Illuminated altar of the Holy
Trinity Anglican Church in Toronto. (Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty)
The Anglican church of Canada voted against approving same-sex marriage at its general assembly, or synod, on Friday (July 12), in a decision that hung on a single vote.
The motion would have changed the language in the church’s marriage canon so that marriage would not longer be defined as only between a man and a woman.
In order to pass a motion, the church requires two rounds of voting, the first of which on the marriage canon was held three years ago and passed, but the second on Friday failed.
To pass a vote, there must be at least a two thirds majority in three different groups – laypeople, clergy and bishops.
According to CBC, there was 81 percent approval among laypeople and 75 percent among clergy, but 63 percent of bishops were in favour, just below the 66 percent requirement. This means that the motion was rejected on the vote of one bishop.
Bishop Andrew Asbil wrote on Facebook on Saturday July 13: “I know that this is devastating news to our LGBTQ+ community, families and friends.
“I share in that sense of devastation, knowing that this decision comes after decades of ongoing discussion, prayer and the courageous sharing of experience from the LGBTQ+ community.
“I had hoped that our Church was in a different place and would arrive at a different decision. I assure all of our LGBTQ+ siblings – beloved children of God – of my love and support.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury previously said that the divide on LGBT+ issues in the Anglican church was “irreconcilable”
The church did pass a motion at the synod to say that each individual diocese would be able to choose whether or not to perform same-sex marriages.
The Anglican church of Canada’s director of communications, Meghan Kilty, told CBC that some churches had been performing same-sex marriages since the first round of voting on the issue in 2016, and said that there was “a lot of grief right now among the delegates.”
Two years ago the Archbishop of Canterbury said the Anglican church’s global divide on LGBT+ issues was “irreconcilable.”