The Church of Scotland’s general assembly has voted to allow those in same-sex marriages or partnerships to be eligible for clergy positions in the Church.
According to The Christian Post, the general assembly voted 339 to 215 in favor of allowing gay ministers.
While the assembly maintains that churches that wish to maintain the traditional view of marriage may do so, they added a provision that made it possible for individual congregations to “opt out” of the Church’s official view of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
"We had a debate which made very clear that we were not interfering with our theological definition of marriage and were not going to the place where ministers or deacons could themselves be conducting same-sex marriages," stated Rev. John Chalmers, principal clerk to the general assembly. "It is an entirely different discussion."
"Today's decision means it will be possible for Kirk sessions and congregations to depart from the traditional understanding of marriage to call not only potentially a minister in a civil partnership but one who is in a same-sex marriage,” he added.
As evidenced by the many votes against the measure, not all were happy with the assembly’s decision.
The Rev. David Robertson, moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, said he was “saddened” by the decision.
"It is a sad day for all the Christian churches in Scotland when what used to be the National Kirk, has now departed so clearly from the Bible," Robertson told The Sunday Telegraph. "In adopting this policy the Church of Scotland has not only dissociated itself from the vast majority of Christian churches throughout the world (Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical) but has lost all claim to be the National Church for Scotland."
It is thought that the Church of Scotland’s decision will have an impact on the Church of England’s stance on gay clergy in the near future.
Publication date: May 23, 2016