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Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow equal marriage

Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow equal marriage

The Scottish Episcopal Church has become the first Christian church in the United Kingdom to allow same-sex marriage in its Churches, Clergy will not, however, be forced to officiate at those marriages if it goes against their conscience.

Last year, the worldwide Anglican Communion made a decision to sanction the U.S. Episcopal Church after it allowed same-sex marriage.

The result from the General Synod in Edinburgh, which came shortly after 4:50pm, followed hours of speeches and months of discussions among laity, bishops, and clergy in Scotland's third-largest church.

A group of conservative Anglicans announced shortly after the vote they would appoint a new "missionary bishop" for Scotland to offer alternative leadership for those who oppose same-sex marriage, according to the Guardian. Campaigners in Scotland have already received requests from gay Church of England worshippers asking to marry in an Anglican church north of the border.

The vote means that the Church's canon law will be changed - to remove the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman.

It removed a clause saying marriage was "a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman ... and is a holy and lifelong estate instituted by God".




During an earlier debate on the issue on Thursday, the Rt Rev John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh, said the issue of same-sex marriage "is something on which we do not have a common mind", but he stressed "no-one is being asked to change their theology of marriage". Those who are not comfortable with the change can opt out of performing same-sex weddings. The change is that our church would officially recognise that it contains a diversity of viewpoints.

The document, which also called for the church to apologise for its past treatment of gay people, recommended that any decision on whether or not to carry out gay marriages should be left up to individual ministers. 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.

Speaking about the vote, a spokesperson for the Church of England said it was "a matter for the Scottish Episcopal Church".

The new position "does not alter the fact that within the church there remains a range of views on marriage". We will be disobeying Jesus; changing the doctrine of marriage is a schismatic move that will damage our relations with our sisters and brothers throughout the AC.

"However this is a matter on which there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England".

Same-sex marriage became law in Scotland in 2014.

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