The BBC reported, and the Kirk subsequently confirmed, that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to allow congregations to ordain or induct ministers who are in same-sex civil partnerships: commissioners voted 309 in favour and 183 against. The issue has been the subject of several debates, both within the General Assembly and in the wider Church; and at the Assembly in 2014 the issue was sent down to the 45 presbyteries under the terms of the Barrier Act. The presbyteries voted 31 to 14 in favour of change. The co-ordinator of the Principal Clerk’s office, the Very Revd David Arnott, said:
“The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decided today to allow individual Kirk Sessions the possibility of allowing a Nominating Committee to consider an application from a minister living in a civil partnership. During a vacancy a Kirk Session may, but only if it so wishes, and after due deliberation, agree to a Nominating Committee accepting an application from such a minister. No Kirk Session may be coerced into doing so against its own wishes. This decision was in line with a majority of presbyteries who voted in favour of such a move.”
A further vote will be held later this week on whether or not to extend ordination/induction to ministers in same-sex marriages.