The main business at this year’s Diocesan Synod, held in Dumfries on March 3, was the proposal to delete from the church’s Canon 31 on marriage the stipulation that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
In his ‘charge’ to the Synod, read in his absence through illness, Bishop Gregor Duncan said: “I could not be Bishop to my clergy in any meaningful sense if I did not honour, value and respect the contribution clergy who are gay make.
“Nevertheless … I cannot find it in my heart or mind, however hard I try … to describe or think of same-sex relationships as marriage. Neither the law of Scotland, nor anything in scripture, tradition or reason persuades me to depart from what Canon 31.1 still says about marriage.”
In the debate which followed, three people spoke against changing the Canon: Rev Sydney Maitland and Ian Ansdell from All Saints, and Rev Martin Ayres from St Silas, Woodlands.
However, Synod voted 59-33 to change the Canon. The matter now goes for final consideration to the General Synod in Edinburgh in June, with a two-thirds majority required in favour of change.