This latest news from the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, written by the former Dean of Durham, Fr. Michael Sadgrove, comes at a time when the Anglican Church in Canada is still dealing with the failure of its recent General Synod to go ahead with a proposal to change its Canon of Marriage.
Although the Canadian House of Clergy and the House of Laity both reached comfortable majorities in favour of the change; the Motion failed through not reaching a two-thirds majority in the House of Bishops. However, the General Syney issued a special ‘Note To The Church’ that, because the Canadian Canon does not specify the requisite gender qualification as being ‘male to female’, this does leave a legal way of individual bishops and diocesan synods in the Anglican Church in Canada to authorise their own rites of marriage for same-sex couples.
This has been offered as a ‘Pastoral Response’ to those dioceses and bishops who intend to go ahead with Equal Marriage in the Canadian Anglican Church.
The problem in the U.K. is that the Book of Common Prayer specifically mentions the different gender identification required of the participants (male and female) in order to qualify for a Christian Marriage. Consequently, any Anglican Church depending on the use of the BCP Marriage Rite for authorisation of its marriage celebrations will be bound by that premise – unless and until other, alternative, marriage rites are authorised by the local bishops.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand