Scottish Episcopal Church to allow same-sex weddings

Aaron Brown
June 9, 2017

The Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) has voted to allow same-sex couples to be married in church.

If passed, it would mean Scottish Episcopals would become the first major church in the United Kingdom to marry gay and lesbian couples in church and this would pave the way for the other churches across consider the proposal which is been put forth by the members for a while now.

The vote was carried out by the Synod in Edinburgh, and required the support of at least two-third members of each of the houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity.

The church said this meant that those who disagreed with gay marriage would be protected and not have to act against their conscience.

The move, which raises the prospect of gay Christians from England, Wales and Northern Ireland heading to Scotland for a church wedding, was hailed by gay rights campaigners.

However, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said the vote puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance within the Anglican Communion.

The General Synod of the church voted that a change to its Canon law governing marriage should be sent for discussion to the church's seven dioceses. Bishops voted by 4-1 (80 per cent) for it, the clergy by 42-20 (67 per cent) and the laity by 50-12 (80 per cent).

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Yet, last month the Church of Scotland voted to approve a report which could allow ministers to conduct same-sex weddings in the future.

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 Episcopal Church's Bishop of Edinburgh, the Right Reverend John Armes, said: "I am very pleased for the couples who can now have their relationships recognized by the church and blessed by God".

"No-one is being asked to change their theology of marriage".

The Primus of SEC said it was a "difficult" decision to make and admitted there would be "consequences" for the decision.

However, another speaker told the gathering: "This is one of the saddest and most painful days for many of us, both here and throughout the Scottish Episcopal Church". The new canon was an official recognition of a diversity of viewpoints, he added. 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. "However this is a matter on which there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England", the spokesperson said.

Same sex marriage was legalised in Scotland in 2014.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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