Belfast Telegraph

Episcopalian move on gay weddings rapped

By Alf McCreary

The decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church to allow same-sex couples to be married in church has "deeply and profoundly saddened" the Presbyterian Church of Ireland.

A proposal to amend canon law to permit clerics to conduct weddings for gay couples was backed yesterday at the church's annual General Synod in Edinburgh - making it the first branch of the Anglican faith in the UK to allow same-sex marriage.

However, it puts the Church at odds with the majority stance within the Anglican communion and other Christian churches.

A spokesman for the Church of Ireland said it "continues to uphold its teaching that marriage is the union between one man and one woman".

A spokesman for the Presbyterian Church added that many of its members "will be deeply and profoundly saddened at the decision by the Episcopal Church of Scotland, which departs from the clear teaching of Scripture that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Presbyterian Church affirms this clear position".

The Methodist Church said in a statement that "our Church would not be in sympathy with the decision of the Scottish Episcopalians but that is a matter for them. We hold the traditional view that marriage is the union between a man and a woman".

Fr Patrick McCafferty of the Catholic Church said: "The Church does not have the authority to alter the nature of Christian marriage as revealed by God. Marriage, as revealed by God, will only and can only ever be between a man and a woman."

Former Church of Ireland Gazette editor Canon Ian Ellis said the decision "could make for a difficult time ahead for Scottish Episcopalians".

He added: "While the Scottish Episcopal Church has taken this step, I don't see the Church of England or the Church of Ireland taking the same approach.

"I take the traditional view of marriage but I do think that the Church has to respect the love and care between same-sex couples in committed relationships who in conscience differ from the Church's teaching. I would not want to see such churchgoing couples being barred from Holy Communion."

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