The Episcopal Diocese of Washington voted to approve same-sex blessing ceremonies at its annual convention at the Washington National Cathedral Jan. 28.
The diocese has unofficially allowed same-sex ceremonies for years, and it has had a same-sex rite on the books since June 2004.
However, that rite has been put on hold until a meeting of the Episcopal General Convention in June in Ohio, when the denomination's future stance on homosexual clergy and same-sex blessings will be decided, reported the Washington Times.
In the meantime, at an annual council meeting in Richmond, held at the same time, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia passed an omnibus resolution which focuses on unity and promises to "seek the highest degree of communion possible" with Christians with whom it disagrees.
The diocese's 90,000 members and their bishop "would make every effort to cooperate as co-laborers within the [worldwide] Anglican Communion," the resolution said.
While some are praising the resolution for emphasizing unity, others are calling for more debate in the diocese and a clearer stand from Bishop Peter Lee.
A majority of the world's Anglican bishops have partially or completely broken ties with the Episcopal Church over its 2003 consecration of openly homosexual New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson.