The following press release from the Church of Scotland has been issued today:
The latest report from the Theological Forum on human sexuality to come before the General Assembly has been published.
The comprehensive document will be considered by Commissioners in Edinburgh next month.
The document has found its way into the public domain ahead of schedule, before all the General Assembly reports are published in the Blue Book on Thursday.
In light of the report appearing in the national press, the Principal Clerk has authorised its immediate publication to allow Commissioners, members of the church and members of the public to understand fully the content and context.
The General Assembly is being asked to consider two key issues.
- Authorise the Legal Questions Committee to undertake a further study on the legal implications of conducting same-sex marriages and report back to the General Assembly in 2018. *
- Invite the Church to take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologise individually and corporately and seek to do better.
In releasing the report the Convener of the Theological Forum, the Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, said: “The Report addresses what has been a long running argument in all the churches.
“In years past there has been an idea that in time one side in this argument would emerge as the sole victor.
“We don’t think like that now.
“That is why we are arguing for what, last year, the Forum called ‘constrained difference’.
“This is saying that within limits we can make space for more than one approach.
“It is closely similar to what the Archbishop of Canterbury calls ‘mutual flourishing’.
“This is a centrist report, aimed at encouraging mutual flourishing.”
The Principal Clerk, the Very Rev Dr John Chalmers, said: “It is unfortunate that this report has found its way into the public domain before this year’s volume of Assembly Reports has been published.
“However, it is important that people are now able to access the full report.
“It will now be for the Assembly to decide whether it wants to ask the Legal Questions Committee to pursue further research on the matters which would require to be addressed in any new legislation permitting Ministers and Deacons to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies.
“If the General Assembly does move in this direction a further report will be heard in 2018.”
The full text of the report is available here.
The previous report published in 2013 is still available here. As we reported at the time the best analysis of that report was by Law & Religion UK: Men and Women in Marriage, and the Church of Scotland.