Marriage in The Episcopal Church

Celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage

O God, you have so consecrated the covenant of marriage
that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ
and his Church: Send therefore your blessing upon these your
servants, that they may so love, honor, and cherish each other
in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness,
that their home may be a haven of blessing and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
                                                                                     BCP, 431


This page, a resource for clergy celebrating and blessing marriage, will soon undergo revision to reflect changes in rites approved during the 79th General Convention in July 2018. For questions or concerns that are not addressed here, please contact the Office of the Bishop.


According to Canon I.18.1 - Every Member of the Clergy of this Church shall conform to the laws of the State governing the creation of the civil status of marriage, and also these canons concerning the solemnization of marriage. Members of the Clergy may solemnize a marriage using any of the liturgical forms authorized by this Church.

Approved Liturgies:
- The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, BCP (found under Pastoral Offices)
- New Marriage Liturgy Based on the 1979 BCP Rite: Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (2)* 
- New Marriage Liturgy Based on the 2012 Blessing Rite: Witness and Blessing of a Marriage*
- The Blessing of a Civil Marriage, BCP (found under Pastoral Offices)
- An Order for Marriage, BCP (found under Pastoral Offices)

*This liturgy was authorized for use at the 78th General Convention, Resolution A054, under the direction and with the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority with the following corrections. Bishop Barry Beisner has approved these liturgies for use in The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California. No changes may be made to these liturgies.


In The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, clergy intending to celebrate and bless marriages in which one or both parties have previously been married, must complete the Request for Consultation and Consent, attach all supporting documentation and submit it to the Office of the Bishop at least 30 days prior to the proposed marriage date.

Please submit this form and all proper documentation to:

The Office of the Bishop
350 University Avenue, Suite 280
Sacramento, CA 95825
Fax: 916-442-6927

Same-Gender Marriage

78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church Passes Marriage Equality Legislation

On July 1, 2015, the 78th General Convention passed legislation bringing marriage equality to all Episcopalians. This legislation was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, and comes on the heels of the June 26th U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.  
- Click here to read the full Episcopal News Service article about this vote at the 78th General Convention.

Study Resources
From the Task Force on the Study of Marriage

Contents and Introduction
Essay 1 Biblical and Theological Framework
Essay 2 Christian Marriage as Vocation
Essay 3 A History of Christian Marriage
Essay 4 Marriage as a Rite of Passage
Essay 5 The Marriage Canon History and Critique
Essay 6 Agents of the State a Question for Discernment
Essay 7 Changing Trends and Norms in Marriages
Toolkit for the Study of Marriage

From the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music

SCLM Essays and Responses
SCLM Resources for Preparing Couples
SCLM Discussion Guide


Communications Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Rulings

- Click here to read an Episcopal News Service story about the marriage rites resolution from GC79.

- Click here to read the July 2, 2015 Statement of Clarification Regarding Marriage and Blessing Liturgies in The Episcopal Church

The Presiding Bishop on Supreme Court Ruling
On June 26, 2015, following the Supreme Court's ruling, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued this statement.
- Click here to read the full statement.

Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Constitutional
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to be married. The court’s 5-4 ruling settled the issue of access to civil marriage.  
- Click here to read the full announcement

© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

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