Scottish Anglican church expected to receive sanctions for accepting same-sex marriage

The Anglican church in Scotland is expected to receive sanctions from the leaders of the Anglican community this week over its decision in June to allow same-sex weddings to take place in the church.

(REUTERS / Russell Cheyne)Supporters attend a symbolic same-sex marriage outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland February 4, 2014.

After a five-day meeting in Canterbury, leaders of the global Anglican communion were expected to exclude the Anglican church in Scotland from decisions on its policy, as part of the sanctions over its vote of support for same-sex weddings. The Scottish Episcopal church could also be barred from membership in representational bodies, The Guardian detailed.

"There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican communion, but this puts the Scottish Episcopal church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman," the Anglican communion's secretary general Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon said. "This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage."

After the vote in June, the Scottish Episcopal Church Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, said taking out gender from the marriage canon allows their church to affirm that same-sex couples are married in the eyes of God. Although he acknowledged that the result of the vote will be difficult to accept for some, he also hailed it as a "momentous step," The Daily Record reported.

The vote made the Scottish Episcopal Church the first Anglican church in the United Kingdom to allow its clerics to officiate same-sex marriages. The move delighted equal rights campaigners including Colin Macfarlane, the director of gay rights charity Stonewall Scotland, who said the vote gives LGBT couples the chance to "celebrate their love within their faith."

In January 2016, Anglican primates issued similar de facto sanctions on the U.S Episcopal Church for its decision to embrace same-sex marriage. They also released a statement reiterating that marriage should be exclusive between a man and a woman.