Anglican dioceses of Ottawa, Montreal to permit same-sex marriage, bucking Synod vote

The heads of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and the Anglican Diocese of Montreal have announced they are ready to perform same-sex marriage, one day after the church's national clergy voted against the same reform.

Local clergy will be allowed, but not required, to perform gay marriages, Ottawa diocese says

Bishop John Chapman of Ottawa has been a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, he told CBC News on Monday. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)


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The heads of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and the Anglican Diocese of Montreal have announced they are ready to perform same-sex marriages, one day after the church's national clergy voted narrowly against the same reform.

More than 200 delegates gathered just north of Toronto for a six-day General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, where delegates rejected by a single vote a resolution to allow same-sex marriage.

"We recommend the greatest pastoral response possible, allowing same-sex couples to be fully included in the life of our church with full and equal access to its liturgies and pastoral offices," the resolution read.

To pass, it needed two-thirds support from each of three orders — lay, clergy and bishops. Clergy voted 66.23 per cent, just missing the mark, while bishops (68.42 per cent) and lay delegates (72.22 per cent) approved the motion.

Ottawa bishop 'extremely disappointed'

After the vote, Bishop John H. Chapman released a statement to the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, saying he was "extremely disappointed" by the vote.

"It is time my friends. It is past time," Chapman wrote, supporting a move to allow same-sex marriages in the Anglican Church.

"It is my intention … to proceed with same-sex marriages immediately within the Diocese of Ottawa. While no clergy will be required to officiate at a same-sex marriage, those willing may do so with my permission."

In his decision, Chapman also referred to Canada's Civil Marriage Act, which received Royal Assent in 2005. It allowed for same-sex marriage.

Mary Irwin-Gibson, the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal, also said the vote was "really disappointing for many, many people," but that her diocese is ready to perform same-sex marriages.

"I think our diocese in particular wants to affirm all members of our church, and particularly the LGBTQ people who want to be married in the church and waiting and hoping," she said.

Delegate René Boeré from Calgary voted against same-sex marriage on Monday. (Anglican Church of Canada)

'God did not create another Adam'

The national vote sparked bitter disappointment at the General Synod among both bishops and observers.

"It is breaking my heart that there are people who see gay marriage as a separation from God and from love," said Eliot Waddingham, 24, a transgender person from Ottawa who attended the gathering as an observer.

Other speakers, however, urged delegates to reject the idea of same-sex marriage, with one saying it would cause "ghettoes of resentment" if allowed. Several Indigenous delegates denounced the resolution as condoning an "abomination" and disobedience to God.

"God did not create another Adam," said one young speaker. "He created a woman."

About 1.6 million Canadians identify themselves as Anglican, according to Statistics Canada, and church figures indicate more than 500,000 of them belong to about 2,800 congregations across the country.

With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press