In a complex but mainly well-tempered debate the Anglican Church of Australia’s General Synod has passed a motion regarding the recent move by the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to change their canons on marriage.
The motion, passed by houses, noted with regret the SEC’s actions as “contrary to the doctrine of our church and the teaching of Christ” and declared it’s support for all those disenfranchised by their move. It added a prayer that the SEC would return to the doctrine of Christ and that relationships would be restored. The full text of the motion follows:
Scottish Episcopal Church
a) notes with regret that the Scottish Episcopal Church has amended their Canon on Marriage to change the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman by adding a new section that allows clergy to solemnise marriage between same-sex couples as well as couples of the opposite sex;
b) notes with regret that this step is contrary to the doctrine of our Church and the teaching of Christ that, in marriage, “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Matt 19:6); and
c) expresses our support for those Anglicans who have left or will need to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church because of its redefinition of marriage and those who struggle and remain; and
d) prays that the Scottish Episcopal Church will return to the doctrine of Christ in this matter and that impaired relationships will be restored.
The motion passed 60/45 in the laity, 68/42 in the clergy and 12/6.
All the members of the Appellate Tribunal who were present removed themselves from the debate and from the votes. This included the bishops of Wangaratta and Ballarat who may have been expected to vote against the motion.
The Primate, Philip Freier, is expected to attend the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury next month. It remains to be seen how this vote will affect his actions there.