Marriage equality: Canadian church has it, will get more

Jamaican activist Maurice Tomlinson, whose same-sex marriage in Canada in 2011 forced him to flee Jamaica to become a Canadian resident, welcomes the acceptance of marriage equality by a large majority of members of the Anglican Church of Canada.

At first, it seemed as though yesterday’s vote to establish full marriage equality throughout the Canadian church had fallen short, but it turned out that the first tally was incorrect. The resolution passed.

Even if it had fallen short, such a high level of acceptance of same-sex marriage is only a distant hope for people in Jamaica and dozens of other countries.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, celebrates the opening Eucharist at the church's recently concluded general meeting. (Photo courtesy of EpiscopalDigitalNetwork.com)
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, celebrates the opening Eucharist at the church’s recently concluded general meeting. (Photo courtesy of EpiscopalDigitalNetwork.com)

I am a PROUD CANADIAN ANGLICAN today. Over 70% of our church voted in favour of marriage-equality last night after a long and sometimes painful debate. Although our voting rules that require a 2/3 majority in each voting house (Bishops, Clergy and Laity) resulted in the motion to amend the marriage cannon [apparently being defeated by a single vote] in the clergy house(?!), the message was abundantly clear: the vast majority of Canadian Anglicans support full equality for LGBTI people.

AND even better, three dioceses (Niagara, Huron and Ottawa) have stated that they will immediately allow same-sex weddings while two others (Toronto and New Westminster – Vancouver) have committed to reviewing this local option. Together, these dioceses have the vast majority of Anglicans in Canada. And so this, to me, is a victory! Love WINS!

The General Synod Chancellor (chief legal officer) ruled some time ago that the existing marriage canon is not gender-specific, and does not prohibit same-sex marriages. The bishops are therefore able to authorise rites in their dioceses for pastoral need, and this is such a need.

The [corrected] vote last night means that the earliest marriage equality can come to the entire Anglican Church in Canada will be in 2019, after the required second vote on the issue at the next triennial General Synod. Now, we have marriage-equality in those dioceses that want to proceed (which was what the vote last night was about anyway)!

Related article:

Related articles before the error was found:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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