The first gay marriage in an Anglican church in Britain took place this week, a day after Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described the continuing squabbles over same-sex marriage in the worldwide Anglican Communion as “intractable.”
The gay couple, known as “Mark and Rick,” had their order of service posted on Facebook, which told people that they were married on Tuesday (Aug. 1) at a service that included the Eucharist at St John’s Episcopal Church in the centre of Edinburgh. The Rev. Markus Dünzkofer, rector of St. John’s, a church of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion, officiated.
The wedding was “a small intimate occasion,” said Dünzkofer. The couple, he said, were Americans with Scottish connections who had been together 24 years.
“This was not some pretty, fancy occasion,” he said. “They wanted a religious ceremony and they wanted it to be a nuptial Mass.”
In June, the Scottish Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion, announced that it was allowing gay weddings after its synod voted to amend its canon law on marriage. The change was made when the synod agreed the law stating that marriage was between one man and one woman should be removed.
Anglican national churches in Brazil, South Africa, South India, New Zealand and Canada have taken steps toward approving and celebrating same-sex relationships amid strong resistance among other national churches within the 80 million-member global body. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has allowed gay marriage since 2015.
The Scottish vote sparked a backlash from traditionalists in the Global Anglican Future Conference or Gafcon. The group responded by announcing it had appointed a missionary bishop to Scotland to offer alternative leadership for traditionalist Anglicans opposed to the synod’s decision.