Canada: Marriage vote failure ripples through church

Sep 5, 2019 by

by Matt Gardner, Anglican Journal:

General Synod’s failure to pass a resolution to amend the marriage canon to expressly allow solemnization of same-sex marriage, followed by a communiqué from the House of Bishops effectively commending diocesan-based decisions on the matter, has triggered a wave of responses across the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishops, clergy, laity, officers and deacons alike have weighed in with concerns about the decision. Some bishops, including then-Primate-elect Linda Nicholls in her capacity as bishop of Huron, have outlined plans to exercise a “local option” for same sex marriage in their dioceses. 

Resolution A052-R2, for the second reading of an amendment to Canon XXI on marriage in the church, failed to achieve a required two-thirds majority vote in all three orders of General Synod. While two-thirds of the Order of Laity (80.9%) and Order of Clergy (73.2%) voted in favour of the resolution, less than two-thirds (62.2%) voted in favour in the Order of Bishops. 

The final breakdown of the vote, which took place on July 12 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, was as follows: The Order of Laity saw 89 members (80.9%) vote Yes and 21 members (19.1%) vote No, with one abstention. The Order of Clergy had 60 members (73.2%) voting Yes, 22 members (26.8%) voting No, and two abstentions. In the Order of Bishops, 23 members (62.2%) voted Yes and 14 members (37.8%) voted No, with two abstentions. 

In statements released after the vote, multiple dioceses declared their intention to perform same-sex marriages regardless of the marriage canon votebasing their decisions on General Synod’s approval of the document A Word to the Church, which affirms “diverse understandings of the existing marriage canon” and that “the existing canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.” 

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