Campaigners welcome Church’s apology for LGBT discrimination


Church of Scotland minister may soon be able to officiate at gay marriages

The Church of Scotland has also opened up discussion about the right of ministers to conduct gay marriages

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26th May 2017 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Equality campaigners have welcomed an apology to gay people from the Church of Scotland for its history of discrimination.

The apology was approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland alongside a report which could pave the way to allow ministers to conduct same sex marriages in future.

The assembly agreed that the church should take stock of its history of discrimination against gay people, at different levels and in different ways, and apologise “individually, corporately and seek to do better.”

The assembly also voted in favour of instructing the Legal Questions Committee to examine whether Church law may be reformed to allow ministers who wish to conduct same sex marriages to do so, without removing the legal protection available for any minister or deacon who refuse to officiate at ceremonies as a matter of conscience.

Tim Hopkins, director of Scotland LGBTI charity the Equality Network said: “We are happy the Church of Scotland has passed this motion.

“We welcome the apology and we know that LGBT people within the church will look forward to continuing the discussion.”

The decisions were taken after three hours of impassioned debate over options presented by the Theological Forum.

Some members on the traditionalist wing of the church claimed the report was "biased" and "one-sided" but their arguments failed to carry opinion.

A majority agreed that the Theological Forum should investigate theologically, the theme of reconciliation to address divisions between churches and wider society.

Presenting the report, Theological Forum convener, Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, said he and his colleagues could see “no sufficient theological reason for the church not to authorise specific ministers to officiate at same-sex weddings”.

The Scottish Secular Society also welcomed the Church of Scotland General Assembly’s approval of an apology to gay people for the past discrimination they have faced in the church.

Megan Crawford, chair of the Scottish Secular Society states: “We are all aware of the church’s horrendous history towards homosexuality. Which is why their latest moves, appointing the first openly gay minister, then allowing their ministers to be in same sex relationships, their apology, and now opening the floor to debate on same-sex marriage is applauded by the Scottish Secular Society.”