Church of Scotland votes to allow ministers to be in same-sex marriages

General assembly decision allows individual congregations to opt out of church’s traditional view of matrimony

A procession opens the Church of Scotland’s general assembly at the Assembly Hall on the Mound, Edinburgh.
A procession opens the Church of Scotland’s general assembly at the Assembly Hall on the Mound, Edinburgh. Photograph: Andrew O’Brien/Church of Scotlan/PA

The Church of Scotland’s highest law-making body has voted to allow its ministers to be in same-sex marriages.

The church’s general assembly, which opened in Edinburgh on Saturday, voted in favour of extending a law passed last May that permits ministers to be in same-sex civil partnerships.

The decision, after years of deliberation, means the church maintains the traditional view marriage as between a man and woman, but allows individual congregations to “opt out” if they wish to appoint a minister or deacon in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership.

Any wider consideration of the theological understanding of same-sex marriage will not take place until the Theological Forum presents its report to the church next year.

More than 850 commissioners from across Scotland, the rest of the UK, Africa, Asia, North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean registered to attend this year’s assembly, which began with a ceremony at the Assembly Hall attended by Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

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