Mark and Rick’s marriage is the first in the Scottish Episcopal church, which is part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal church announced in June that it was allowing gay weddings after its synod voted to amend canon law on marriage. It agreed that the doctrine stating that marriage was between one man and one woman should be removed.
The vote sparked a backlash from traditionalists, with the conservative Anglican group Gafcon announcing that it was appointing a missionary bishop, committed to keeping marriage heterosexual, to work in Scotland.
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has struggled to keep the worldwide Anglican Communion together over the issue of same-sex relationships, with many African bishops voicing opposition to gay weddings and to clergy being involved in gay relationships themselves.
Welby visited Africa to highlight the plight of refugees but his trip highlighted divisions over same-sex marriage. During the trip, he spent time with the archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, a leading conservative evangelical, who walked out of a gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year, angered by the west’s liberal attitudes to homosexuality. Ntagali said that he would not return until “godly order” was restored.