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Anglican Church vote to approve same-sex marriage fails to pass

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2019-07-13 Maryse Zeidler

Some delegates were visibly upset when the motion to change the Anglican Church of Canada's marriage canon wasn't passed on Friday night. © Anglican Church of Canada Some delegates were visibly upset when the motion to change the Anglican Church of Canada's marriage canon wasn't passed on Friday night. An Anglican Church of Canada vote to approve same-sex marriage failed to pass at its general assembly in Vancouver on Friday night. 

The motion would have amended the church's marriage canon to remove references to the sacrament being a union between a man and a woman — effectively allowing same-sex marriage.

The motion had to be approved through two rounds of votes. The first vote took place three years ago at the church's last general assembly, called a synod, in Richmond Hill, Ont., and the second reading was held late Friday evening.

Church rules require motions to be passed by a two-thirds majority from its three groups of delegates: the laity, clergy and bishops. On Friday, the requirement for the motion did not meet the threshold among the bishops.

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Lay voters and members of the clergy were more than two-thirds in favour of the motion.

Meghan Kilty, the church's director of communications, says the vote has prompted strong reactions from many members and clergy.

"There's a lot of grief right now among the delegates," she said over the phone Saturday morning.

Kilty says many dioceses have been performing same-sex marriages since the 2016 vote. For example, she says, Toronto bishop Kevin Robertson was married to his husband in 2018 at St. James Cathedral. 

Many intend to continue performing same-sex marriages, Kilty says, as there is still debate as to whether the church specifically prohibits it or not.

The church did pass a resolution to recognize that each diocese may respond to the issue of same-sex marriage in a way that best suits its theological understanding and practice.

Kilty says she expects the matter will continue to be debated throughout the synod, which lasts until Tuesday. 

Many of the church's dioceses have posted messages on social media acknowledging how devastating the results of the vote were to many of its members. 

The issue of gay rights and same sex marriage has divided the Anglican church around the world.

Also on Friday, the leader of the Anglican Church of Canada apologized for its "cultural and spiritual arrogance" that caused harm to Indigenous Peoples. 

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