Leader comment: Kirk is right to apologise

Gay minister Rev Scott Rennie speaks during the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland yesterday.
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To the outside observer, the process must seem painfully slow, but it is encouraging to see the Church of Scotland move a significant step closer to allowing its ministers to carry out same-sex marriages.

The Kirk is not quite there yet. The matter has been placed in the hands of its legal questions committee, which will report back to the General Assembly next year. But this year’s Assembly has all but sealed the approval of a report saying there are no longer grounds for refusing to conduct such marriages.

The Kirk’s previous position was unsustainable, as demonstrated yesterday by Rev Peter Johnston, who outlined the impossible position he is in as a father where he could officiate at the wedding of three of his children, but not the fourth, his lesbian daughter.

But arguably even more significant yesterday was the decision to apologise for failing to recognise the Christian vocation of gay people. In many cases, the apology will come too late, but to move forward, the Kirk had to take responsibility for mistakes of the past. If the Christian faith is to be inclusive, it must practice as well as preach equality.

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