Church of Scotland to allow same-sex marriage following historic vote

Same-sex marriage has been legal in the country since 2014, but conducting weddings has not been permitted in the Church of Scotland until now.

Same-sex couple holding hands as the Church of Scotland approved gay marriages.
Image: Pexels

On Monday, May 23, the Church of Scotland historically voted to allow same-sex marriage in its institutions. The new law does not require any unwilling member of the church to conduct the weddings, but those who wish to do so can now opt-in to a new scheme and be authorised celebrants of queer ceremonies.

The proposal was approved by 274 votes in favour to 136 against at the 2022 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. At the meeting in Edinburgh, Rev Scott Rennie, who in 2009 became the church’s first openly gay clergyman to have his appointment approved despite protest from members in the Kirk, expressed: “I want to say that marriage is a wonderful thing. My marriage to my husband Dave nurtures my life and my ministry.

“Frankly, I couldn’t be a minister without his love and support. It is much the same as opposite-sex marriage in its joys and its glories.”

Speaking on the significance of the moment, Reverend Craig Dobney told the Evening Standard: “I’ve seen the heartbreak of those in same-sex relationships in our congregations who are unable to marry in their home church, devout Christians though they are.

“To be married, in front of their church families, would mean everything to them but they were not able to do so.”

Former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Ruth Davidson, who is also openly gay, tweeted her delight at the news.

“Thanks to those who have shown grace and care as the church edged closer and closer to this point,” she wrote.

Former Scottish Labour lead Kezia Dugdale similarly said that it was “tremendous news and progress.”

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Scotland since 2014, in line with the rest of the UK. The Church of Scotland is just the latest religious group and largest in the UK to approve the conduction of queer weddings in its institutions following the likes of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Unitarians, and the Quakers.

Elsewhere in the UK, The Church in Wales does not permit same-sex marriages but does allow blessings of queer unions following a vote in September 2021. The Church of England has no recognition of same-sex couples, despite a majority of English Anglicans now backing the marriages.

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