The Scotman reports – 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.
The historic decision, reached after an impassioned debate at the Church’s General Synod in Edinburgh, makes it the first mainstream Christian church in the UK to allow gay marriage.
It also means that gay Christians from any Anglican Church can now ask to be married in Scotland, giving many their first opportunity for a church wedding.
Members of the Church’s houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity were asked to vote on whether to replace Canon 31, the doctrinal clause stating that marriage is between a man and a woman.
All three houses were required to approve the motion by a two-thirds majority. It received the backing of 80 per cent of Bishops, 67 per cent of Clergy and 80 per cent of Laity.
Under the new rules, clergy who want to preside over gay weddings will have to put themselves forward for the role, allowing those who object to the decision to opt out.
Introducing the motion, the Bishop of Edinburgh Dr John Armes said the new definition of marriage would “protect the consciences both of those who believe that they must not – and of those who believe that they must – offer God’s blessing on a marriage of a same-sex couple”.
He added: “No one is being asked to change their theology of marriage. The change is that our church would officially recognise that it contains a diversity of viewpoints.
“If, for example, a cleric does not believe they can officiate at the marriage of a same-sex couple, they need do nothing.” … read more
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