Scottish Episcopalians make history with vote in favor of same-sex marriage

The Scottish Episcopal Church became the first Anglican church in the United Kingdom to allow the gay marriage in its premises.

The move means that gay Christians from any Anglican Church will be able to marry in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The three "houses" of the Scottish Episcopal Church's General Synod - Bishops, Clergy and Laity - had to vote in favour with a two thirds majority.

The motion also contained a "conscience clause" meaning that any clergy or church that did not wish to conduct same-sex weddings would not have to.

Jayne Ozanne, a leading campaigner for LGBT rights within the Church of England, said she was "thrilled that the Scottish Episcopal church has chosen to take this courageous and momentous step in enabling same sex marriage".

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Members of the Church's houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity were asked to vote on whether to replace Canon 31, the doctrinal clause stating that marriage is between a man and a woman.

It will intensify calls on the Church of England to end its own stalemate on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is prohibited in Anglican churches in England.

A spokesperson for the Church of England was reluctant to comment other than to say it was a matter for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

"They can express in marriage a commitment to lifelong faithfulness to one another and to the belief that a calling to marriage is for them too a calling to love, forgiveness, sacrifice, truth".

Despite opposing the legalisation of gay marriage in Scotland in 2014, last month the Kirk's General Assembly backed a report which could lead to same-sex weddings being performed in churches.

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"I am very pleased for the couples who can now have their relationships recognized by the church and blessed by God", the Episcopal Church's Bishop of Edinburgh, The Right Reverend Dr. John Armes, told BBC News. The change is that our church would officially recognise that it contains a diversity of viewpoints.

Archbishop Foley Beach, a senior figure in the group, said: "Today's decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalized by their leaders".

The step we have taken today is a momentous one.

The Church of England said the latest decision was a matter for the SEC. Any marriage which is to be conducted by a cleric shall be solemnised strictly in accordance with the civil law of Scotland for the time being in force and provided said cleric is satisfied, after appropriate enquiries, that the parties have complied with the necessary preliminaries as set forth in the civil law.

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