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Church in Scotland expected to perform same-sex marriages later this year in historic move

2017-06-01
Same-sex weddings are expected to be held in the Scottish Episcopal Church later this year, in a first for a major religious body in the UK. The Church will become the first major faith in the UK to perform same-sex marriages, according to The Herald. The Church's General Synod first backed the plans in March, with six out of seven representatives in favour. The final hurdle for the motion to remove the doctrinal statement that marriage is a union 'of one man and one woman' takes place between a meeting of the Synod next week, though it is expected that the motion will go through. A senior Church source said: "Given what happened last year and with the diocese, people are expecting it to go through." Asked when the first marriages would likely take place, the source said: "We don't know for sure yet but the first one would probably be early autumn." Individual clergy in the Church will be able to opt out of performing same-sex weddings, with those who wish to perform the ceremonies putting themselves forward to do so. Bishops will decide which churches will be available for the weddings. "Marriages not in SEC Church buildings, written permission for marriages to take place in buildings other than a church building of the SEC must be sought from the bishop in whose diocese the alternative venue is situated," said Rt Rev John Armes. Last week, the Church of Scotland announced that it is also taking steps to introduce same-sex marriage. "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 have been said in the past and the assembly will have to make up its mind on that," said Reverend Dr Derek Browning, "But also it’s going to be asking our legal questions committee to see what the issues are round about allowing ministers to perform same sex marriage if they choose to do so, and equally for safeguards for those who, for conscience sake, feel that this is not something they can do," Rev Browning continued. "Over the years the assembly has been very well aware that on both sides of the debate, very strong things have been said and therefore an apology certainly within the Christian context is always important because there’s been hurt caused on both sides of the debate." More stories: Janet Jackson reportedly in talks to star in 10-part Netflix reality series Tennis legend Martina Navratilova hits out at ‘racist homophobe’ Margaret Court in powerful open letter