Scotland’s Episcopal Church tells clergy: Don’t be tempted to marry gays

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Scotland’s Episcopal Church is reiterating its warning to clergy not to marry same-sex couples as equal marriage comes into force in the country at the end of this month.

The House of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) has produced a document containing guidance for clergy and lay readers relating to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014, which comes into force in just over three weeks’ time on New Year’s Eve.

It says of blessing same-sex marriages: “The SEC has no liturgical rites for the blessing of a same-sex civil partnership or marriage, and the College is of the view that it would not be appropriate to use SEC marriage liturgies for this purpose.”

The guidelines also warn against clergy entering into same-sex marriages.

“The College recognises that once the 2014 Act comes into force, the possibility of entering into a same-sex marriage exists as much for clergy and lay readers as for any other member of the population”.

It goes on to say: “As things stand, a clergyperson or lay reader who chooses to enter a same-sex marriage will put themselves in a position outwith the SEC’s doctrinal understanding of marriage as expressed in Canon 31 […] the expectation of the Bishops is that clergy and lay readers will not enter into a same-sex marriage.”