Nova Scotia

Anglican archbishop for N.S., P.E.I., in favour of same-sex marriages

Anglican Archbishop Ron Cutler says that despite the church's national body narrowly voting not to recognize same-sex marriages in the church late last week, he would perform the ceremony and permit others in his diocese to do the same.

Ron Cutler says he would perform ceremony, despite church vote not to recognize same-sex marriages

Archbishop Ron Cutler says that despite the church's national body narrowly voting not to recognize same-sex marriages late last week, he would perform the ceremony and permit others in his diocese to do the same. (Facebook )

The Anglican archbishop for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has declared he would perform same-sex marriages and permit other churches in his diocese to do the same.

Archbishop Ron Cutler's declaration comes after the church's national body narrowly voted not to recognize same-sex marriages late last week.

"There is, I think, a majority of people within the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island who are in favour of widening our understanding of marriage to include people in the LGBTQ2+ community," Cutler told CBC's Mainstreet on Monday.

Cutler, who spoke during a phone interview from Vancouver, said there were "cries of anguish" followed by "three or four minutes of stunned silenced" following the vote.

"If you actually look at the votes that took place here on Friday night of the three orders in the church, the aggregate total was 75 per cent in favour of making this change. The problem lay because the votes were counted separately and had to reach a super majority three times," Cutler said.

'A local option'

On Monday, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada released a statement announcing it would be "walking together in a way which leaves room for individual diocese and jurisdictions of our church to proceed with same-sex marriage according to their contexts and convictions, sometimes described as a 'local option.'"

Cutler said he is going to use this local option to authorize a rite of marriage for same-sex couples within the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in churches where the priest is willing to perform it and the parishioners have been consulted.

Some delegates were visibly upset when the motion to change the Anglican Church of Canada's marriage canon wasn't passed on Friday night. (Anglican Church of Canada)

He said bishops in the Niagara area, Toronto and Montreal said they would do the same thing.

Cutler said he believes between 10 and 14 of the 30 dioceses in the country will do this.

'A lifelong journey'

Cutler said he wasn't always in support of same-sex marriage in the church. 

"I've been on a lifelong journey to get me to the place where I am about a whole lot of things, not just this," Cutler said.

"I came to the point of looking at what I see in people's lives, how they live out their faith by their actions and how that speaks about their understanding of hope and resurrection and abundant life and all the stuff we talk about in the church.

'Am I in conflict? Not really, no'

"And I see in the lives of LGBT people that hope, that joy, that desire for a changed world and I see them living it out and there is no way that I can condemn people on that part of the sexuality spectrum. So, am I in conflict? Not really, no."

As for the national body's vote on same-sex marriage, Cutler said there are processes for revisiting the issue, but said that would also involve "the same benchmark of voting" to reintroduce the resolution that failed on Friday.

Cutler said he's not holding hope the debate will be revisited any time soon.

With files from CBC's Mainstreet

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.