Council of General Synod; March 16, 2019

Historically, the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada – in its parishes, congregations and communities from coast to coast to coast – has been actively under consideration for many years. It has been a major topic in a number of meetings of General Synod. In some of those meetings, the General Synod passed resolutions that expressed the mind of the General Synod and contributed to the teaching and policy of the Anglican Church of Canada.

In the midst of all these proceedings, there has been the desire to hear all voices, and to remain integrally a church which respects the dignity of each person and remains faithful to our calling to love one another.

In preparing for the second reading of the proposed amendment to the Marriage Canon, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) itself has consistently undertaken a respectful listening process. The Council has exercised its responsibility to encourage consideration of A051-R2 throughout the church between first and second reading by diocese and provinces. We have received and listened to the considerable feedback submitted by dioceses and provinces, the House of Bishops and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. The Council is returning the resolution to General Synod for second reading with some possible amendments.

CoGS asks General Synod 2019 and the whole church to take note of the following discussion and make the affirmations that follow.

Passed by an 85% majority at General Synod, July 2019.

Affirmation #1: Indigenous Spiritual Self-Determination

Whatever the action of the church at this General Synod, we affirm the right of Indigenous persons and communities to spiritual self-determination in their discernment and decisions regarding same-sex marriage.

Affirmation #2: Diverse Understandings of the Existing Canon

We affirm that, while there are different understandings of the existing Marriage Canon, those bishops and synods who have authorized liturgies for the celebration and blessing of a marriage between two people of the same sex understand that the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Affirmation #3: Diverse Understandings and Teachings

We acknowledge the ongoing reality that there is a diversity of understandings and teachings about marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada, and we affirm the prayerful integrity with which those understandings and teachings are held.

Affirmation #4: Our Commitment to Presume Good Faith

We affirm our commitment to presume good faith among those who hold diverse understandings and teachings, and hold dear their continued presence in this church.

Affirmation #5: Our Commitment to Stand Together

We affirm our commitment to walk together and to preserve communion, one with another, in Christ, within this church, within our Anglican Communion, and with our ecumenical partners.

What Does This Mean?

The passing of the "affirmations" by an 85% majority at General Synod 2019 essentially allows for a loophole. There is nothing in the existing marriage canon to prohibit marriage for queer couples - thus, the decision is left up to individual dioceses and bishops.

Check out "Equal Marriage by Diocese" to see a map of all dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada who have some form of equal marriage.