Same-sex partners will be allowed to marry in churches in Scotland after the country’s Episcopal Church voted to amend canon law stating marriage to be between a man and a woman.
The proposal, which means same-sex couples from any Anglican Church can now request a wedding at a Scottish Episcopal Church, was backed on Thursday at the annual meeting of its General Synod in Edinburgh.
Sent for discussion to the Church’s seven dioceses, only Aberdeen and Orkney voted against the proposal to remove the doctrinal clause declaring marriage to be a “union of one man and one woman”.
The Right Reverend Dr. John Armes, the Episcopal Church’s Bishop of Edinburgh, said: “I am very pleased for the couples who can now have their relationships recognised by the church and blessed by God.
“I’m also pleased for what this means about our church and the way we have been able to do this. But obviously any change like this creates pain and hurt in some as well, so as a bishop of the church I feel for them.”
However, a group of traditionalists from the Anglican Church said they cannot back the move, and announced that they intend to appoint a missionary bishop “to serve the needs of those who oppose gay marriage”.
Archbishop Foley Beach, a senior figure in the global group, said: “Today’s decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalised by their leaders.
“The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support.”
The Scottish Episcopal Church said clergy who wish to officiate at same-sex unions would have to ‘opt-in’, so as to protect clergy who disagree with the decision from having to act against their conscience.
This week the Church of Scotland’s first openly gay minister, Scott Rennie, declared the tradition of ‘the father giving the bride away’ to be outdated, and called for it to be abandoned.
“Increasingly, in a much less patriarchal world, I encourage couples – who nearly always live together in any case – to walk down the aisle together as they come to make their marriage covenant with each other,” the minister urged ahead of the Synod in Edinburgh.
Breitbart London reported last month that ahead of the Synod, a leading figure in the Church of Scotland paved the way for same-sex weddings in churches when he told its General Assembly there is “no theological reason” to oppose homosexual marriage.
According to the Christian Post, the Very Reverend Professor Iain Torrance acknowledges the Bible condemns same sex acts but claimed Scripture was framed by a “cultural context” that is no longer applicable.