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Splitting over uniting

['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']
['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']

Frankly Speaking

How is something that is supposed to bring people together capable of so harshly driving people apart? That's the question I'm left pondering following the recent vote by the Anglican Church of Canada regarding same-sex marriages.

Under the laws of the Church, a change to the Canons or rules of the Church require a super majority in each of the three groups of voters at two consecutive gatherings of the Church's Synod. In other words, a change must pass through six votes before being adopted. The proposal to amend the laws to permit same-sex marriages within the church passed five of those votes, and only narrowly failed the sixth. So, the rules regarding marriage in the church will not be changed.

However, under the same rules of the church, same sex marriages may be approved under a “local option” which permits Bishops to determine what is appropriate within their own Diocese. The Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and P.E.I. has indicated he will permit same sex marriages in this diocese. Other bishops have indicated they will not take the same action.

It all seems to me that the church has needlessly created a lot of hurt and bitterness. Same sex marriage may not be the law of the church, but it is still permitted. Legit if not legal!

The ruling has got me thinking again about the whole matter of marriage within the church.

a clergy person, all the legal documents required for marriage, license, and so on, were government documents, not church ones. The church might record the marriage, but the state registers it.

I firmly believe it is time for the church to get out of the marriage business all together. Let the church have their ritual for the blessing of any marriage they deem appropriate to bless, but let the state officiate at the marriage itself.

That would go a long way to avoiding the pains and hurt the recent Anglican vote caused.

Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill.

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