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Scottish Assembly debates sexuality commission

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William Crawley | 15:58 UK time, Monday, 25 May 2009

The Church of Scotland's General Assembly is currently debating a resolution that would create a special commission to investigate theological and legal issues related to homosexuality, and, subject to that commission's report in 2001, impose a moratorium on public comment and decision-making 'in relation to contentious matters of human sexuality'. You can watch the debate live here.

This is the resolution: 'For the sake of the peace and unity of the Church the General Assembly: (1) Appoint a Special Commission composed of nine persons, representative of the breadth and unity of the Church, to consult with all Presbyteries and to prepare a study on Ordination and Induction to the Ministry of the Church of Scotland in the light of the issues (a) addressed in the report welcomed by the General Assembly of 2007: "A challenge to unity: same-sex relationships as an issue in theology and human sexuality", and (b) raised by the case of Aitken et al v the Presbytery of Aberdeen, and to report to the General Assembly of 2011; (2) Instruct all Courts, Councils and Committees of the
Church to observe a moratorium on issuing public comment, whether in publications or otherwise, and decision-making in relation to contentious matters of human sexuality, in particular with respect to Ordination and Induction to the Ministry of the Church of Scotland, until 31 May 2011; and (3) Urge all members who are subject to the discipline
of the Courts of the Church of Scotland to act in accordance with the process outlined in 1 and 2.

Update (6.12 pm): The General Assembly has voted in favour of a moratorium on public statements, media briefings and decision-making in respect of the debate about gay ordination.

Update (6.29 pm): The Assembly has made it clear that the moratorium is not retrospective, and that the Assembly's previous decision to uphold the appointment of a gay minister to a parish in Aberdeen stands.

Update (6.50 pm): The Moderator has ruled that any discussion of homosexuality in the still-to-be-heard resolution seeking to outlaw gay ordinations is now out of order given the Assembly's decision to enforce a moratorium. Th Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye, presenting the resolution, has requested a break in the proceedings to consider their position.

Update (6.56 pm): The Rev Ivor McDonald, representing the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye has announced that the Presbytery will withdraw their overture (resolution). In essence, they didn't have much choice, given the moratorium. The Assembly has applauded the Presbytery for withdrawing the Overture.


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