Same-sex couples will likely be able to wed in the The Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) by this fall, less than a year after church leaders voted to remove a clause in its law stating that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
According to the Herald Scotland, the SEC is expected to become the first major denomination to take the controversial step after its General Synod backed a motion to officiate gay marriages.
Last year, synod members voted to delete the first clause of canon 31, which states: "The doctrine of this church is that marriage is a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman." In March, six of the seven synods voted in favor of a proposal to amend canon law to allow clerics to conduct marriages for same-sex couples in church.
A second reading will now be debated during the next sessions of the General Synod, in Edinburgh, from June 8 to 10, according to the Herald -- and it's expected to pass.
A senior source within the church told the outlet that "given what happened last year and with the diocese, people are expecting it to go through".
They added: "We don't know for sure yet but the first one would probably be early autumn."
While homosexual couples will be able to marry in a church service conducted by Scottish clergy should the motion pass, a conscience clause will allow individual clergy to opt out of conducting such unions.
Last week, the SEC voted in a decision to "take stock of its history of discrimination against gay people, at different levels and in different ways". The Church said it would apologize "individually, corporately and seek to do better."
Scott Rennie, a gay minister who was appointed in 2008, said the concept the Church could recognize its failing towards gay people was "one of the most positive and hopeful things I have read in a report to the General Assembly in many years."
He added that it "recognizes, at last, the diversity of people that make up the Church of Scotland, and Scotland at large."
The move puts the SEC at odds with the Church of Ireland (CoI), which earlier this month rejected a General Synod motion calling for bishops to develop "sensitive, local pastoral arrangements" for same-sex couples.
Meanwhile, at its General Synod meeting in July, The Church of England will re-examine its position on same-sex marriages, which it currently has a legal exemption from performing. It also plans to vote on creating an official "baptism-style" service to celebrate when transgender "Christians" change their biological sex.
"Trans people feel powerfully called to be recognized in their 'chosen' name," the Church's most senior trans priest, Rev. Rachel Mann, told ChristianToday. "An opportunity to be publicly introduced to God is therefore significant. I think this is what the proposed liturgy aims to do. It will be symbolically powerful. The extent to which it is [a form of] baptism will be debated by General Synod of course, but this liturgy is a welcome move to affirm Trans people."