Church of Scotland: same-sex marriages

A Press Release was issued by The Church of Scotland following the approval of General Assembly of the scheme to conduct same-sex marriage; extracts are reproduced below.

General Assembly approves scheme to conduct same-sex marriages

23 May 2022

An historic vote has taken place which will allow Church of Scotland ministers and deacons to marry same-sex couples.

The General Assembly voted to change a standing church law to allow the right to apply to become an authorised celebrant to conduct same-sex ceremonies by 274 votes to 136.

The decision, which would enable ministers and deacons to opt-in to a new scheme, came after a majority of presbyteries – 29-12 – approved the “Solemnisation of Same Sex Marriage Overture”.

A report to the General Assembly makes it clear that no person would be required to participate in the solemnisation of, or be involved in the arrangements for, a same sex marriage unless they explicitly wished to do so.


Under the terms of the legislation, an individual would have to apply to the Principal Clerk’s office to become a celebrant and an application would then be made to the Registrar General for Scotland on their behalf.

The Principal Clerk would maintain an up to date record of celebrants and they would be personally responsible for renewing their status every three years.

Only a parish minister who has become a celebrant will be permitted the use of a church building in their charge for the solemnisation of same sex marriages.

They would be able to grant consent to other celebrants to use the building for this purpose, however.

The issue sparked a lively debate among ministers and elders on both sides of the argument.


The Church’s Legal Questions Committee is producing guidance to accompany the amended Church law.

It will be prepared in consultation with the Faith Nurture Forum and the Theological Forum and issued to presbytery clerks and posted online this summer to assist in the practical operation of the revised Act’s provisions.

The Faith Nurture Forum will produce a suggested liturgy for celebrants to use to bless same-sex marriages.

Earlier material

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Church of Scotland: same-sex marriages" in Law & Religion UK, 23 May 2022,


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