Absolutely nobody seems to know what this will mean in practice:
Same-sex blessings not in conflict with core doctrine
Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 — Members of the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod in Winnipeg agreed Sunday that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the church’s core doctrine, in the sense of being credal.
Debate resumed Sunday morning after being suspended late Saturday.
The motion carried reads: “That this General Synod resolves that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the core doctrine (in the sense of being credal) of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The motion was carried by a vote of 152 for, 97 against in the house of clergy and laity and by a vote of 21 for and 19 against in the house of bishops.
Blessing of same-sex unions defeated
Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 — The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed dioceses to decide for themselves whether or not to bless same-sex unions.
Lay delegates voted 78 to 59 in favor of the motion and clergy voted 63 to 53 in favor.
But the House of Bishops voted 21-19 against it.
As a result the motion was defeated, since it required approval by each of the three orders to pass.
The motion read:
“That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod,
1. with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop, and
2. in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish,
to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions.”
What seems to have happened here is that Victoria Matthews, who voted for the first resolution, switched her vote, along with one other bishop, for the second resolution.
For adminstrative and historical reasons, not bad in themselves, there are many more bishops representing northern and rural areas, proportionate to the lay people in their dioceses, than those representing urban areas.
This doesn’t really matter, except in a close vote like this on a cultural hot-button issue like this – the house of bishops will bias to the right of the average Anglican in part because they come from pretty conservative places in the back of beyond.
It isn’t at all clear at this point where this outcome leaves the issue. Can dioceses go ahead and authorize same-sex blessings on their own authority, as New Westminster did? Maybe, maybe not.
Update: Use your words, Jim:
Bishop Jim Cowan of British Columbia, who voted against the motion, said he is in favour of blessings, but, “I’ve been asking for the theological rationale. For it to be an issue of justice, justice is a theological issue, let’s name that and get that all on the table and bring along as many people as possible in this and I think in 2010 we can do that and we can also take it to (the Lambeth Conference of bishops) and see how many in the communion can bring it along as well.”