Last edited: April 30, 2005

Anglican Bishops Put on Hold Blessings of Same-Sex Marriage

London Free Press, April 29, 2005

WINDSOR (CP)—Canada’s Anglican bishops have unanimously passed a resolution to put a moratorium on future church blessings of same-sex relationships following three days of debate. The decision, reached during a closed-door session at a conference here, will halt the ritual for the next two years and give church leaders time to study the issue as it relates to the official doctrine of the faith, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison said.

The primate of the Anglican Church of Canada cautioned that while a statement by the bishops carries a great deal of weight, the moratorium must still be approved by a meeting of the church’s Council of the General Synod.

That meeting, which includes the bishops, clergy and members of the laity, is expected to take place May 6-8 in Mississauga.

The 40 bishops also agreed to officially withdraw from a meeting of the worldwide Anglican Consultative Council, slated for Nottingham, England, in June to appease conservative elements in the international church, Hutchison said.

He said that decision must also be approved by the general synod.

Church leaders in parts of Europe and Africa had condemned the practice of blessing same-sex unions in Canada and requested the Canadians not attend.

They also demanded the voluntary withdrawal of Episcopalian representatives from the United States because of the recent appointment of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

“We have an obligation to the church around the world,” Hutchison said, explaining Canada’s decision to comply with the request not to attend.

“In some cultures homosexuality is still a major criminal offence, punishable by heavy prison sentences. We must respect those cultures.”

However, the bishops’ statement also makes it clear Canada appreciates efforts by international primates neither to encourage nor initiate cross-boundary interventions, and affirming the place of homosexuals in the church.

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