In eight days time, I will be in Edinburgh at the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
A significant piece of business that will be done at this Synod will be to vote on proposed changes to Canon 31, the law that governs marriage within the Church.
I am aware that I have been banging on about this for — well, for a very long time now. It is truly my great hope that I will return to the General Synod of 2018 and get up to make a speech about refugee welfare or clergy education or the budget or anything at all that isn’t about marriage, but this is what we’re doing next week.
There is a lot of detail that I could go into about what exactly it is that we’re doing. If your memory does need refreshing, I’d start with the equal marriage tag on this blog.
A few specific starting points:
- A summary of the change that many of us hope will be made
- The results of the first vote, taken last year
- The speech I gave to General Synod 2016
The main thing to say about the proposed change is that this is the vote that, if passed, would make marriage equality a reality in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
The main thing you need to know, though, is that, if passed, this vote will enact something that is written in such a way as to be the thing that will enable the Scottish Episcopal Church to be kept together: all of us. Those of us who are straight and those of us who are LGBTQI. Those of us who are single and those of us who are married. The most conservative traditionalists and the most liberal progressives, together in a Church where we will be able to finally sing with truth that all are welcome in this place.
We will need a two-thirds majority — 66.7% — in each of the houses of Bishops, Clergy, and Laity.
I am a child who grew up under Section 28. In the last thirteen years since the Civil Partnerships Act, I have seen the most astonishing seismic shifts in the way LGBTQI people are spoken of and viewed by society, and in the civil rights legislation that has followed, and never more so than in the way things have changed in my last four General Synods.
I am hopeful that we will do the same thing in eight days time in Edinburgh, but, make no mistake, I am taking nothing for granted.
Yes, I have been talking about this for a very long time and I will continue to talk about it and I will not minimise how important it is.
Because — it is important.
To me, on a personal level.
To the Church, because I truly believe this is something that will be good for the whole Church and the whole Communion.
To the world, because when I got into this in the first place it was because I wanted to be in the business of making a better world — and make no mistake, if we do this in our little corner of the globe, our little corner of the Church, then a better world is what we will have made.
I remember that day, that wonderful day in 2014, when marriage equality became the law of the land in Scotland, when an impossible dream came true, and surely, surely, we can do it again.
It’s time, I think, to give this one a dusting off: