Response to General Synod 2016

Changing Attitude Scotland welcomes wholeheartedly the successful passage of an amended Canon 31 through first reading at the recent General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The proposed amendment removes doctrinal statements about marriage from canon law, recognises the diversity of views that exist on marriage within the Scottish Episcopal Church, and makes explicit the right of all clergy to act in accordance with their conscience.

This vote required a simple majority in each House, and passed with 71% in favour in the House of Bishops, 69% in the House of Clergy, and 80% in the House of Laity (with three abstentions). We have seen the Church expressing an emphatic wish to go forward on a path that will lead to greater equality and greater inclusion.

We are encouraged by the statements of support made of the motion in the Synod debate. We are moved by the generous contributions made to it by those who hold different views. We recognise the enormous amount of work that has taken place to produce something that will enable the whole Church to remain together and walk together in all its glorious diversity. We rejoice and give thanks for the positive step that has been taken and the courage that has been shown.

In this as well as in the other business of General Synod, a message has gone out that the Church looks to act as a model for fellowship and a force for good in the world. In discussions on poverty, on climate change, on the refugee crisis, on gender equality, and on the education of our future church leaders, the Church has consistently expressed the view that it wants to be a place where the door is always open, for everyone.

The amendment to Canon 31 returns to the General Synod of 2017, when it will require a two thirds majority in each House. If passed at that stage we will expect to see the first marriages of same sex couples in the Church in late 2017.

We celebrate the work that has been done. We look forward to the work that now begins.