The Scottish Episcopal Church has been holding its diocesan synods, and voting on proposals that would allow for some clergy to perform marriages for same-sex couples. The proposals would change Canon 31 of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and will face a final vote at the General Synod, to be held this June. Changing Attitude Scotland, a network of members of the Scottish Episcopal Church and others, has released the following statement with further information:
Changing Attitude Scotland warmly welcomes the results of voting at the Diocesan Synods of the Scottish Episcopal Church that has taken place across Scotland in March 2017.
Proposals to make changes to Canon 31 of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s canons have now been discussed by all the diocesan synods. A very clear majority of the synods voted in favour of change – 6 dioceses voted in favour, whilst one (Aberdeen and Orkney) voted against change.
The changes that are proposed would allow some clergy to be nominated to be able to conduct marriages for same-sex couples. If the changes are approved they would also remove the ban on clergy and lay readers entering into same-sex marriages themselves.
The changes proposed in the Scottish Episcopal Church are deliberately aimed at respecting the conscience of all in the church by not forcing anyone to affirm a doctrinal statement about marriage which they disagree with. Changing Attitude Scotland believes that this method of dealing with issues surrounding marriage is a model which other churches in the Anglican Communion might well explore in the future. We believe that there is room in the church for everyone to be able to exercise their conscience on this question – respecting those who do not wish to celebrate the marriages of same-sex couples and respecting those who do.
Speaking after the voting was concluded, Beth Routledge, convenor of Changing Attitude Scotland said, “We can now look forward to the final vote on these measures at General Synod in Edinburgh in June. It has been very moving to hear of so many speeches that have affirmed the wish for same-sex couples to be able to walk down the aisles in our churches. We are delighted at the positive votes cast that have supported this change to the Canon, and we hope that they point the way to this wish soon becoming the reality of the Church”
The final vote is expected to be taken in Edinburgh at General Synod which starts on – 8 June 2017
This post has been updated to clarify the date of the General Synod.