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Same-Sex Marriage Guidelines

In July 2015 the 78th General Convention approved two marriage liturgies for trial use, along with a revision of the marriage canon, allowing same-sex couples to be married in The Episcopal Church beginning on First Sunday of Advent 2015 (November 29, 2015), when both resolutions take effect.

The two marriage liturgies for trial use are:

  • The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage (download PDF)
  • The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2, adapted from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (download PDF)

Also approved for use, with modifications, is the blessing liturgy approved for trial use by the 77th General Convention in 2012:

These liturgies have been published by Church Publishing as Liturgical Resources 1: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing, Revised and Expanded 2015.

A Message from Bishop Beckwith to the Clergy of the Diocese of Newark

December, 2015

Dear members of the clergy:

Since General Convention passed Resolution A054, which provides common liturgies for same-sex blessings and marriages, several clergy have asked me what my policy will be. Since February 2007, when the state of New Jersey authorized civil unions, I have given verbal support for clergy to bless these unions. I will continue to offer that support, along with the following guidelines.

  1. I expect that you will provide the same pastoral care and counseling to same-sex couples that you would provide heterosexual couples.
  2. I would ask you to use one of the liturgies linked above.
  3. Please record the ceremony in the Parish Register and the Marriage book.
  4. I request that in the case of a new marriage that follows either a divorce or the end of a previous lifelong union, you seek permission from the bishop’s office to perform the ceremony (which is the canonical policy for second marriages).

Thank you for your ministry.


+Mark M. Beckwith
Bishop of Newark