At its annual synod or general meeting, held 19 October 2007, the Anglican clergy and laity of the Diocese of Montreal voted in favour of a motion requesting "that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages, including marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that the Bishop authorize an appropriate rite and make regulations for its use in supportive parishes." The vote taken on Friday night was passed in the order of clergy (44 - 25) and in the order of laity (59 – 32).
Also provided was a statement from Bishop Barry B. Clarke:
The Synod – our diocesan legislative body – has now requested that I grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages, including marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that I authorize an appropriate rite and make regulations for its use in supportive parishes.
I will need some time to reflect on today's discussions, to consult further with the other Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada when we meet later this month, and to consider the concerns of our partners in the wider Anglican Communion.
All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. As in any family, we have disagreements – sometimes serious. And as a family, it is important for us to be together; to continue to meet together to discern the mind of Christ. I was elected as Bishop of all Anglicans in this diocese, and as such, I call upon all to remain at the table, working to sustain the highest level of Communion possible.
Until a decision is made, there is no change in our current policy and practice; I expect our clergy to refrain from blessing same-sex couples.
It's also noted that the Anglican Church of Canada's House of Bishops meets October 25-30 in London, Ontario. There, they are expected to "discuss not only the implications of both the Ottawa and Montreal dioceses' vote but also conflicting interpretations of the ramifications of General Synod's decision around same-sex blessings."
In his charge on Friday to the synod Bishop Clarke wrote, "I am also accountable to my fellow bishops and will consult with them next week at our meeting of the House of Bishops, taking into consideration our accountability towards the wider church."
Here is coverage by the Montreal Gazette. 'When asked whether he was concerned that this would create controversy within the Anglican Church of Canada, the bishop was unphased. "Hey, why not?" he said.'
The Montreal synod had separate tallies for clergy and lay delegates at the request of several delegates critical of the resolution. This meant the bishop had to say whether he concurred. He did.
[The sponsors of the motion] urged delegates to vote in accordance with their own consciences rather than being preoccupied with the possible political consequences of the vote at various levels of the Anglican Church. In fact, while some opponents of the resolution did refer to potential political dangers, there was no lack of scriptural argument.