Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies
- Author: Adam Floyd Jun 09, 2017,
Jun 09, 2017, 9:00
That means any LGBTQ Anglican can now get married in a Scottish Episcopalian church, but it does not mean other Anglican churches must perform same-sex weddings.
This opens the way for gay Christians from any Anglican Church to marry in Scotland - but puts the Scottish church at odds with the rest of the world's Anglican community.
Clergy who wish to officiate at gay marriages will have to "opt-in", meaning those who disagreed with gay marriage would be protected and not have to act against their conscience.
However, in February the report was rejected at the General Synod, in what gay rights campaigners said was a victory for "love and equality".
Jayne Ozanne, a leading campaigner for LGBT rights within the Church of England, said she was "thrilled that the Scottish Episcopal church has chosen to take this fearless and momentous step in enabling same sex marriage".
The vote means that the Church's canon law will be changed - to remove the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The proposal was passed with 80% support from the Bishops and Laity, while 67% of the Clergy backed the move.
Same sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since 2014 but most churches deny conducting such ceremonies. This will allow gay people from any Anglican church to ask to be married in a Scottish Episcopal Church, but does not force clergy to oblige, according to a statement on the Scottish Episcopal Church's website.More news: Graham Rahal wins 1st of 2 Detroit Grand Prix IndyCar races
This historic move Thursday by a mainstream Christian denomination in the United Kingdom placed the church at odds with the majority of the Anglican Communion worldwide.
It also addresses the "conscience of lay people" - including, but not limited to, any verger, flower arrangers, or choristers - which, it says, must be considered by clerics before a same-sex wedding is conducted.
The church has wrestled with the issue for years.
The Church of England said the latest decision was a matter for the SEC.
The new position "does not alter the fact that within the church there remains a range of views on marriage".
The Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church opposed Britain's decision to allow same-sex marriages.
Church employees and volunteers, such as vergers, organists, choristers and flower arrangers, should also be allowed to exercise their conscience and decline to participate in same sex weddings. No one is asking you to change your theology. "It is permissive, not directive". We will be disobeying Jesus; changing the doctrine of marriage is a schismatic move that will damage our relations with our sisters and brothers throughout the AC. At the time, Arlene Foster from the Democratic Unionist Party, who would go on to become the the first minister, said her party would continue to use a petition of concern to block any bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.