Church of Scotland to debate subject of gay ministers


The governing body of the Church of Scotland is to debate the controversial subject of gay ministers today.

The institution's General Assembly will consider whether to allow people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers.

A theological commission was appointed two years ago to produce a report on the issue for the Kirk's annual gathering in Edinburgh.

A Kirk spokesman said: "On one hand the report offers the Church a way of allowing the ordination of ministers in same-sex relationships who have entered into a civil partnership, while protecting both individuals and congregations who in conscience do not agree with the theological principles which underpin that choice.

"On the other hand the report, while reaffirming its belief that homophobia is sinful, invites the Church to reaffirm its traditional stance that the only appropriate expression of sexual activity should be within marriage between one man and one woman."

The report, published last month, does not make any recommendation and leaves the issue open for the members of the General Assembly to decide.

The ordaining of ministers in same-sex relationships has divided the Kirk since traditionalist members attempted to block the appointment of gay Reverend Scott Rennie in 2009.

The Assembly voted in support of Aberdeen-based Mr Rennie but introduced an interim ban on ordaining other gay ministers until a special commission had studied the matter.

The ban was lifted in 2011 when commissioners agreed to consider the subject afresh.

So far two congregations have left the Kirk over the issue - St George's Tron Church in Glasgow and Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen.