Peter Matthews and Alistair Dinnie have made history by being the first UK same-sex couple to get married in a church.
The couple was married in St. John Church in Edinburgh, a church run by the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC). This historic moment arrived three years after the law on same-sex marriages was passed. One of the first couples to get married was Susan and Derrie Douglas Scott. Their wedding was performed in December 2014 in Glasgow but was not in a church building.
This move by St. John’s Church is sure to have consequences. The decision to perform the wedding has been viewed as a contradiction with what the majority of the Anglican Churches believe. The belief held by this Christian movement, known to be the third largest, is that marriage entails “a union of one man and one woman.”
The SEC members voted to change this clause to exempt clergy who will not be comfortable presiding over these marriages. The Global Anglican Church leaders are yet to lay down the consequences for the church in a meeting later on in the year. The decision to be made at Canterbury is expected to include the exclusion of the church from policymaking as well as barring them from membership of Anglican bodies. The consequences are expected to be linked with the church’s shift from the Anglican teaching on marriage.
Rev Markus Dunzkofer, from St. John’s, and Rev Kevin Holdsworth, from St. Mary’s Cathedral would like the Primates’ Meeting to have a different effect on the church. They believe the move by St. John’s Church should be a model for their entire community rather than a reason for sanction.
Rev Markus went on to say, “Finally being able to do the whole thing felt like the fulfillment of where the spirit had been telling us to get to. It completely made sense, it all came together,” alluding to the fact that he was able to lead the couple through their vows.
While Matthews and Dinnie are on their honeymoon, it is expected the Scottish church in Edinburgh is up for a rough patch.