Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex weddings in church

First Anglican church in the UK votes to allow same-sex marriage

Gay couples could be married in Scottish churches within a year after the Scottish Episcopal Church voted in favour of allowing its clergy to preside over same-sex weddings.

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.

In a vote this afternoon at its General Synod, all three houses of the meeting - the bishops, clergy and laity - came out in favour.

Clergy will have to opt-in to perform same-sex marriages, meaning that any clergy member who disagrees with same-sex marriage will not be forced to perform ceremonies against their conscience.

But in February 2017, campaigners hailed a decision by the Church of England's ruling body to throw out a controversial report on same-sex marriage as "a victory for love and equality".

In response to the vote, Rev David Chilingworth, head of the Scottish Episcopal Chruch, said: "The step we have taken today is a momentous one".

Same-sex couples will be able to marry in some churches in Scotland after religious authorities on Thursday agreed to change texts stating marriage is between a man and a woman, the first such move for a major Christian church in Britain.

Earlier this year a report by the House of Bishops recommended that the Church should not change its opposition to same-sex marriage, but should adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gay people. The Scottish Episcopal Church is one of 38, soon to be 39, provinces covering more than 165 countries around the world.




The Anglican Communion Office issued a statement from its Secretary General, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon.

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

A spokesperson for the Church of England said that the decision had been noted. "This new canon affirms there are different understandings of marriage in our church".

The new position "does not alter the fact that within the church there remains a range of views on marriage".

Just as the result today to allow gay weddings was expected, the ramifications will also likely be predictable. "It is permissive, not directive". It would be "the most sad and painful days for many of us" if the motion was passed, he said, and would distress clerics and congregations, such as his own, who believed in an "orthodox" tradition of marriage.

"Changing our doctrine of marriage is a schismatic move that will cause serious harm to our unity and future relationship with our sisters and brothers throughout the Anglican Communion".

Same sex marriage was legalised in Scotland in 2014.

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