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Episcopal bishop will resign over same-sex marriage stance

ALBANY (AP) — The Episcopal bishop of Albany, New York, agreed to resign after a disciplinary panel found that he violated church rules by ordering clergy in the diocese not to perform same-sex marriages.

The Right Reverend William H. “Bill” Love will leave his position on Feb. 1 after starting a sabbatical a month earlier, according to a disciplinary agreement announced Saturday by Episcopal Church leadership.

“I believe that to stay any longer would be more of a detriment to the diocese than a help,” Love said Saturday in an address to the diocese’s annual convention. His last day coincides with the anniversary of his start as Albany’s bishop.

Love, bishop since 2007, issued a pastoral direction two years ago prohibiting clergy in the diocese from performing marriage rites for same-sex couples, contradicting the Episcopal Church’s stance.

The Episcopal Church started allowing such marriages in 2015 and passed a resolution in 2018 expanding same-sex marriage to all dioceses.

In response, the church’s presiding bishop, Michael Curry, restricted Love’s ministry and the church filed internal disciplinary charges against him. Love was accused of violating a church canon that requires ordained persons to “abide by the promises and vows made when ordained.”

A virtual hearing on the matter was held in June because of the coronavirus pandemic. Love agreed to resign last Wednesday rather than have the church decide his punishment after a hearing panel concluded his actions were in violation of church canons.

With Love’s resignation, his pastoral direction barring same-sex marriages will no longer be in effect, the Episcopal Church said.

In his address, Love said he still cared deeply for the diocese and its members and that serving them for the last 14 years “has been one of the greatest privileges and blessings of my life.”

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