'This is my spiritual home': Gay Winnipeg Anglicans respond to church's rejection of same-sex marriage

The Anglican Church of Canada's vote to approve same-sex marriage failed Friday night at its general meeting in Vancouver. The decision is one that is felt by LGBTQ Anglicans in Winnipeg. 

The vote just barely failed to get the two-thirds vote needed to pass

Maureen Hanon and Kaitlyn Duthie-Kannikkatt got engaged last year, and wanted to get married at St. Matthew's Anglican Church. With the recent vote at the general assembly of the Anglican Church of Canada, they are unsure it will happen. (Provided by Kaitlyn Duthie-Kannikkatt)

The Anglican Church of Canada's vote to approve same-sex marriage failed Friday night at its general meeting in Vancouver. The decision is one that is felt by LGBTQ Anglicans in Winnipeg.

Kaitlyn Duthie-Kannikkatt got engaged to her partner, Maureen Hanon in Dec. 2018, and they want to get married at St. Matthew's Anglican Church in Winnipeg in September of next year. 

Duthie-Kannikkatt grew up Catholic, but never felt truly connected to the Catholic Church, which doesn't accept same-sex marriage. It was at an Anglican church in Winnipeg that Duthie-Kannikkatt found an accepting spiritual community. 

"[My partner and I] ended up finding a local Anglican church here in Winnipeg that has been super wonderful and affirming and has become a really important community for both me and my partner," said Duthie-Kannikkatt. 

"I would really love to see our marriage and our relationship affirmed in that context … in the spiritual home that we found." 

Motion failed to pass among Anglican bishops

The motion had to pass through three levels of voting: laypeople, the clergy, and the bishops. It receiving overwhelming support at the first two levels, but failed to receive the necessary votes from the bishops.

The vote was so important to Duthie-Kannikkatt and her partner that they watched the livestream Friday night. She says there appeared to be a lot of support for same-sex marriage. 

"It feels like the church as a whole is ready to move in this direction and I felt really frustrated that people at the top of the hierarchy were able to block such an important decision that has real impacts on the lives of queer people in the church," she said. 

"I still feel like an Anglican, I still feel like this is my spiritual home and I'm committed to staying and seeing this fight through to the end." 

Anglican priest says all still welcome

Despite the vote, Winnipeg's Diocese of Rupert's Land still supports LGBTQ Anglicans, and the bishop released a letter outlining plans to allow churches in the diocese to decide whether or not marry same-sex couples. 

"Regardless of how that vote had gone, I wouldn't want anybody to feel as though it meant they didn't have a place in the church," said Andrew Rampton, who is the priest at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church, and is gay. 

"But [the vote] doesn't mean that I have to walk away."

Andrew Rampton is the priest at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church. He is gay, and disappointed in the church's vote against same-sex marriage. (Provided by Andrew Rampton)

Rampton married his husband Adam in 2014 in a civil ceremony, but had his marriage blessed by the church. 

Despite the outcome of the vote, Rampton says it highlights how several people in the church are open to change.

"I was encouraged that the lay people and the clergy with overwhelming majorities voted in support, and disappointed that the House of Bishops didn't carry it [through]," said Rampton.

'My heart breaks'

Rampton also pointed out that the bishops were very close to voting it through. The resolution is only able to pass with two-thirds in favour. It received 62.2 per cent of the vote. 

"A couple of votes in the other direction would have passed it," said Rampton.  

"My heart breaks, particularly for the House of Bishops, because the conversations and some of the reporting I've seen … cast the bishops of the Anglican Church as a whole as a group of backwards looking people."

"There are obviously some bishops who are strongly in favour and some who are not." 

Rampton compares the church to a family, saying that it can be hard to agree with one another. 

"Christianity isn't something that you can do by yourself … and so as with any family it's sometimes difficult to live together and to love one another, but that is the work to which we are called in our faith," said Rampton.

"It is holier to live together in disagreement and continue the conversation than it is to draw lines in the sand and walk away from one another."