Major church looks to kill saying 'husband and wife' at weddings


Senior Chief Torpedoman’s Mate Mike Nickel, assigned to the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS New Hampshire, embraces his significant other during the boat’s homecoming at Naval Station Norfolk, May 7, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner)

The general assembly of the Church of Scotland soon will be reviewing a plan to drop the terms “husband and wife” from its marriage ceremonies.

It’s that sometimes, well, these days there’s no husband, or wife, because the church is planning to dive headlong into affirming same-sex duos.

The Christian Institute described the plan as “radical,” and noted later this month the leaders of the religious organization will consider a specific plan to kill references to “husband and wife.”

Three years ago, the church’s leaders approved a plan 345-170 to have the Legal Questions Committee suggest new language.

Currently, the church’s marriage ceremonies explain, “the parties covenant together to take each other as husband and wife as long as they both shall live, and the minister declares the parties to be husband and wife.”

The proposal would make it, “the parties covenant together to take each other in marriage as long as they both shall live, and the minister or deacon declares the parties to be married.”

There has been concern among those in the church who still define marriage using biblical standards that they would be punished if they refused to promote same-sex duos.

But those pushing the proposal claim “no one who does not wish to be involved in the celebration of same sex marriage shall be required to do so.”

However, a legal opinion that comes with the amendment warns that at some point, there is an unavoidable conflict “between conscience-based objection and the rights of those who wish to marry.”

On its website, the church said the provision is intended to “allow ministers of Word and Sacrament and deacons to conduct same sex marriages.”

Grant Barclay, who is on the Legal Questions Committee, explained, “The committee recognizes that there are diverse views on the subject of same-sex marriage. We are committed to ensuring that any resulting debates on this subject are held in a spirit of humility and grace, that the tone and tenor of discussions are civil, and that people are respectful of those who hold opposing views.

“The proposed act makes clear that no-one who does not wish to be involved in the celebration of same sex marriage shall be required to do so, and this principle of protection and accommodation runs throughout the committee’s thinking in drafting the legislation.”

If the assembly adopts the plan, it will be shared with all parts of the church for consideration.

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