Church of Scotland to consider gay marriages.
A historic step towards allowing the first gay marriages in the Church of Scotland is expected to be taken at the General Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland next week but it could still be years before such ceremonies take place.
While the sanctity of marriage will be debated the Kirk earlier claimed its move towards greater acceptance of gay marriage would not compromise the Church’s traditional view of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
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.
“But also it’s going to be asking our legal questions committee to see what the issues are around about allowing ministers to performasame-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.”
There might be less opposition at the annual gathering of the estimated 730 senior church figures when the landmark debate on how to greater accept gay marriage within the Kirk than expected. Nevertheless, the ministers with a more traditionalist approach would be looking for some clarification how this would be implemented.
It is very possible that church ministers will not be able to solemnise same-sex marriages themselves for up to six years at the current trajectory.
The Scottish Episcopal Church, part of Aanglican tradition, is also expected to approve same-sex marriage when its General Synod meets later this year.
However, it is expected that the proposals will affirm that nominated ministers and deacons could be granted authority to preside over gay weddings provided there are protections for the “conscientious refusal” of clergy who do not wish to officiate them.
Nevertheless, some of the more conservative Church members and ministers are still concerned that they may end up being forced to preside over such ceremonies sosometimen the future.