Maritimers react to Anglican Church's same-sex marriage vote confusion
It’s been an interesting and confusing few days for Anglicans in the Maritimes, after a same-sex Synod vote went awry.
At first, it was thought the Anglican hierarchy had voted down the motion, but after a recount, it was found they had voted to allow same-sex marriage.
Some say the church is fumbling with the issue.
“I think people, Anglicans across the country, are shocked,” says Jody Clarke of the Atlantic School of Theology.
Clarke says it’s not often the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod votes on something as big as same-sex marriage.
Clarke is the Dean of the Atlantic School of Theology and an Anglican priest. He says the outcome of the vote isn’t as shocking to him as the way it happened.
“It’s surprising that we’re sort of embracing that group now, in a more overt way in 2016,” says Clarke. “This is 2016 right?”
On Monday, the Synod narrowly voted down a resolution that would allow clergy to perform same-sex marriages within the church. However, a last minute recount on Tuesday revealed an error – the resolution had passed with a two-thirds majority.
For many, the vote formally reflects a shift in Canadian society.
“Many Dioceses, including the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have been doing same-sex blessings for quite a while,” says Clarke.
This week’s vote doesn’t actually change the Anglican Church’s canon. For that to happen, a second vote will need to be held at the next national Synod, which isn’t until 2019.
“I’m not celebrating or anything like that, I recognize the difference,” says Reverend John Smith.
Smith has a unique perspective on the issue; the retired Anglican priest is still active in his church. He’s also openly gay – something that wasn’t always acceptable within the church, or outside of it.
“Generally you kind of feel excluded, because you weren’t and couldn’t be yourself,” says Smith.
Smith says he’s pleased with the outcome, but he doesn’t want to see those who are opposed to same-sex marriage feel excluded from the church.
“I think we have to be very gracious and hospitable and all kinds of things on this, because obviously it’s very close and it’s a divisive issue,” says Smith.
A divisive issue the church is left to grapple with over the next three years.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie