Scottish Episcopal Church paves the way for same-sex weddings

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The Scottish Episcopal Church is on a collision course with the Anglican Communion – after it approved an initial motion on same-sex weddings.

The global Anglican Communion narrowly avoided collapse earlier this year when hardline African churches threatened a walk-out in objection to same-sex weddings in pro-gay Western churches.

A compromise saw the US Episcopal Church ‘punished’ by the Archbishop of Canterbury for affirming same-sex weddings, in a bid to keep the alliance together – angering supporters of LGBT equality.

The Scottish Episcopal Church – Scotland’s second-largest denomination – has today put itself on the same collision course with the Communion,  by passing a motion on equality.

Representatives from dioceses across Scotland had voted to approve a proposal to change the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Canon on Marriage at the annual meeting of the General Synod; paving the way for equal marriage.

The proposal, which would remove teachings that state that marriage is only between a man and a woman, would need to be passed again in 2017 in order to be enacted.

For the proposal to pass next year, it requires a two-thirds majority in each house of Bishops, Clergy and Laity – a threshold it managed to reach in all three houses this year.

Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth said: “We are considering an issue which is profoundly challenging for all churches.

“Over the past two years we have been engaged in a series of discussions in our province, dioceses and congregations.

“People have been courageous and open in expressing and listening to the diversity of views on same sex marriage which are held within the Scottish Episcopal Church.

“We now come to the point where we must make a decision about the way forward for our church.

“We do that in all humility seeking the will of God and attempting always to sustain our unity in the midst of our diversity.”

The Church said in a statement: “This proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman and would add a conscience clause for those who would want to exercise their right not to conduct a same-sex marriage.

“There will be a further debate in 2017 when a two thirds majority in each ‘House’ of Bishops, Clergy and Laity would be required.”

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