Marriage and Same Sex Relationships

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted “not to take note” of a Report by the House of Bishops following a moving debate on the report earlier on Wednesday on “Marriage and Same Sex Relationships”.

A take note debate is a neutral motion which allows Synod to discuss the content and recommendations contained in a report without committing the Synod to the formal acceptance of any matter.

The vote required simple majorities in each of the three Synodical Houses; the report failed to obtain that in the House of Clergy.

The House of Bishops voted 43 in favour and 1 against. The House of Clergy voted 93 in favour and 100 against with 2 abstentions. The House of Laity voted 106 in favour and 83 against with 4 abstentions.

With the take note motion now rejected, the Bishops of the Church of England will have to reflect on the views expressed at the General Synod.  The diversity of opinion and strong views expressed will need to be taken into account by the Bishops in their consideration of the discussion going forward.

You can listen to the debate here.  The bishops’ report can be read here. Read a pastoral letter by the Bishop of Southwark here and a joint letter by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York here.