Church of Scotland votes on same-sex marriage: updated and corrected

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has agreed in principle to the report of its Theological Forum, An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage. According to the Kirk’s press release, in presenting the report the Forum’s convener, the Very Revd Professor Iain Torrance, said that he and his colleagues could see “no sufficient theological reason for the Church not to authorise specific ministers to officiate at same-sex weddings”, adding that this would be possible “if doing so does not prejudice the position of those who decline to do so for reasons of conscience”.

The Deliverance of the General Assembly is as follows:

“The General Assembly:

1. Receive the Report.

2. Note the Forum’s range of activities and support given to the Church.

3. Recognising the Church’s doctrine and practice in matters of human sexuality and marriage:

a. Receive the report “An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage” as a resource to the Church and commend it as a basis for study and discussion and instruct the Ecumenical Relations Committee to invite comment and feedback from our ecumenical partners and report to the General Assembly of 2018.

b. Invite the Church to take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologise individually and corporately and seek to do better.

c. Instruct the Legal Questions Committee to undertake a study of the matters which would require to be addressed in any new legislation permitting Ministers and Deacons to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies, with a view to presenting a Report to the 2018 General Assembly.

4. Urge the Forum, in consultation with other Councils, to investigate theologically the theme of reconciliation, with particular reference to the divisions within the Church of Scotland, Scottish churches and Scottish society concerning same-sex marriage.”

Note: The text of the Deliverance in yesterday’s post – which was inevitably done in a rush and has now been taken down – was that of the Theological Forum’s proposal, and failed to take account of amendments made by the General Assembly. The corrected text is as above – and thanks to the Very Revd Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, for helpfully pointing that out.

Cite this article as: Frank Cranmer, "Church of Scotland votes on same-sex marriage: updated and corrected" in Law & Religion UK, 26 May 2017,

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