Deadlock in key vote as Anglican bishops block Tory statement on marriage
A motion to affirm traditional marriage passed in two of the three Anglican General Synod (GS) houses held on the Gold Coast, but was blocked in the Bishops’ house.
In the laity (of the Lower House) – the vote was 63-47 and in the clergy 70-39, but the motion failed in the House of Bishops 10-12.
When the vote was announced, Kanishka Raffel, Archbishop of Sydney, said: “I have had people approach me saying they will leave the synod. I urged them not to.
Raffel recounted the moves of Canadian, American and New Zealand Anglicans to leave when same-sex blessings were approved in their churches.
“Failing to make these affirmations today has left us in a perilous situation,” he said.
The GS voted on whether to make a statement on gay marriage proposed by Raffel. The statement says that marriage between a man and a woman is the only form of marriage taught by Jesus and that the blessing of same-sex civil marriages is also contrary to the teaching of Christ. (The full statement is at the bottom of this story.)
The GS responds to actions by the Church’s Court of Appeals – its highest legal body – which ruled last year that blessing same-sex civil marriages is not contrary to the Church’s constitution, narrowing the vision from the doctrine of the constitution to questions relating to salvation.
During the debate, the Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier wished there had been a select panel to hammer out a compromise “which would receive an amen”.
Bishop Rod Chiswell (Armidale) said he is being brought to justice and the exemptions from the Sex Discrimination Act that his case can rely on require a statement of doctrine.
Archdeacon Tiffanny Sparkes (diocese of Grafton) highlighted Eternityof yesterday’s debate report to suggest that there is a complementary theology behind the statement.
The declaration will not prevent dioceses wishing to bless same-sex civil marriages from doing so.
Dean Peter Catt (Brisbane) reminded the SG that amendments suggesting that the understanding of marriage had evolved and used words like ‘currently’ and ‘traditionally’ to capture this idea, had been lost.
The declaration will not prevent dioceses wishing to bless same-sex civil marriages from doing so. Same-sex marriage itself is not legal in the Anglican Church.
Bishop Mark Short (Canberra-Goulburn) “It is because I support this inclusion of women at all levels of ordained ministry that I support this statement.”
Bishop Garry Weatherill (Ballarat) “The Synod of Ballarat urged me, by a vote of 85%, to act on human sexuality. I refused to do so for the good of the Church. My episcopal office remained open to discussion. I want to urge a similar person to leave the doors ajar in this difficult situation so that we can continue the discussion.
“Since 2020, there have been two same-sex marriage blessings in our Church. Not a tsunami.
Craig Roberts (Sydney) “I urge you to support this motion as a member of the clergy and as a father of an adult child with same-sex attraction.”
In response, Archbishop Raffel (Sydney) said that “the GS has made much the same statement, but in light of the change in the Marriage Act and the decision of the Court of Appeal, it must be done If this statement does not pass through every house, there is something wrong.
“In accordance with the authority recognized in Articles 4 and 26 of the constitution to make pronouncements concerning the faith, ritual, ceremonial, or discipline of this Church, and in accordance with the procedures set forth in Rule V, the General Synod by present states:
1. The faith, ritual, ceremonial and discipline of this Church reflect and sustain marriage as ordained from the beginning, being the exclusive union of one man and one woman resulting from mutual promises fidelity for life, which is in accordance with the teaching of Christ that “from the beginning the Creator made them male and female”, and in marriage, “a man will leave his father and his mother and will cleave to his woman, and the two will become one flesh” (Matt 19:4-5).
2. In 2004 (Resolutions 62/04, 63/04), the General Synod “did not tolerate the liturgical blessing of homosexual relations” nor “the ordination of persons engaged in homosexual relations”, recognizing that the two issues were subject to ‘ongoing debate in this Church and that we all have an obligation to listen to each other with respect.
3. In 2017, the Commonwealth Parliament amended the definition of ‘marriage’ in the Marriage Act (1961) to mean ‘a union of 2 persons to the exclusion of all others, entered into voluntarily for life, thus making lawful the marriage of two persons”. of the same sex and presenting this Church in a profoundly modified missionary and pastoral context.
4. The celebration of a marriage between a same-sex couple is contrary to the teaching of Christ and to the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church.
5. Any rite or ceremony that purports to bless a same-sex marriage is not in accordance with the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church. ”
In earlier discussions, the GS appreciated funding for defense force chaplains, but noted a shortage of Anglican ministers taking on these roles.