The Scottish Episcopal Church has taken a historical step toward equality.A historical decision was made by Church of Scotland when it decided to apologize for is treatment of gay people. It also took a number of steps to accept marriage between the same sex. This decision was taken by the church's General Assembly as it met on May 25. The church said it would apologize individually and corporately as well.
Marriage between individuals of the same sex has been made legal since the end of 2014. However, just like in England, a majority of churches do not conduct such ceremonies. Since the resolution is now passed, the Church of Scotland is now the maiden Christian denomination in the UK to conduct marriages between lesbian and gay couples.
The Church of Scotland has consented to direct its Legal Questions Committee to understand whether the Church Law could be rewritten so that ministers can conduct same-sex marriages if they want to do so. The church, however, directed the committee to leave untouched the many legal protections enjoyed by Deacons and Ministers who decline to officiate marriages between same-sex individuals. These refusals are done as “matter of conscience.”
The apology recommendation was made by the Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland. It has insisted for due protections to be enjoyed by a conservative clergy if and when they did “conscientious” refusals. Evangelicals are afraid this move will result in all ministers being compelled against their will to solemnize gay weddings, even if it goes against their beliefs.
Much love to Church of Scotland friends as the General Assembly turns its thoughts to same-sex couples and apologies.
— Kelvin Holdsworth (@thurible) May 25, 2017
According to Professor Iain Torrance, the convener of the Theological Forum and a former Church moderator, it should be recognized that the Church is not always successful when it comes to recognizing and protecting the vocation and identity of gay people. He continued to say the church must also acknowledge its faults. He said that there was an idea many years ago that one side of the argument would unilaterally prevail over the other.
Professor Torrance said the idea of one side of the argument trumping its counterpart is now abandoned. The argument nowadays is, as the Forum termed it, as “constrained difference.” It means that multiple approaches can be made to find a viable solution. This chain of thought is near to what Archbishop of Canterbury has termed “mutual flourishing.”