The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod voted on Thursday to allow its clergy to solemnise marriages for same-sex couples in church. After two hours of respectful and emotional debate in St Paul’s and St George’s, Edinburgh, the Synod gave final approval to a revised Canon 31 on the solemnisation of holy matrimony.
The first two clauses of Canon 31 — containing the doctrinal statement that marriage is to be understood as a “physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman” — were deleted, and replaced with a single conscience clause to ensure that no cleric would be obliged to officiate against his or her conscience.
A special majority of two-thirds was required in each House for the second and final reading to be passed, and the Synod agreed (Motion 4) to conduct the vote by ballot. A two-thirds majority was obtained in all three Houses: Bishops 4 to 1; Clergy 42 to 20; and Laity 50 to 12.