Primate of Canada says he can’t stop marriage equality

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The Anglican Journal has two stories in the aftermath of General Synod on marriage equality this week. Before stories refer to Archbishop Justin Welby.

First, Primate says he can’t stop bishops from allowing same-sex marriages:

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, says he understands why some bishops have chosen to go ahead with the solemnization of same-sex marriages, even though the marriage canon (church law) cannot be officially changed until it is voted on again at General Synod 2019.

“As primate, I have no authority to say to a bishop, ‘You can’t do that and you must not do that,’ ” he said.

While the decision to move toward allowing same-sex marriage in the Canadian church will doubtless have repercussions across the 77-million-strong global Anglican Communion, Hiltz said he has yet to receive a response from either the Anglican Communion Office or Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. He noted that the Church of England has only just wrapped up a meeting of its own General Synod.

He said he would send Welby a letter explaining what happened at synod and including the resolution on the marriage canon that passed its first reading.

Second, Seven bishops ‘publicly dissent’ from same-sex marriage vote:

In a statement released Friday, July 15, the bishops said they “publicly dissent” from the decision, which, they add, “imperils our full communion within the Anglican Church of Canada and with Anglicans throughout the world.”

The statement, a copy of which was sent to the Anglican Journal, also called on the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby “to seek ways to guarantee our place within the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion.”

Hiltz was not available for comment when contacted by the Journal.

The statement was signed by Bishop Stephen Andrews, of the diocese of Algoma; Bishop David Parsons, of the diocese of the Arctic, and Suffragan Bishop Darren McCartney, also of the diocese of the Arctic; Bishop Fraser Lawton, of the diocese of Athabasca; Bishop William Anderson, of the diocese of Caledonia; Bishop Michael Hawkins, of the diocese of Saskatchewan; and Bishop Larry Robertson, of the diocese of Yukon.

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William Bockstael
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William Bockstael

Marriage equality exists in Canada whether the Anglican bishops or any minister of religion likes it or not, same-sex marriage became legal in Canada in the summer of 2005

Period.

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

That is a fact which is not in dispute. Indeed several dioceses have had forms for blessing civil marriages for some time.

The question of the past several days has been whether or not baptized Anglicans in the Anglican Church of Canada can have access to marriage in their church. What is emerging in the wake of General Synod, is that such is not prohibited by canon canon law.

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The Primate is correct, and simply reiterating the legal advice of the General Synod Chancellor. See quotation below from:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/v3-app_crowdc/assets/c/c6/c606e38ae03a82b3/Memorandum_about_Procedures_for_considering_Resolution_051--v11.original.1466972432.pdf

"Although General Synod has enacted Canon XXI, it does not contain either a definition of “marriage”, or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriages. It does refer to the “requirements of civil law”, and to persons “duly qualified” to enter into marriage.(c) At the time Canon XXI was enacted in its current form in 1967, civil law did not recognize marriages between persons of the same sex,
so same-sex persons would not at that time have been “duly
qualified” to enter into marriage; the four references to “man and5. Rule 21 of the Rules of Order and Procedure only prevents a question that has been determined
from being reconsidered at the same session of General Synod (unless two thirds of the members
voting together agree).-7-woman” and “husband and wife” are not surprising. General Synod could not have contemplated same-sex marriage when it enacted Canon XXI.
(d) In 2005, Parliament enacted the Civil Marriage Act which permits marriage between “any two persons” (thereby making it clear that persons of the same sex are “duly qualified” to enter into marriage).This is the civil law throughout Canada.
(e) In the absence of a prohibition by General Synod against same-sex marriages, Provincial Synods have authority and jurisdiction with respect to “... the authorization of special forms of prayers, services and ceremonies for use within the province, for which no provisions have been made under the authority of the General Synod or of the House of Bishops of The Anglican Church of Canada”: Section 7 viii)of the Declaration of Principles"

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