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Scottish Episcopal Church votes for marriage equality

Scottish Episcopal Church votes for marriage equality

Regardless of the threats by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – the Scottish Episcopal Church just voted to support marriage equality. Though the headlines say “gay marriage” the Church has just changed the marriage canon to make it open to all couples.

A statement from the Scottish Episcopal Church:

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today passed a first reading of a change to its Canon on marriage (Canon 31). The change is to remove from the Canon the doctrinal statement regarding marriage that marriage is to be understood as a union “of one man and one woman.”

A first reading of the change is the first step in a process and does not represent a final decision. The proposed change now passes from the General Synod to the Church’s seven dioceses for discussion and comment in their Diocesan Synods in the coming year. The opinions from the dioceses will then be relayed back to the General Synod which will be invited to give a second reading of the Canon in June 2017. At that stage, for a second reading to be passed, it must achieve a majority of two thirds in the “houses” of bishops, clergy and laity within the General Synod. The change to the canon would include a conscience clause ensuring that clergy opposed to the change are not required to marry people of the same sex.

Commenting on the first reading today, the Rt Rev Dr Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway and Acting Convener of the Church’s Faith and Order Board, said:

General Synod last year engaged in extensive debate in relation to possible changes to our Canon on marriage. It asked the Board to bring forward canonical legislation this year to remove from the Canon any doctrinal statement regarding marriage. That would pave the way for clergy of the Church who wish to be able to solemnise weddings between people of the same sex. Synod has this year accepted the proposals brought forward by the Board by giving a first reading to the canonical change. The process will now continue and not be completed until General Synod 2017. If second reading is agreed at that stage, the change to the Canon will take effect.

The Synod’s decision this year is important because it represents the beginning of a formal process of canonical change. The Church has been engaged in recent years in a series of discussions at all levels. The current process will enable the Church come to a formal decision on the matter. Views within the Church are, of course, wide and diverse. The passing of the first reading today will bring great joy to some; for others it will be matter of great difficulty. The wording of the proposed change recognises that there are differing views of marriage within our Church and we have attempted, and will continue to attempt, to sustain our unity in the midst of our diversity.

The vote was:

Bishops: 5 For, 2 against

Clergy: 43 For, 19 Against

Laity: 49 For, 12 Against,  3 Abstain



From the BBC:

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod has made the first steps of any Anglican Church in the UK towards allowing gay marriage in church.  The synod voted that a change to its Canon law governing marriage should be sent for discussion to the church’s seven dioceses. A further vote will happen at next year’s synod.

The proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. There would be a “conscience clause” for those who would not want to conduct a same-sex marriage….

Speaking after the vote, the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said: “The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make decisions about policy.



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Christopher Noth

I wonder if “respecting the dignity of ALL people” requires that we must also totally agree on the life choices of others. We may not agree on many issues. Yet we agree to disagree on some issues and rather focus on the fact that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We can still love and support one another even if we do not fully agree on some issues. I believe that is the most loving way to handle ANY differences that may come up among us as we all live our lives with the intent of serving God. “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” So I believe that it IS POSSIBLE to accept the differences amongst ourselves and be proud that we are all worshipping God as ourselves and sharing God’s love among our fellow man unconditionally, since God loves us all unconditionally through forgiveness of sins. I believe we are all responsible for OUR OWN salvation.
I also believe that to leave someone out or to have them feel isolated and alone when they want to follow a loving road could result in people going down a very bad road.
To me the word “acceptance” soumds like a word of judgement and judgement is God’s job. But “respect” sounds like a loving word. And I, personally, would like to radiate as a person who loves and welcomes others unconditionally rather than risk the possibility of sowing any seeds of scrutiny. And for me, that answers the question “WWJD?”

JC Fisher

Thanks be to God! (With a tip o’ the Tam O’Shanter to the SEC!)

“* Others of course believe that it’s been read incorrectly”

I’m of this view. There’s nothing in the Bible that “condemns homosexual activity”, since the Bible doesn’t know anything of homosexually-oriented persons (whose activities it would/wouldn’t condemn).

Greg Lynch

Thanks be to God! Thanks be to God for the, Scottish Episcopal Church, and their decision regarding marriage. The Episcopal Church U.S.A., owes a debt to the, Scottish Episcopal Church, not only for the consecration of Samuel Seabury, but also for our ancient Eucharistic Liturgy, through the Scottish Book of Common Prayer. We have so much to be thankful for.

David Hollingsworth

How do you reconcile this with Holy Writ that condemns homosexual activity let alone a marriage ?

Rev. Dr. Bob Faser

Well, to begin with, the OT passages are about same-gender rape, not about consensual relations. The passages in the NT are critiques of a Graeco-Roman cultural practice in which same-gender rape of younger men by senior ones was a tradition in both military and scholarly contexts. Our Lord himself was silent about any of this.

Gregory Orloff

Well, David Hollingsworth, how do you reconcile making allowances for divorce and remarriage, eating pork and shellfish, lending money at interest and working on Saturdays with Holy Writ’s prohibition of all of the above? (For working on Saturdays, it even prescribes the death penalty. Yikes!)

James Byron

Bible’s wrong.* Next.

* Others of course believe that it’s been read incorrectly

Scott Fisher

This is your 4th & final comment for today in this thread. – ed

Perhaps you could explain to us what this new word of God is and where this revelation came from please.

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