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London Anglican priest backs same-sex marriage despite governing body decision

Rev. Kevin George serves as the rector of St. Aidan's Anglican Church on Oxford Street in London, Ont.
Rev. Kevin George serves as the rector of St. Aidan's Anglican Church on Oxford Street in London, Ont. Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

An Anglican priest in London is standing up to his governing body’s refusal to include same-sex marriages in its definition of marriage.

The decision stems from a failed motion that sought to modify Anglican marriage doctrine

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The motion was narrowly voted down on Friday during the church’s General Synod in Vancouver, B.C., a triennial six-day meeting of the church’s national body.

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Days later, Rev. Kevin George held a special service at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church on Oxford Street in London, Ont., asking parishioners to wear rainbow colours to show solidarity for the LGBTQ2 community.

“I was really saddened to tears,” George said when describing his reaction to the motion’s failure to pass.

“I thought we need to do something and what we need to do is come alongside [and] be allies to the people in the LGBTQ community.”

George added that the motion’s narrow failure highlights flaws in the Anglican Church’s governance model.

The motion to include same-sex marriage in the church’s doctrine was already approved three years ago at the previous General Synod. In order for a change to Anglican doctrine to take effect, the motion required a second approval at the 2019 General Synod.

Motions can only pass if it receives two-thirds approval from each of the church’s three orders: the House of Clergy, the House of Laity and the House of Bishops.

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“The vote took place Friday night and it overwhelmingly passed in the House of Clergy and the House of Laity, but unfortunately in the House of Bishops, it failed by, essentially, one-point-some-odd votes. Two bishops would’ve made the difference,” George said, adding that the results don’t reflect the views held by the majority of the church’s members.

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“Nearly 80 per cent of the people at that senate voted in favour [of the motion]. I know that more than 95 per cent of the people in my own community are fully in favour of this.”

Despite the refusal to change its marriage definition, George added that he was pleased to see a motion passed that would allow each Anglican diocese to deal with same-sex marriages however they see fit.

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George said he hopes to see Anglican bishops take the lead in showing support for the church’s LGBTQ2 community.

The triennial General Synod wrapped on Tuesday. Members of the church will have to wait until 2022 before a new vote on modifying Anglican marriage doctrine can take place.

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