Despite support from a majority of the laity and clergy, Canada’s Anglican Church rejected a motion yesterday that would have allowed priests to bless same-sex unions.
After a weekend of debate at the church’s national meeting in Winnipeg, the laity voted 79 to 59, and the clergy voted 63 to 53.
Anglican bishops rejected the motion by a vote of 21 to 19, and because motions require support from all three orders of the church, the motion failed.
While some hailed the close vote as a sign of change and progressiveness in the church, others disagreed.
“No one can take comfort from this vote because the majority voted in favour,” Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster told the Anglican Journal. He added that many Anglicans would feel a sense of betrayal.
Church passes a contradictory resolution in the same day
Early Sunday, delegates approved a motion that found the blessing of same-sex unions to be compatible with the church’s core doctrine.
This places the church in a position in which it acknowledges that same-sex unions are not against church doctrine, yet it has rejected attempts to allow individual priests to bless gay couples.
Bishop Patrick Yu, who represents Toronto, acknowledges that it is a “fragile situation” and he says the question for the church now is how to proceed when there is no clear consensus among bishops.
The Anglican Church of Canada has been under pressure from the global Anglican Communion to reject same-sex unions. Conservative bishops have denounced moves by Anglican churches in Canada and the United States to bless same-sex couples.