Scottish Anglicans defiant as they face 'consequences' for passing gay marriage: 'Love means love'

Scottish Anglicans remain defiant in their decision to permit same-sex marriage, insisting 'love means love' after the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed they would face 'consequences' for the move.

Gay rights campaigners protest in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury during the Anglican Primates meeting last year.Toby Melville/Reuters

The Primus of Scottish Episcopal Church, Mark Strange, said he recognised the vote in June to permit clerics who wanted to conduct gay weddings to do so had caused 'some hurt and anger' among fellow Anglicans around the world.

He accepted the 'consequences' – which Lambeth Palace officials insisted did not amount to sanctions – would restrict the SEC's involvement in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

But in a strong rebuttal to his conservative opponents he added: 'We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our Church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that Love means Love.'

Justin Welby said he felt 'very sad' at the decision to enforce the consequences, which was made unanimously and without a vote at a meeting of 34 primates from around the Communion in Canterbury on Tuesday.

'People were disappointed, they were angry,' he said, describing tense discussion earlier on Tuesday. 'But it was more of a family that is having to face the fact something has happened that is causing grief than a club that doesn't like one of its members.'

Clearly frustrated at the ongoing divisions, he insisted the week-long conference would not be dominated by friction over sexuality.

'We are not as fixated as we used to be on this,' he said,

The watered down restrictions imposed on Scottish Anglicans mean they cannot sit on bodies representing the Communion and cannot vote on decisions relating to policy or teaching. However at least one Scottish delegate cannot be removed from his position on a key Anglican body because of British charity law and there are questions over how strictly the same measures were imposed when applied to US Anglicans at the last primates meeting in January 2016.

The 'consequences' are well short of those demanded by conservative leaders in the Communion and there is a question whether traditionalist primates will see them as too weak.

A spokesman for the conservative grouping GAFCON, which largely includes African primates, insisted the Scottish Episcopal Church as well as the US Episcopal Church, which has legalised gay marriage, and the Anglican Church in Canada, which blesses gay relationships, must 'repent'.

Hinting some traditionalist may walk out of the meeting in light of the decision, he told journalist earlier on Tuesday: 'Only repentance can lead to a seat at the table.'