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Church of Scotland votes in favour of permitting ministers to carry out same-sex weddings

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The Church of Scotland Normal Meeting has accepted laws that can enable ministers to conduct homosexual weddings of their church buildings for the primary time. 

Part 2 of The Recognition of Marriage Companies Act (Act I 1977) at present states, “Marriage within the Church of Scotland is solemnised by an ordained minister in a spiritual ceremony whereby, earlier than God, and within the presence of the minister and at the very least two competent witnesses, the events covenant collectively to take one another as husband and spouse so long as they each shall stay, and the minister declares the events to be husband and spouse.”

After draft laws was carried 274 votes in favour to 136 towards, this can now be modified to take away the phrases “husband” and “spouse”.

“Solemnisation of marriage within the Church of Scotland is effected by an ordained minister or deacon in a spiritual ceremony whereby, earlier than God, and within the presence of the minister or deacon and at the very least two competent witnesses, the events covenant collectively to take one another in marriage so long as they each shall stay, and the minister or deacon declares the events to be married,” it can learn. 

A report back to the 2022 Normal Meeting revealed that 29 presbyteries already gave their backing to the laws.

Twelve have been opposed, together with two unnamed presbyteries who voted towards the adjustments on the premise that “what’s being proposed is opposite to scriptural instructing and would trigger additional division inside the Church of Scotland”.

Below the phrases of the overture accepted on Monday, ministers must register to grow to be same-sex wedding ceremony celebrants and renew their licence each three years.

New liturgy will now be drawn up to be used in same-sex marriage ceremonies, and the Authorized Questions Committee will put together steering to accompany the adjustments to Kirk legislation.

The laws states that no minister will be compelled to carry out a same-sex wedding ceremony or be concerned within the preparations towards their will.

Ministers wishing to carry out a same-sex wedding ceremony should additionally “take account of the peace and unity and pastoral wants of the congregation and of any parish or different grouping of which it’s a half”.

Through the debate, supporters of the overture stated that the established order was inflicting harm to LGBT Christians who’ve been unable to wed in church and that the Church was “making folks unwelcome”.

Rev Scott Rennie, who’s in a same-sex marriage, stated he “couldn’t be a minister of this Church” with out the love and help of his husband.

Plenty of Normal Meeting members spoke out towards the overture, with some elevating issues about the potential for civil motion being introduced towards ministers who refuse to carry out same-sex weddings.

Laura Dunlop QC, Procurator to the Normal Meeting of the Church of Scotland, stated that “adequate” protections have been constructed into the laws. 

Rev Phil Gunn, minister of Rosskeen Parish Church in Alness, in Ross and Cromarty, stated that the laws was “not biblical”. 

In passing the overture, he stated that the Church of Scotland was “stating loud and clear that the Bible, God’s phrase, is not our authority, that it is OK for us to choose and select what we like and ignore the remainder, that it’s OK for us to rewrite Scripture in order that it appears to be like good within the eyes of a society that already thinks we’re hypocrites”.

He stated that whereas the Church of Scotland was referred to as to like others, “that doesn’t imply we’re to evolve to the methods of society and the world.”

The Normal Meeting will take into account the laws in additional element on Wednesday. 

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