrations liturgy makes no such provision, and in fact rubrically excludes it, even though, as noted above, the making of vows would not in fact be a repetition at all! The commissioners are, I think, right to be uncertain whether civil marriages can be "christened" in such a way.
- Finally, although I have used the phrase same-gender marriage, it is in fact not clear (at least I didn't notice it in my initial scan) whether the commission is concerned with the distinction of gender or of sex. What about gay couples who are chromosomally "opposite sex"? In the Church of England, their position is clear, albeit in the negative: one's gender is what it says on one's ID, including a gender recognition certificate.