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Reports from the Mound

Thomas Baldwin reports on the business debated at this year's General Assembly in Edinburgh in May.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In the end, the two sections of deliverance which had occupied most attention before the General Assembly of 2017 went through almost on the nod.

Photos: Derek Fett Photography

Not that the report of the Theological Forum was not controversial: the debate lasted over three hours and included multiple votes, including one which would have refused to receive the relevant sections of the report altogether (which was defeated by 298 votes to 149).

But when it came to the section inviting the church to ‘take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologise individually and corporately and seek to do better’, it was passed without objection.

The only comment at this point came from elder Ishbel Smith, who said: “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church; and it is our duty to take this deliverance into our churches and consider it, and not to ignore it.”

Similarly, the instruction to the Legal Questions Committee to ‘undertake a study of the matters which would require to be addressed in any new legislation permitting Ministers and Deacons to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies’ passed without comment.

Under a proposal from the Rev Peter Johnston, the sections on same-sex marriage were prefaced ‘recognising the Church’s doctrine and practice in matters of human sexuality and marriage’. Mr Johnston said this offered room for people from the traditionalist position to have their views respected. He also said that he was asking to be in a position to perform the marriage of his gay daughter, in the same way he could his three straight children.

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In this month's issue: 150 Years of Scripture Union and the anniversary celebrations. General Assembly: 10 pages of reports and pictures from the Assembly, Fringe and Heart and Soul. An Offshore Parish: The chaplain to the UK's oil and gas industry.
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