Tuesday July 12, 2016

Winnipeg priest elated after voting error reveals Anglican church approved same-sex marriage

Inside Toronto's St. Paul's Anglican Church / Anglican priest Allison Courey

Inside Toronto's St. Paul's Anglican Church / Anglican priest Allison Courey (Anglican Church of Canada / Twitter)

Listen 4:25

It was a passionate debate. And on Monday, when it was over, the Anglican Church of Canada came to a decision at its General Synod: to vote against same-sex marriage

But then, news of a major mix-up emerged late Tuesday afternoon. The Church announced there had been a mistake in the counting.

The motion to bless same-sex marriages had, in fact, passed.

Here's how the changing story unfolded here at As It Happens

At about 3 p.m. on Tuesday we recorded an interview with Allison Courey, an Anglican priest. She is also a lesbian, married to her partner. Here's what a crushed Courey told guest host Susan Bonner, before the news of a voting mix-up emerged: 

At the time, little did anyone know the story was about to change in a big way. Less than an hour later, the news broke: there had been a mistake in the counting. The resolution to bless same-sex marriages had, in fact, passed.

And so, moments later, we called Courey back. Take a listen to how overjoyed she is after the announcement:

Courey tells Susan Bonner how her day began in disappointment — and ended in victory. She almost didn't get the news of the recount, because she was on her way to the airport to catch a flight from Toronto to Winnipeg.

"Oh my goodness, I heard the news between subway stops on my way to the airport. A text popped up on my phone that said 'It passed' with a hundred exclamation marks," she says.

Anglican Church Says No To Gay Marriage

Rev. Allison Courey of Winnipeg speaks this week at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto (Anglican Church of Canada)

"I'm very happy, I'm excited, I'm relieved for the future of our church and for our young people," Courey says. Earlier in the day, she had witnessed many young people at the General Synod collapsing into tears at the news that the Anglican Church had rejected same-sex marriage.

While she's hopeful for the future, Courey says she'll be watching closely for next steps.

"It might mean that we actually can't move ahead with same-sex marriages right away, while we wait to have a second vote at our next Synod, but it does mean that this is becoming a reality and a norm in our church. And it means that I belong."

Courey isn't sure how the mix-up happened, but she suspects that some voters at the Synod had selected the wrong voting category, which led to the confusion. You can either vote as a layperson, a clergy member or a bishop.

The meeting minutes — which were revealed later in the day — revealed a discrepancy.

"Ahead of time, they had asked for a published vote. So in the minutes, you would see who voted which way. And so the minutes have just come out. People were able to see them... and they figured it out."

Courey says the news to approve same-sex marriage sends the message she hoped the Anglican Church had sent from the very beginning.

"I think it says we're prepared to engage with the 21st century."