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Church of Scotland ends moratorium on gay ministers

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  1. Thinking of Scott today

  2. Churches have to realise that if they alienate a gay person, they are very likely to have a family and friends who will also turn their back on the crumbling church numbers. In Inverness, a place over run by churches, gay people are frowned upon and Inverness area has the highest suicide rate in the UK and many of the suicides were LGBT people.

    1. they don’t care about LBGT folk and when people get hurt the bigoted religious (and other crazies) deny any responsibility

  3. Tim Hopkins 23 May 2011, 6:56pm

    The moratorium will not end immediately. What’s been agreed is a two year study of the potential rules for ordaining people in same-sex relationships. Then in May 2013 the General Assembly will decide whether on that basis to end the moratorium.

    For now, existing ministers who are in same-sex relationships may be appointed to new posts, but new applicants in same-sex relationships cannot be trained or ordained as ministers before 2013 at the earliest.

    The alternative was an indefinite ban. That was rejected by 351 votes to 294.

  4. Tim Hopkins 23 May 2011, 7:13pm

    The Guardian is also not quite correct in reporting that this is the Kirk’s first decision on homosexuality. Some years ago they passed a rule not to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. What’s happened recently is that some within the Kirk have claimed there’s a difference between orientation and behaviour, and have said the Kirk should discriminate on grounds of behaviour. That’s why today’s vote was not in terms of gay and lesbian ministers, but in terms of ministers in same-sex relationships.

    Of course, orientation and behaviour cannot be reasonably separated in that way.

  5. Eddie Clarke 23 May 2011, 7:50pm

    They have never had a moratorium on gay ministers, only “active” ones. (Same with the RCs). This continues, but are on a track to consider ordaining ministers in a covenanted same sex relationship.

  6. Tim Hopkins 23 May 2011, 8:17pm

    Now I’ve read the Guardian report, I’ve realised that it was reporting only the confirmation (unanimously by the Assembly), this morning, that the Kirk does not ban “people who are homosexual by orientation” from the ministry. That’s not really news!

    The big decision was this evening, to move towards allowing ordination of people in same-sex relationships. That was passed 351 to 294. The row started not because Scott Rennie is gay by orientation, but because he is in a same-sex relationship. In effect this debate has been about whether lesbian and gay ministers must be celibate, and the Kirk has moved towards the answer “no they don’t have to be”.

  7. martyn notman 23 May 2011, 8:43pm

    rather odd than the scottish Kirk (which has always been rather conservative) should be doing this, whilst a number of supposedly less rigid churches sit on their thumbs and whistle…Its a step (little baby one) but its movement vaguely in the right direction

    1. concerned resident E3 24 May 2011, 11:53am

      I wouldn’t say they are more “conservative”. Rather they are more calvinist than churches like the CofE. While that entails a certain rigidity in morality and the status of the bible, it als – through exigesis – allows for far greater adaptability to the realities of the modern world. this is why the Church of Scotland has hiostorically been less resistant to divorcees or women in the ministry as well as celibate gay men and women. That they are moving towards accepting sexually active gay people is to be welcomed but is fully in line with the calvinist approach to church government,.

  8. Kelvin Holdsworth 23 May 2011, 10:00pm

    Scott was not ordained 2 years ago he has been ordained for much longer. Two years ago he was inducted into a new church after having come out in his old one.

    Tim is right – Guardian have it completely wrong, as do Herald and Press Association.

  9. A,J,Mainland 23 May 2011, 11:06pm

    David you are indeed correct about Inverness but I would say the death rate through suicide is so gross its a thing that is never dared uttered, with to many people in strategic places where things can be hidden and disguised, the true ammount of death due to suicide is another hidden shame that amounts to Inverness being a cess pit of death and hatred, all conveniently covered over and this even with some of scotlands greatest figures, James 6th for instance,being gay. My best wishes go to Scott I just hope no witch hunts follow him.

  10. Not totally sure that I’m terribly interesting in the internal workings of the church of Scotland but it’s interesting that they appear totally outside any discrimination laws and can do whatever they want to. Why then do they insist that legal action would be taken against them if they were not to agree on CPs held at churches? It annoys me that during the consultation process on CPs in churches that they want further rules put in place to restrict freedom of choice on freehold churches conducting CPs by making the provisio that the council must also have somekind of authorisation from the head of the religion giving the freeholder the rght to do it. I resent , what is in essence an internal struggle within the church on homosexuality, getting the British law to enforce the authority of the heads of churches on subordinate churches. This is an internal issue and their discrimination should not be reinforced further by the govt …

    1. concerned resident E3 24 May 2011, 12:00pm

      to be fair, it ws the Church of England and the Catholic church that demanded exemption from discrimination legislation and insisted on CPs being banned from church. In fact when the churches were exempted from employment discrimination legislation for sexual orientation, the CofS adopted their own code on the matter. I think we should give some credit to the CofS for NOT tubthumping at government on these issues and for tentatively now moving in the direction of greater tolerance and acceptance of gay people.

      1. Will have to wait the CofS reaction to CP being held in Church when or if the Scottish govt goes down that line???

      2. Tim Hopkins 24 May 2011, 2:07pm

        Concerned resident is right. The Kirk adopted its own rule banning sexual orientation discrimination in employing ministers some years ago – but it was held not to cover sexually active gay ministers.

        And quite a number of ministers have conducted blessings of civil partnerships.

        The Kirk also took a moderate line on same-sex couples being allowed to jointly adopt. Basically the Church of Scotland has changed since the days over 10 years ago when their Board of Social Responsibility lined up with the Catholic Church leadership to oppose any move to LGBT equality.

  11. Jock S. Trap 24 May 2011, 9:54am

    A positive step forward, just hope it is acted on sooner rather than it being delayed and delayed with excuses being found why it can’t happen yet.

  12. Better and more informative report on this subject at:

    guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/23/church-of-scotland-gay-lesbian-ministers

  13. This is good news and a step in the right direction.

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