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The Church of Scotland votes to allow gay marriages

There are still however strong voices of dissent with one group calling the decision "unbiblical and sinful".

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

The Church in Scotland has voted to allow gay and same-sex marriages to go ahead. 

On Monday (23 May) the Church’s General Assembly voted in Edinburgh with 274 voting for the change and 136 voting against it.

This means for the first time, ministers can conduct same-sex marriages in services. However, ministers won’t be forced to conduct same-sex marriages. 

“Marriage is a wonderful thing”

As reported by the BBC, Rt Rev Dr. Iain Greenshields, a moderator of the General Assembly, said: “The Church of Scotland is a broad church and there are diverse views on the subject of same-sex marriage among its members.”

Referencing the “lengthy, prayerful, and in-depth discussion and debate” on the issue of same-sex marriage he said: “The Church is committed to ensuring that debates on this subject are held in a spirit of humility and grace, the tone and tenor of discussions are civil and people are respectful of those who hold opposing views.”

During the discussions, the Church of Scotland’s first openly gay clergyman, Rev Scott Rennie recognised the differing views on the matter but said: “I want to say that marriage is a wonderful thing. My marriage to my husband Dave nurtures my life and my ministry.

“Frankly, I couldn’t be a minister without his love and support. It is much the same as opposite sex marriage in its joys and its glories,” as per the BBC. 

Meanwhile, The Covenant Fellowship Scotland, an evangelical group within the Church of Scotland, has called the decision made on Monday a “serious mistake”.

It said the Church was acting in an “unbiblical and sinful” way.

“We all have a deep pastoral care and concern for those who wish to enter into same sex marriages,” it said but pointed to “the complete absence of any compelling or persuasive biblical evidence that might permit ministers and deacons of the Church of Scotland to officiate at same sex marriages.”

It added that the decision “contradicts everything the Bible has to say about the complementary nature of men and women, and of the character and purposes of marriage,” and accused the Church of following popular opinion. 

Last July, the Methodist Church became the largest religious denomination in the UK to permit same-sex marriages. The Church in Wales has opted to bless same-sex marriages too. 

The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church still don’t allow them.

The Attitude May/June issue is out now.