Kirk ‘may soften stance’ against gay marriage

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A SENIOR figure in the Church of Scotland yesterday said that the Kirk may eventually change its hard-line view against gay marriage when a report into human sexuality is finally published in 2013.

The possibility of the Church coming round to a more liberal stance on the issue was raised at the end of a week that saw it produce a hard-hitting document that condemned same-sex marriage. The Kirk’s response to the SNP Government’s consultation on gay marriage said it believed that same-sex unions could harm the well-being of families, communities and individuals.

The document also argued that gay marriage went against the teachings of the Bible and it criticised the Scottish Government’s haste in bringing the legislation forward.

The document, which articulated the Kirk’s official view on the issue, was produced by the Church’s Legal Questions Committee. But it caused dismay among the liberal wing of the Kirk, which believes that the Church of Scotland should have a more modern view on homosexuality. There have been warnings from the more liberal clergy that being anti-gay marriage will drive away members.

The response was published in the middle of the Church’s own theological commission, which is looking at the ordination of homosexual ministers as well as gay marriage and will be considered by the General Assembly in 2013.

Yesterday Rev Ian Galloway, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, said the General Assembly might come to a different conclusion to that expressed by the document.

He said: “We have a commission looking at some of these questions that will report in 2013. The one thing that I contend is that the government’s consultation process has come in the middle of a process that the Church of Scotland is already engaged in among its membership looking at these issues.”

Galloway said the submission to the government’s Registration of Civil Partnerships, Same Sex Marriage consultation was a statement of the Kirk’s position “at this time”.

He added that it was possible that the theological commission could lead to the General Assembly altering its position on gay marriage.

Galloway said: “It is possible that it may change because the General Assembly decides these things. The General Assembly has taken a view on a number of things that demonstrate that change is always possible.”