Anglican parishes in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island now have permission to bless same-sex marriages, but they still can't perform the ceremony for gays and lesbians.

The decision was made over the weekend at the 143rd Synod of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

A blessing can only be given to couples who are legally married. It's up to each priest and parish to decide whether to give it.

Rev. Paul Smith, dean of All Saints Cathedral in Halifax, said his congregation has started to talk about same-sex marriage.

"It's not a case where we have asked our congregations to take a vote and say, 'Do you agree with this or don't agree with this.' We have taken a slower, more pastoral approach which is, 'Let's talk about this,'" he said.

On Sunday, reaction at All Saints was mixed.

"I agree with what they've decided because I think everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their sexual orientation," said one woman.

"For me personally as a Christian, I can't agree with them even considering that just because of the word of God," said another parishioner.

The issue has been a contentious one for Anglicans across Canada.

A few years ago, several churches in B.C. and Ontario split from the Anglican Church of Canada mainly over the issue of same-sex blessings.

In November, the Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon narrowly voted to bless same-sex marriages.