Last week, at the General Synod in Edinburgh, it was announced that the Scottish Episcopal Church is to undergo a process of discussing what were referered to as “same-sex issues”.
I’ve written about this before, and no doubt will do so again.
For today though, here are some of the questions that are running around in my mind, most of which I don’t think were asked last week during General Synod and which I don’t think we have any answers to.
- Once the Scottish Parliament has completed its legislative process and marriage for same-sex couples is legal in Scotland, what will be the consequences of a priest blessing such a couple in church. (NB – I can already, in some circumstances, bless couples entering into a Civil Partnership)?
- Will all priests of the Scottish Episcopal Church be subject to the same discipline in this area or will different rules apply in different dioceses?
- Will a member of the clergy who enters a civil marriage with someone of of the same sex have equality of opportunity in the church or will they automatically be ruled out of some appointments? Will there be parity between dioceses in this area and will the bishops have agreed a common policy?
- If the Scottish Government were to subsequently proceed to allowing straight couples the possibility of entering a Civil Partnership, what would be the consequence of a member of the clergy entering a civil partnership and living in church-provided accommodation with their partner? Is that an acceptable moral choice in the church?
- If it is not an acceptable moral church in the church for straight couples to live in a Civil Partnership when they have the opportunity of getting married, what standards apply to same-sex couples who might have a choice much sooner as to whether they live within a civil partnership or get married?
- Is it acceptable for any member of the clergy to live with someone without having a legally binding committment to that person or not?
- Is it acceptable (or even legal) for a bishop to refuse a licence to a priest on the grounds of their marital or partner status?
- Would it be acceptable for a bishop to insist that clergy in same-sex Civil Partnerships should get married to one another once the opportunity arises for them to do so?
- Does the peculiarly Scottish moratorium against bishops attending Civil Partnership ceremonies still apply and does it extend to civil marriage for some clergy and yet not for others?
- Would a bishop support a priest who came to the conclusion that as the church has not made up its mind about who may get married, the right thing to do would be to declare a moratorium on marrying anyone (gay or straight) until the process of discussion about what marriage is had been concluded?
I don’t think that any of these questions is a hypothetical question.
Anyone with more questions or any answers?