Church of Scotland Presbyteries Overwhelming Reject Same-Sex Blessings

Presbyteries across the Church of Scotland have voted overwhelmingly against proposals that would enshrine the rights of ministers to bless same-sex partnerships without risk of discipline.

According to estimates, the number of presbytery members opposing the right of ministers to mark civil partnerships without fear of reprisal is double the number of those which support such a move, reports The Scotsman.

Presbyteries which voted in support of the proposal were Aberdeen, Edinburgh, England, Europe, St Andrews and Melrose & Peebles.

George Newlands, convener of the pro-gay Affirmation Scotland, said that the vote was a "bad thing" for the Church but admitted that the defeat had been "predictable".

Rev Ian Watson, secretary of the evangelical group Forward Together within the Church of Scotland, said: "This is a massive rejection of the liberal leadership's agenda. It shows that our conservative moral message is the mainstream view, not a marginal one."

Despite the vote, however, ministers in the Church of Scotland will still be able to mark a civil partnership should they wish, although they risk censure from their presbytery.

Rev Watson remained positive, saying that the vote had a moral significance in that it showed that marking a civil partnership would "defy the mind of the Church".

The proposed measure is not due to come up for debate at the General Assembly when it meets again next May.