So, let me get this right…

Let me be sure I’ve understood this.

From sometime next year or the year after, a gay couple will be able to get a Civil Partnership, then come to a Scottish Episcopal Church for a blessing from a Scottish Episcopal priest, make promises to one another, exchange rings, have them blessed, sing hymns and have a Eucharist celebrating their union. And then they will be able to convert it to a marriage soon after (what a day later?) by filling in a form and paying a small fee. Or maybe they will not even need to go through the Civil Partnership bit and just be able to come for the whole blessing thing after getting married.

And that’s going to be OK with just about everyone. Admittedly not absolutely everyone but not far off.

And we are now currently insisting in submissions to the Scottish Government that the same Scottish Episcopal Church is opposed by virtue of our doctrine to same-sex couples getting married.

And we expect government (and the general population) to take us seriously.

Have I understood that correctly?


  1. I think you have understood if correctly (or at least as fully as it can be understood).

    This just shows how confused the church has become, or how keen it is to tie itself into the proverbial knots to appease both progressives and traditionalists.

    Either way, this position is both absurd and intellectually unsustainable.

  2. Kelvin can I ask what submissions you are referring to, is there a new one?

  3. Joan H Craig says

    I think that, once marriage law is passed, current civil partnerships can convert to marriage by filling form, etc. Don’t think they said what happens if the couple want a religious marriage – or did I miss that?
    If our churches persist in saying no to marriage, wouldn’t it be better to do the blessing after they’ve converted their civil status – as in some countries where every marriage is a civil ceremony, and any religious service is done afterwards
    I hope everyone has completed the most recent consultation paper

  4. I think that the church wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants everyone to be happy, and this is probably the best way that it knows to do this.

    Is it ridiculous? Of course.

  5. There is to be a new one. I’ve not seen it. I understand that the position that the Faith and Order Board is holding to is that “church teaching” is what Canon 31 says – that and nothing else and therefore we are doctrinally against change.

    Is that not the case?

    • So far as I understand it, the SEC has not moved in its position since the first response at all.

      The first response included this:
      Question 10: Do you agree that the law in Scotland should be changed to allow same sex marriage?
      The Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church (Canon 31) state that the doctrine of the Church is that marriage is ‘a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart, mind and will thereto, and as a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God’. In the light of that Canon, there is no current basis for agreeing that the law should be changed to view marriage as possible between two people of the same sex.

    • The SEC’s last response was in line with what the current law was, indeed still is, this consultation asks a very different question. To which the answer ‘well it isn’t legal, so we can’t say’, (I paraphrase) can’t be the answer this time, can it?
      Of course Canon 31 also states it is a “lifelong estate” but had clause 4 added at a later date to allow for divorce and remarriage.

  6. Rev David Coleman says

    I was watching the evidence to the Westminster parliamentary committees the other day. In all these things, even from churches which are prepared to be tentatively in favour, or declining to be opposed, what is missing from all the evidence is the human experience of joy and delight that actually characterises a true and good wedding, of any combination of partners. How can we get across the compelling and converting happiness when processes take the form they do?

  7. Rosemary Hannah says

    Is there any way of getting hold of the board – of ordinary church members getting hold of it and making it listen?? I mean I know my approach tends to lack in subtlety what it makes up for in directness, but then, well, it is very direct.

  8. Rosemary, of all the many beautiful sentences you have written, that is the very very best.

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