+Robinson Presides over Lesbian “Wedding” in New Hampshire
Not a “house blessing.” Not a “commitment ceremony.” No, a full-blown, legal-in-New-Hampshire, bonds-of-affection-straining gay “wedding”:
An historic first took place on Saturday, Jan. 2, in the “City that Trees Built.”
Elizabeth “Betsy” Hess and the Rev. Eleanor “Ellie” McLaughlin, both of Randolph, were wed in a civil ceremony near the entrance to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on High Street.
The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, blessed their rings and their Christian marriage at the altar. The blessing ceremony followed the civil marriage ceremony, which was jointly performed by Randolph Town Clerk Anne Kenison and Justice of the Peace Anne Jackson of Lancaster.
This was the first such wedding ceremony over which Bishop Robinson — who is the first openly gay diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion — presided since same-sex marriage became legal in New Hampshire on New Year’s Day, January 1.
The Granite State is the fifth state to allow same-sex couples to marry, joining Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Iowa.
Ms. Hess, who holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Montana at Missoula, maintains a private practice in Berlin, and the Rev. McLaughlin, who earned a Ph.D. in medieval history at Harvard University, is the retired rector of St. Barnabas and a parishioner at St. Paul’s, Lancaster.
They described his role as an “unspeakable honor — a thrill.”
Bishop Robinson welcomed a congregation of well over 100 people — parishioners, the couple’s family members, Randolph neighbors, friends, and other clergy — to St. Barnabas and the City of Berlin. He recalled that when now-retired Bishop Douglas Theuner met with the parish in 2001 to tell them that he had found them a priest who was prepared to fill its vacant pulpit, he had alerted them to the fact that the Rev. McLaughlin had a life partner — another woman.
“You took a chance on her and loved both of them,” Bishop Robinson marveled. “You learned that God believes in love.”
If ye shall know them by their fruits, take a look at the membership and giving chart for St. Barnabas. Erratic giving, downward trends in both membership and ASA, a whopping 22 people there on an average Sunday… yep, this New Thing is working out just fine.
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