In a momentous step forward for the LGBT community, the UK’s first ever same-sex church service has just taken place.
Lovebirds Peter Matthews and Alistair Dinnie tied the knot at St Johns Church in Edinburgh, which is part of the liberal Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC).
This historic occasion was made possible after canon law was amended in June, making the SEC the very first branch of the Anglican faith to permit same sex church marriages.
In an enormous step forward, SEC members cast a vote to take away the outdated doctrinal clause asserting marriage is a union between ‘one man and one woman’.
Instead, the clause will state clergy who do not want to administer same-sex weddings will not have to do so.
To the joy of equal rights campaigners, further same-sex marriage ceremonies are now expected to take place in Glasgow and Moray.
— Victoria Stock (@vcestock) August 19, 2017
Speaking with The Times, the rector at St John’s, Rev Markus Dunzkofer, made the following statement:
I have blessed marriages in other Anglican provinces and always had to stop short of the vows.
It felt like something was cut off, like something wasn’t right.
Finally being able to do the whole thing felt like the fulfillment of where the spirit had been telling us to get to. It completely made sense, it all came together.
— St John's Choir (@stjohnschoir) September 17, 2017
However, it’s not all good news and there are likely to be ‘consequences’ for the SEC by the Anglican Communion once Anglican leaders respond next week after a five day discussion in Canterbury.
Secretary General of the Anglican Union, Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, has spoken out against the SEC’s decision to update the clause:
There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican communion, but this puts the Scottish Episcopal church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman.
This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage.
It is highly likely the SEC will now be restricted from making decisions regarding church policy or teaching for the next three years. They may also be prevented from sending representatives to interfaith discussions.
US Episcopal Church vows to embrace LGBT people despite Anglican ‘punishment’ https://t.co/htvdVSb0lI
— Jide Macaulay (@RevJide) January 19, 2016
Only last year, the US Episcopal church received similar punishment after openly supporting LGBT equality and the Anglican church in Canada is also soon expected to embrace LGBT marriage within the church – clearly the tides are changing as some branches of Christianity fight to move with the times.
Hopefully such sanctions would not deter other branches from taking the stand and supporting same-sex marriage, however this motion is likely to create yet more of a divide between liberal and traditional branches of the Anglican church.
According to Giles Goddard, chair of The Human Sexuality Group, this motion signifies seismic changes within the church:
The status quo is no longer an option – people are deeply concerned about the impact of our mission to the nation of the church’s current stance towards LGBTI people.
Best of luck to this brand new happy couple, who are now enjoying their honeymoon.