Scots church to examine gay marriage

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The Independent Online
PLANS FOR a special same-sex ceremony to enable lesbians and gays to get married in church will be discussed by the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The proposals will be examined at a series of congregational meetings organised by the Church's liturgy committee. If they are accepted, the Scottish Episcopal Church would become the first mainstream church to sanction gay weddings.

Some Episcopalian ministers have already gone against official church law by conducting gay blessings. The Church's leader, Bishop Richard Holloway, believes a change in the rules is now inevitable.

"I definitely think it will happen one day but we are still a long way from it at the moment," he said. "We have a body in the Scottish Episcopal Church, called the liturgy committee, that puts different services together and this is one thing that they have started to think about.

"Clearly Ian Paton, who is the convener of the committee, has been working on same-sex blessings and what these kinds of services might be like but we are not there yet."

At the congregational meetings church members will discuss the issue of same-sex blessings, but it will be up to the Bishops and the General Synod to give the go-ahead.

Father Ian Paton, of Old St Paul's Church, in Edinburgh, said: "As we will be talking about marriage services at these special liturgy study days I am sure that same-sex blessings will be brought up, especially after what was said at the Lambeth conference. It is something that people feel very strongly about.But at the end of the day we would need to be asked by the Bishops and the General Synod before we look at a special ceremony."

The general feeling among Scottish Episcopalian priests is that gay blessings will be sanctioned eventually.

Father Robert Haslam, of St Columbus Church, in Clydebank, said: "It is right to have same-sex blessings. Given our views on sexuality, gays ought to be treated equally and there would be a lot of people within the Church who would be in favour of making this official. People have got to stick their necks out, that is the only way to get social reform."