In agreeing to debate the options for canonical change, the church made it clear that it has rejected the status quo on marriage. However, it considered three key options on how to proceed: for the Canon to be silent on the question of doctrine of marriage, for a gender-neutral definition of marriage, or for two expressions of marriage ”“ “one that it is between two people of the opposite sex and one that it is between two people irrespective of gender”. The Synod also considered a “conscience clause”, to potentially preclude clerics from any obligation to solemnise a marriage against their consciences.
The Very Rev Kelvin Holdworth, the openly gay Rector of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, stated: “if we are going to build a church in which everyone can thrive”¦we don’t settle on a definition of marriage that some people can’t agree with. Are there really only two definitions of marriage in this room? It isn’t something that you can define”¦that’s the end of the story”¦it’s lived, not defined. What I would like is a statement from the church that affirms the lives of people like me, as a gay man.
“I ask you to vote for a church where we do not try to define what each other believes about marriage.”
The Synod passed the motion with a significant majority in favour of change, and also supported the adoption of a conscience clause.