The Anglican Church of Canada has voted against allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriage by a single vote.
The General Synod of the Church had been debating whether to embrace marriage equality – legal in Canada since 2005 – and come into line with the majority view of the country.
The resolution required a two thirds vote from the lay members, the clergy and bishops in order to pass.
Both the bishops and lay delegates supported the motion voting 68.42 percent and 72.22 percent respectively. However, the clergy vote was only 66.23 percent, missing the requirement by 0.4 – meaning a single vote could have made the difference.
Most of the speakers at the event had spoken in favour of the resolution and some vented their frustration when it failed.
“It is breaking my heart that there are people who see gay marriage as a separation from God and from love,” said Eliot Waddingham, a transgender man from Ottawa.
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Reverend Jeremy Smith tweeted: “Woah. One vote. Prayers for all those wounded by the anti-LGBTQ vote.”
The voting was conducted electronically, as delegates had requested it be a secret ballot.
Those who were against seeing the Church perform same-sex marriage said it would cause “ghettos of resentment” and was an “abomination”.
The General Synod is only held every three years and work for the vote had began at the last one in 2013. Work is now likely to began to see a similar vote at the group’s next meeting in 2019.
It’s estimated that around 1.6 million Canadians identify as Anglican, making it the third largest Church in the country.
The US Episcopal Church is the only Anglican body so far to approve same-sex marriage, though other branches in places such as Brazil, South Africa and Scotland have taken steps towards accepting marriage equality.