Scottish Episcopal Church to hold vote on same-sex weddings

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The Scottish Episcopal Church is to vote next week on proposals to allow clergy to marry same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Scotland in December last year – but the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church all currently remain opposed to equality.

However, the Scottish Episcopal Church – which has warned clergy not to defy rules and begin marrying gay couples – will next week take the first step towards allowing all couples to marry.

The Church has asked its theological doctrine committee to examine the grounds for permitting same-sex weddings, and the General Synod will be asked to vote on the proposed change.

The General Synod is set to meet in St Paul’s and St George’s Church in Edinburgh on Friday.

Though a vote in favour at an early stage would be a ringing endorsement, it is likely to take a number of years to officially change church doctrine and allow same-sex couples to wed.

Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network told the Sunday Times: “We very much welcome that the Scottish Episcopal Church is considering this issue.

“We hope that the synod will move forward on it in a way that respects and supports the diversity of church members, including the diversity of their sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Though none of Scotland’s main churches allow same-sex weddings, the country’s celebrant laws provide more flexibility than in England and Wales – permitting legal Humanist weddings and Pagan weddings, both of which are open to same-sex couples.

The first Pagan wedding took place in January this year, when a gay Hedge Witch couple literally tied the knot in Edinburgh.