Church of Scotland votes to allow parish ministers and deacons to marry same-sex couples

274 commissioners voted in favour of the move, with 136 voting against

Published

The Church of Scotland has voted to allow parish ministers and deacons to marry same-sex couples if they wish.

At the 2022 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 274 commissioners voted in favour of the move and 136 against it on Monday.

They have approved an overture to change a standing Church law to enable parish ministers, known as Ministers of Word and Sacrament, and deacons to apply to become authorised celebrants to conduct same-sex ceremonies.

A report to the General Assembly makes it clear that no person would be required to participate in the solemnisation of, or be involved in the arrangements for, a same-sex marriage unless they explicitly wished to do so.

No person will be required to take part in a same sex marriage unless they explicitly wished to do so
No person will be required to take part in a same sex marriage unless they explicitly wished to do so

All celebrants would be expected to take account of the “peace and unity and pastoral needs of the congregation and any parish or other grouping of which it is a part” while considering conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony.

A report earlier this month found the majority of presbyteries in Scotland were in favour of same-sex marriages.

The Queen applauded the role congregations from the Church of Scotland have played in offering support to Ukrainian refugees since the war broke out.

Around 400 ministers, elders, deacons and special guests are gathering in Edinburgh for its General Assembly, with more joining online, as the church opens its annual meeting, first held in 1560.

In a letter read out at the Assembly Hall meeting, the Queen said “the tragic loss of life and the scattering of refugees as a result of the war in Ukraine has caused much distress”.

“It is encouraging to know that the Church of Scotland has been able to offer support through raising funds and providing a welcome to the stranger,” she said in the letter read out by the Rev Dr George Whyte, chaplain-in-ordinary and principal clerk of the Church of Scotland.

“We all hope that peace will be restored and we continue to uphold in prayer those who are putting into practice the love which is at the heart of the Gospel.”

Of the Covid-19 pandemic, the monarch said that throughout the last year it had “continued to be a burden”, and added: “It is good to hear how Scotland’s churches and people of other faiths have been drawn together as they have faced the shared challenge of sustaining their own communities while continuing to care for their neighbours in need.”