Church of Scotland members formally dissent decision to allow gay ministers

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A group of ministers and elders in the Church of Scotland have formally expressed dissatisfaction about a decision to allow gay civil partners to become ministers.

The General Assembly of the church convened last week, and 491 voted on the measure. With 309 voting to approve gay ministers and 182 against, the move to allow gay ministers passed.

There are now 74 ministers and elders who have formally lodged dissent after the decision.

Those signing the dissent include Reverend Scott Guy of Northfield Church in Aberdeen, and city elders Brian Fowler of St Columba’s Church in Bridge and Don and Hazel Hewitt of St Nicholas of Kincorth Church, reports the Press and Journal.

A spokesman for Kirk group Covenant Fellowship Scotland, Reverend Mike Goss said the measure was not substantial, but that it would rally those opposed to same-sex marriage.

“This is a clear sign of the strength of feeling among commissioners – it is a substantial response,” he said.

“This will not make any practical difference to the law of the Church and procedures but it does strengthen and encourage people who think this is a step too far.

“I think it was important that people signed the dissent so folk know this was not just something that was accepted.”

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

Divisive proposals to change the rules have been under consultation for some time.

Earlier in 2014, the General Assembly voted to further proposals to allow gay ministers to be appointed – amid threats of a split from more conservative groups.

At the General Assembly and some 700 members will be gathered until Friday.