Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies

The Scottish Episcopal Church today voted to allow same-sex couples to be married in church

The Scottish Episcopal Church became the first major Christian church in the United Kingdom to have voted in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry in church.

As Pink News reported, 74 percent of the General Synod voted for the motion; 80-percent of bishops and 80.6 percent of laity, which means those who take part in and serve the church but are not ordained clergy.

It includes details of the nominating procedure by which a cleric wishing to conduct a same-sex marriage in church should seek approval from the Registrar General, who is responsible for the registration of births, deaths, and marriages in Scotland.

The move, which raises the prospect of gay Christians from England, Wales and Northern Ireland heading to Scotland for a church wedding, was hailed by gay rights campaigners.

Responding to the vote, Primus of the SEC, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, said: "This is a momentous step".

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The vote to amend canon law on marriage, removing the stipulation that it must be between a man and a woman, was carried by the church's synod in Edinburgh.

The decisive vote saw the House of Bishops vote 4-1 in favour, the House of Clergy 42-20 in favour, and the House of Laity 50-12 in favour.

Same-sex weddings could be held within the church by the autumn, reports have suggested.

This step meant that gay Christians, who are from any Anglican church, can now get married in a Scottish Episcopal Church.

"They can express in marriage a commitment to lifelong faithfulness to one another and to the belief that a calling to marriage is for them too a calling to love, forgiveness, sacrifice, truth".

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The Church of England said the latest decision was a matter for the SEC.

A meeting of Anglican primates in Canterbury reached an agreement on measures against the US Episcopal Church, which a statement said had made a "fundamental departure from the faith and teaching" by endorsing gay marriage. Last year Pope Francis released a report on the importance of the family which affirmed the Church's opposition to gay equality and same-sex marriage.

Just as the result today to allow gay weddings was expected, the ramifications will also likely be predictable.

"No-one is being asked to change their theology of marriage". The new canon was an official recognition of a diversity of viewpoints, he added.

Ian Ferguson, of Aberdeen and Orkney, the only Scottish diocese to oppose the change during consultations over the past year, said: "This is one of the saddest and most painful days for us ..." We will be disobeying Jesus; changing the doctrine of marriage is a schismatic move that will damage our relations with our sisters and brothers throughout the AC.

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Same-sex marriage became law in Scotland in 2014.

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