A motion to confirm the traditional marriage has been passed in two of the three houses of the Anglican General Synod (GS) held on the Gold Coast but has been blocked in the house of the bishops.
In the (Lower House) Laity – 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’ve had people approach me saying they’re going to leave Synod. I’ve urged them not to.”
Raffel talked about the steps Canadian, American, and New Zealand Anglicans took to leave as homosexual blessings were approved in their churches.
“Failing to make these confirmations has put us in a predicament,” he said.
The GS voted on whether or not to make a statement about same-sex marriage prompted by Raffel. The report says that marriage between a man and a woman is the only form of marriage taught by Jesus and that the blessing of civil marriages between persons of the same sex is also contrary to the teachings of Christ. (The entire statement is at the foot of this story.)
The GS is responding to the actions of the Church’s Appeal Tribunal – the highest judicial body – which ruled last year that blessing same-sex civil marriage does not violate the Church’s Constitution, undermining the Church’s view. Figure on doctrine is limited to matters about salvation.
In the debate, Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier wished there had been a select panel to devise a compromise “that would get an amen”.
Bishop Rod Chiswell (Armidale) said he is being sued and that the exceptions in the Sex Discrimination Act on which his case can be based require a doctrine.
Archdeacon Tiffanny Sparkes (Diocese of Grafton) pointed to Eternity’s account of yesterday’s debate to suggest that there is a complementary theology behind the statement.
The statement does not stop dioceses from blessing the same-sex civil marriage.
Dean Peter Catt (Brisbane) reminded the GS that amendments suggesting that the concept of marriage has evolved, using words like “current” and “traditional” to capture that thought had been lost.
The statement does not stop dioceses from blessing the same-sex civil marriage. Same-sex marriage itself is not legal in the Anglican Church.
Bishop Mark Short (Canberra-Goulburn) “It is because I support the inclusion of women in every level of ordained ministry that I support this statement.”
Bishop Garry Weatherill (Ballarat) “The Ballarat Synod urged me by 85 percent to take action against human sexuality. I refused to do this for the good of the Church. My episcopal office was kept ajar for discussion. In this difficult situation, I urge that a similar door be left ajar to continue the discussion.”
“Since 2020, our Church has had two blessings of same-sex marriage. No tsunami.”
In response, Archbishop Raffel (Sydney) said, “The GS has made essentially the same statement, but in light of the change in the marriage certificate and the decision of the Tribunal, it must be made. , is there something wrong.”
“By the authority recognized in s. four and s.26 of the Constitution to make statements regarding the faith, ritual, ceremonial or discipline of this Church, and by the procedures outlined in Article V, the General Synod at this moment states:
1. The faith, ritual, ceremony, and discipline of this Church reflect and sustain marriage as it was instituted from the beginning, being the exclusive union of one man and one woman arising from mutual promises of lifelong fidelity by Christ’s teaching that “from the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” In marriage, “a man shall leave his father and mother, and be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matt. 19:4 -5).
2. In 2004 (Resolutions 62/04, 63/04), the General Synod did not approve “the liturgical blessing of same-sex relations” nor “the ordination of people into consecrated same-sex relations”, recognizing that both matters have been subject to ‘continuous debate in this Church and that we all must listen to one another with respect.
3. In 2017, the Commonwealth Parliament changed the definition of ‘marriage’ in the Marriage Act (1961) to ‘the union of 2 persons to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily contracted for life, whereby the marriage of two persons has become lawful’ of the same sex and to offer this Church a profoundly changed missionary and pastoral context.
4. The solemnization of same-sex marriage is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremony, and discipline of this Church.
5. Any rite or ceremony intended to bless a same-sex marriage is not by the teachings of Christ and the faith, ritual, tradition, and discipline of this Church.
In previous discussions, the GS appreciated funding for defense force chaplains but noted a shortage of Anglican ministers to assume these functions.