The diocese of Saskatoon, at its biennial synod held April 4-6, narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed clergy to bless same-sex civil marriages.The vote was 41 against, 38 for and four abstentions, said Lorea Eufemia, secretary/treasurer of the diocese.
Moved by Canon Colin Clay and seconded by Cathy Hartsook, the resolution said: “Be it resolved that this 68th Session of the Synod of the Diocese of Saskatoon request the bishop to allow clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless the duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized, and to authorize rites for such blessings.”
It was the first time the issue had come before the Saskatoon synod, and the debate lasted nearly an hour and a half, said Ms. Eufemia. Opinions did not divide along urban and rural lines, she said. “Some members of urban parishes voted against it and some rural parishes were for it,” she said. She also noted that the debate was characterized by “respect, kindness and love.” The bishop of Saskatoon, Rodney Andrews, who could not immediately be reached, was pleased by the tone of the debate, she said.
The diocese has been discussing the issue of same-sex blessings for the past couple of years, she said. Members of the gay support group Integrity have spoken at diocesan council, the St. Michael report (which considers whether it is a matter of church doctrine) has been distributed to parishes and parishes have held consultations on the issue.