The Kirk Assembly Close to Conducting Same-Sex Marriages

Same Sex Marriage

Scotland has allowed same-sex couples to marry since 2014 but individual church traditions can each decide whether to participate. The Kirk's General Assembly - gathering in Edinburgh - will be asked to approve more work on how same-sex weddings could take place in church. The Kirk assembly called on leaders to “take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologize individually and corporately and seek to do better”.

A report from the Theological Forum, ordered by last year’s assembly, concluded there were not “sufficient theological grounds to deny nominated individual ministers and deacons the authority to preside at same-sex marriages”. On the other hand, the “conscientious refusal” of other ministers and deacons to preside at such marriages must be protected.

A debate lasting more than three hours heard from supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage. One minister, Rev Peter Johnston, said it was his wish to officiate at the wedding of his lesbian daughter as well as that of his three straight children. But another minister, the Rev Dale London, said homosexual activity was “contrary to the word of God … it is sinful”. He added: “We cannot call good what God has called evil.”

Moderator Designate, the Reverend Dr Derek Browning said: "On Thursday afternoon the theological forum will be bringing a report to the General Assembly, and this year what they're asking to do is for the assembly, first of all, to consider making an apology to the gay community for things that have been said in the past and the assembly will have to make up its mind on that.”

The report explains that marriage should be a relationship between two persons not some artificial union: “For example, we do not believe that extension of marriage to two persons of the same gender opens the door to a rights-based argument that marriage should be extended to polyamorous unions. Nor, for example, do we think the door should be open to marriage with robots. Consent within a covenanted relationship between two persons remains at the heart of our understanding.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church, part of Anglican tradition, is expected to approve same-sex marriage when its General Synod meets later this year. Last year the Communion sanctioned the US Episcopal Church when it decided to allow gay marriage in church.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia

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