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Church Of Scotland To Allow Same-Sex Marriage For Clergy, And Clergy Only

The Church says it will maintain its view on "traditional" marriage while allowing clergy members to enter into same-sex marriages.


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The Church of Scotland’s general assembly, the highest law-making body within the church, has voted to allow clergy members to enter into same-sex marriages.

The general assembly’s vote extends a law that was passed in May 2015 that allows for same-sex civil partnerships, passing the vote by 339-215.

Women have been allowed to preach in the Church since 1949, and the first female minister was Mary Levison who was ordained in 1963.

The decision on same-sex marriage comes after years of discussion and deliberation. However, the church says it will maintain its view on “traditional” marriage as between a man and a woman and will not allow clergy members to perform ceremonies for LGBT couples.

John Chalmers, principal clerk to the general assembly, said, “We had a debate which made very clear that we were not interfering with our theological definition of marriage and were not going to the place ministers or deacons could themselves be conducting same-sex marriages. It is an entirely different discussion.”

Under the new guidelines, individual congregations have the option to “opt out” of traditional church teaching if the congregation wants to appoint a member of clergy that is married to someone of the same sex. 

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