Church of Scotland: Gay minister proposals pass key vote

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Church of Scotland is one step closer to allowing the ordination of gay ministers, after plans secured the backing of a majority of local presbyteries.

The church currently bans the ordination of ministers in same-sex relationships – but divisive proposals to change the rules have been under consultation for some time.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly voted to further proposals to allow gay ministers to be appointed – amid threats of a split from more conservative groups.

The move was put up for discussion by the Kirk’s 46 local presbyteries – and the Aberdeen Press and Journal reveals today that at least the 23 required have now approved the measure.

The official break-down of the vote will be released in the new year, after all of the 46 presbyteries have concluded their voting process.

Having secured the backing of the local churches, the proposals will next head back to next year’s General Assembly for final approval, before becoming doctrine.

Reverend John Mann of Affirmation Scotland said: “This is good news, it is what we have been hoping for and working towards.

“I think it is testimony to the broad nature of the Church of Scotland that folks are willing to go along with this.

“It gives people the choice and does not force anything on anybody.”

Senior Tory MSP Alex Johnstone complained this week that allowing congregations the discretion to appoint ministers in same-sex relationships “ultimately” weakens the Church of Scotland.

He said: “Churches compromising to keep people happy is diametrically opposed to the principals on which they are founded.

“Ultimately the consequence of compromise in this area will further weaken the institution.”