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Scottish Episcopal Church in historic decision backing gay marriage: see more photos

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NEWS: Scottish Episcopal Church in historic decision backing gay marriage: see more photos [New Foreign News] » Naijacrawl
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he Scottish Episcopal Church has become the first mainstream Christian denomination in the UK to allow same-sex couples to marry.


Its general synod voted to allow clergy to marry gay couples in a move that leaves the small church at odds with the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The move, following a historic debate in Edinburgh, means same-sex couples could be married in the church as early as this autumn.It will also allow gay Christians from any Anglican church to ask to be married in Scotlands Anglican church.

Clergy who want to officiate at gay marriages will have to "opt-in", and the church said this meant that those who disagreed with the change would not have to act against their conscience.

Representatives from seven dioceses across Scotland voted on the issue at the annual meeting.

They backed a call to remove a doctrinal clause from the churchs canon on marriage which states that it is a union between a man and a woman.

It was replaced with a "conscience clause" which says: "In the light of the fact that there are differing understandings of the nature of marriage in this church, no cleric of this church shall be obliged to conduct any marriage against their conscience."

same sex

Same-sex marriage cards in a shop in Soho CREDIT: EPA

In an impassioned two-hour debate, the Rev Canon Ian Ferguson, of the Aberdeen diocese, said the church had been broken by the decision and described it as a sad and painful day. He added that the church was disagreeing with Jesus.

The conservative Anglican group Global Anglican Future Conference said before the vote: If this action is taken it will further marginalise faithful Anglicans in Scotland who seek to uphold Jesuss teaching on marriage.

But supporters said it was a broad church and the understanding of scripture had changed over time.

Victoria Stock, a lay representative from Edinburgh, called on the church to stand up for what is right and spoke of her deep hurt at being told there was something wrong with her when she came out as gay.

She told the Synod: If Jesus was standing right here in this room today, he would be telling us just to get on with it.

same sexMost Rev David Chillingworth of the Scottish Episcopal Church CREDIT: CAMERA PRESS

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said it was a momentous step, adding: By removing gender form our marriage canon, our church now affirms that a same sex couple are not just married but are married in the sight of God.

"A new chapter opens up - inclusion has taken a particular form. This same decision is difficult and hurtful for others whose integrity in faith tells them that this decision is unscriptural and profoundly wrong.

same sexsame sexNicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie MSP with one of the first couples in Scotland to have a same-sex marriage CREDIT: PA

"For them, this new chapter will feel like an exclusion - as if their church has moved away from them. So, the journey which we now begin must also be a journey of reconciliation."

The change was backed by 80 per cent of the churchs bishops, 80 per cent of the laity and 68 per cent of the clergy. The three houses had to approve the motion by a two-thirds majority.

The Anglican Communion represents 80 million Christians around the world with the majority opposing gay marriage.

Its Secretary General, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said the vote put the Scottish church at odds with the majority stance.

Early last year the Anglican Communion sanctioned the US Episcopal Church when it voted in favour of gay marriage.

Last month, the Church of Scotland backed a report which could allow ministers to conduct same-sex weddings in future, and in February a report opposing gay marriage was opposed by the Church of Englands Synod.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since late 2014.

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