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Legislative Session – Resolution on the Marriage Canon – Debate and Vote

http://archives.anglican.ca/en/permalink/official10637
Date
2016 July 7-12
Source
General Synod. Minutes
Record Type
Act 24
Date
2016 July 7-12
Source
General Synod. Minutes
Record Type
Act 24
Mover
Beth Bretzlaff
Seconder
Ron Chaplin
Prologue
[Page 29]
The Primate began the session with prayer.
The Chancellor, in referencing his Memorandum detailed the legal and procedural aspects of amendments to the resolution and the voting of the resolution.
He stated that once the motion had been moved and seconded here it would then be owned by this Synod and amendments could be made to the motion.
He also commented on how motions to vote by diocese were to occur and that abstentions are not to be counted. He noted that any canonical amendment required a 2/3 majority affirmative vote in each order (Bishops, Order of Clergy, Order of Laity) for the first reading. If successful, the resolution would then return to provincial and diocesan synods for consideration – not consent – over the next triennium before being presented to General Synod 2019 for a second reading.
For text of the Chancellor’s Memorandum see Appendix H [In electronic database Appendix H (11 pages) is found at the end of the Notes Field.]
Motion:
Moved by: The Rev. John VanStone
Seconded by: The Rt. Rev. Melissa Skelton
That this General Synod requests the voting on the Marriage Canon is conducted using clickers only.
CARRIED
Members spoke at length in plenary. Two amendments to Resolution A051 were moved.
Amendment A051-R1
Moved by: The Most Rev. Colin Johnson
Seconded by: The Very Rev. Peter G. Elliott
That this General Synod:
Paragraph 3 of Motion A051 be deleted and replaced with the following clause:
- 3. The following be added to section 11 of the Regulations
- e) A minister may only solemnize a marriage between persons of the same sex if authorized by the diocesan bishop.
Resolution A051 would then read:
Moved by: The Ven. Dr. Harry Huskins
Seconded by: Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner
1. Declare that Canon XXI (On Marriage in the Church) applies to all persons who are duly qualified by civil law to enter into marriage.
2. Make the following consequential amendments to Canon XXI:
-a) in paragraph 2 of the Preface, delete the words “of the union of man and woman in”;
- (b) in paragraph 4 of the Preface, substitute the word “partners” for the “husband and wife”;
- (c) in section 16 a) of the Regulations, substitute “the parties to the marriage” for “a man and a woman”;
- (d) in section 17 b) of the Regulations, substitute “the partners” for “husband and wife”
3. Add the following to section 11 of the Regulations
- e) A minister may only solemnize a marriage between persons of the same sex if authorized by the diocesan bishop.
4. Declare that this resolution shall come into effect on the first day of January after being passed by General Synod at Second Reading.
Amendment A051-R2
Moved by: The Very Rev. Peter G. Elliott
Seconded by: The Rev. Canon Bruce Bryant-Scott
In Paragraph 2 b) and d) of Motion A051, the word “partners” be changed to “parties to the marriage”
- (a) in paragraph 2 of the Preface, delete the words: of the union of man and woman in”;
- (b) in paragraph 4 of the Preface, substitute “the parties to the marriage” for the “husband and wife”;
- (d) in section 17 b) of the Regulations, substitute “the parties to the marriage” for “husband and wife”.
With 3 and 4 to follow.
After lengthy discussion of the amended resolution, the Primate asked the mover, the Venerable Dr. Harry Huskins, if he wished to speak to the motion; he declined. The Primate commented that the vote required a two-thirds majority in each order.
Before the vote took place, there was a point for clarification from the floor.
“If we vote in the affirmative for this resolution it says that we will have three years of study before we bring this to the next General Synod. Does that mean that there will be no same gender marriages in that time?”
The Chancellor responded. “What that means is that the Canon will not become effective until second reading is given. If you read the last paragraph of my memorandum, you will have seen that there are some questions about the extent of the existing Canons. There’s no prohibition in it against same sex marriage.”
In Favor Opposed Percentage in favor Order of Clergy 51 26 66.23 Order of Laity 78 30 72.22 Order of Bishops 26 12 68.42 Abstentions 7
DEFEATED
The resolution did not pass with a 2/3 majority in each order. The Order of Clergy required a vote of 52 in favor to meet that mark and only 51 votes were cast in the affirmative.
Point of Order
As Synod had not adjourned for the evening, the Rt. Rev. John Chapman rose on a point of order and requested a recount of the A051-R2 vote based on Rule 21 of the Rules of Order and Procedure. Resolution A051-R2 was defeated by one vote.
The Chancellor read Rule 21: Finality of Decision: A question being once determined shall not again be drawn into discussion in the same session, without the consent of two-thirds of the members present voting as provided in Rule of Order 18(b).
The Chancellor determined that the request by Bishop Chapman is effectively a reconsideration of the resolution and in order to do that it will require a two-thirds vote of the whole House in favor.
Moved by: The Rt. Rev. John Chapman
Seconded by: The Ven. David Selzer
That the House give consent to reconsider the vote of A051-R2.
Note: According to Rule 21 this motion is not debatable and requires a 2/3 majority across the House of all members present.
["Community Reflection", an address by Primate Fred Hiltz to synod, found on pages 33-34 of Synod Journals, in italics. "Community Reflection not included in electronic database.]
[Page 34]
Members were invited in table groups to address the questions, asked to write all comments down from their table groups. Comments were placed in baskets on the altar. They were collected and brought to the Primate. It was his intention to share the information with the Planning and Agenda Team for the Council of General Synod and the Agenda Committee for the House of Bishops as guiding subjects for the triennium.
Following the table diocesan group discussions and the placement of the comments on the altar the Primate lead the Synod in prayer.
Motion: A054
Moved by: The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander
Seconded by: The Rev. Canon Travis Enright
- 1. Reaffirm the 2004 General Synod statement on the integrity and sanctity of same sex relationships; and
- 2. Call on the whole church to engage fully with This Holy Estate at every level.
A discussion followed the introduction of this resolution.
Amendment to the Motion A054-A1
Moved by: The Rev. Chris Van Buskirk
Seconded by: Asher Worley
- 1. As a sign of our unity, that we entrust the pastoral response of General Synod 2016 to our primate; and
In reading this motion the Primate determined that this is not an amendment to the original motion on the floor.
Motion to put the question – A054
Text
That the motion be put to close the debate on A054. CARRIED
Vote on the motion A054
50%+1 majority vote
CARRIED Act 24
Notes
[Page 44]
A013 - Motion
Moved by: The Rev. Canon Kevin Robertson
Seconded by: The Rev. Canon David Harrison
That this General Synod make public the list of the recorded vote of A051 as it was amended.
CARRIED
[Page 46]
Discrepancies in the voting results of A051 as amended
Following the results of the motion A013 it was made clear that several votes had not been tabulated correctly and some had not been recorded at all. Chancellor Jones met with the assessors to decide how best to handle the issue.
A physical count was made of the clergy vote that was published. The results indicated 52 members voted yes, 26 voted no. There was 1 abstention and 4 unrecorded. The calculation yields a 2/3 among the clergy.
The Chancellor spoke to the issue made evident from the printed lists.
- 1. There were some members who believed they had voted but whose votes were not recorded. All of them reported voting in favour of the resolution.
- 2. The General Secretary’s voting device was incorrectly coded as “laity”.
The Chancellor concluded that whichever of the two issues was corrected it would take the final count over the 2/3 needed to pass the motion.
The Primate, in answer to a question from the floor stated that General Synod did in fact have a two thirds majority from all three houses. This meant that A051 as amended was carried. Effectively it was carried on first reading in this General Synod. According to the Rules of Order, A051 as amended will come back to General Synod 2019 after it has been studied by the dioceses and provinces.
The General Secretary addressed Synod. “The good order of General Synod is my responsibility as General Secretary so I am at both pointy ends of this particular issue. But at this pointy end I wish to apologize to the General Synod for the confusion that has been caused, because that confusion wasn’t just about a matter, it was about something over which this Synod agonized, worked hard, listened carefully, prayed and found somehow a way to be together in all of the tension and weight of what we were doing. And so for that confusion which is more than confusion I apologize to the Synod. I am sorry for that.”
The Primate thanked the General Secretary and assured him that he did not need to wear this personally. “You have apologized for confusion but you have clarified what the reality is in terms of what actually happened".
APPENDIX H
MEMORANDUM
To: Members of General Synod
From: David Jones, Q.C., Chancellor of General Synod
Date: 22 June 2016
Subject: ISSUES IN DEALING WITH RESOLUTION A051 (the motion to amend the Marriage Canon)
1. The Primate and the General Secretary have asked me to prepare this description of various issues which may arise in the legislative session when General Synod is dealing with Resolution A051 to amend Canon XXI (the Marriage Canon).
Resolution A051
2. Resolution A051 (the “main motion”) is drafted to respond to the requirements contained in Resolution C003 passed by the 2013 General Synod. There is an annotation at the end of this memorandum explaining how Resolution A051 does this.
3. Once the main motion is moved and seconded, General Synod will “own” the motion—General Synod can amend the main motion in any way it sees fit.
Amendments to the main motion
4. Amendments must be moved and seconded. Prior written notice of the text of the proposed amendment should be provided to the presiding officer: Rule 16 e) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
5. Because only the main motion if passed would actually amend Canon XXI, only the main motion must be passed by a two-thirds majority of each Order voting separately as required by section 11 c) i) of the Declaration of Principles.
6. Accordingly, voting on an amendment to the main motion would be done by the three Orders voting together: section 4 of the Declaration of Principles [Footnote 1] and Rule 18 b) of the Rules of Order and Procedure; and the threshold for an amendment to the main motion to pass is a majority (50% plus one): Rule 18 b) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
Requisitioning a vote by Orders on an amendment to the main motion
7. Prior to the vote on an amendment to the main motion being taken, any six members of General Synod may require the vote to be taken by Orders, voting separately in the sequence of laity, clergy, bishops: Rule 19 of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
8. If a vote by Orders is requisitioned on an amendment to the main motion, the threshold for the amendment passing is a majority (50% plus one) in each of the Orders: Rule 19 of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
9. Abstentions are not counted in calculating whether the majority is met: Rule 18 b) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
Requisitioning a vote by Dioceses on an amendment to the main motion
10. If there were a vote by Orders (and only if there were a vote by Orders) which passed an amendment to the main motion, it would be possible to requisition a vote by Dioceses on that amendment: Rule 20 of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
A vote by Dioceses is not available if either (a) the vote on the amendment was not by Orders, or (b) the preceding vote by Orders was defeated.
The Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh and the Territory of the Central Interior [Footnote 2] have the status of dioceses.
11. A request for a vote by Dioceses must be made by any six members, two from each of three different dioceses: Rule 20 a) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
12. The request must be made immediately following the affirmative vote by Orders, prior to General Synod having moved on to the next item of business: Rule 20 a) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
13. Ex officio and non-diocesan members of General Synod vote with the diocese in which they are normally resident if laity, or canonically resident if clergy: Rule 20 a.1) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
14. The vote of each diocese is determined by the majority of the members of all Orders of that diocese voting together. If the votes in the diocese are equal, that diocese is not counted. Rule 20 b) of the Rules of Order and Procedure. Abstentions are not counted in determining the majority: Rule 18 b) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
15. If the majority of the dioceses vote in the negative, the question is defeated. If there is a tie, the question is passed (on the basis of the previous affirmative vote by Orders): Rules 20 c) and d) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
Voting on the main motion
16. Because the Marriage Canon deals with doctrine, [Footnote 3] the main motion must be passed by a two-thirds majority in each of the three Orders (Bishops, Clergy and Laity), at two successive sessions of General Synod: section 11 c) i) of the Declaration of Principles.
17. Accordingly, when the main motion (with or without amendment) comes to a vote at General Synod 2016, that vote will be taken by Orders.
18. To be passed, the main motion (with or without amendment) must receive a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast in each of the Orders.
19. Abstentions are not counted in calculating whether the two-thirds majority is met: Rule 18 b) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
Requisitioning a vote by Dioceses on the main motion (with or without amendment)
20. If the vote on the main motion (with or without amendment) is passed by twothirds in each of the three Orders, it would be possible for there to be a vote by Dioceses: see paragraphs 10 to 15 above.
If the main motion (with or without amendment) is passed by General Synod 2016
21. If the main motion (with or without amendment) is passed by General Synod 2016, that would constitute“First Reading”. It would then be referred to the diocesan and provincial synods for consideration and comment (not consent) during the ensuing triennium: section 11 c) i) of the Declaration of Principles.
22. The motion as passed at First Reading would then be brought to the next General Synod (2019) to be considered at Second Reading.
23. At Second Reading, General Synod 2019 could amend the motion passed at First Reading, provided that any such amendment would have been in order when the motion was considered at First Reading: s. 11 e) i) of the Declaration of Principles.
24. General Synod 2019 would decide whether or not to pass the motion (with or without amendment) at Second Reading.
25. If Resolution A051 (with or without amendment) is given Second Reading, the resulting language of Canon XXI would make clear the circumstances in which solemnization of same-sex marriage is permitted in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Some other procedural matters
26. No member (except the mover) may speak more than once on a particular motion, except with the permission of General Synod, or if permitted by the chair to explain or answer a question: Rules 10 d) and 11 a) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
27. Debate on a particular motion is normally closed when the presiding officer recognizes the right of the mover (not the seconder) to speak for a second time in order to reply and close debate: Rule 11 a) and b) of the Rules of Order and Procedure. The mover may choose not to take the opportunity to say anything further in closing the debate.
However, debate on the particular motion will not be closed simply because the mover speaks a second time if permitted by the chair to answer a question or explain, or permitted by General Synod to speak a second time in the debate: Rules 10 d) and 11 a) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
28. Alternatively, any member who has not yet spoken may move that debate be closed. The motion to close debate must be seconded. The presiding officer has discretion not to accept such a motion if
- a) there is written notice of a proposed amendment to the motion for which debate would be closed, or
- b) the presiding officer is of the opinion that closing the debate would abuse the rules or deny members an adequate opportunity for discussion.
If accepted, a motion to close debate is itself not debatable, and requires a twothirds majority in order to pass. [Footnote 4]
29. There can only be two amendments pending at any given time (so: the main motion, an amendment to the main motion, and an amendment to the amendment): Rule 17 o) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
30. Any three members may require that the names of those who vote for or against a motion shall be recorded in the minutes: Rule 18 e) of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
If the main motion (with or without amendment) is not passed by General Synod 2016
31. If the main motion (with or without amendment) is not passed by General Synod 2016:
- this would not be equivalent to passing a motion to the opposite effect (such as a motion specifically prohibiting solemnization of same-sex marriages). Not passing the motion simply means that the motion was not passed.
- the same or similar motion could be brought at any subsequent General Synod. [Footnote 5]
- there may be differing understandings about whether, under the current state of ecclesiastical law in the Anglican Church of Canada, the solemnization of same-sex marriages is prohibited or could be permitted.
32. Determining whether our current Canadian church law permits or prohibits samesex marriages would require consideration of at least the following:
- (a) General Synod has “... authority and jurisdiction to ... define the doctrines of the Church in harmony with the Solemn Declaration adopted by this synod”: Section 6 i) of the Declaration of Principles. There is no requirement for General Synod to put matters of doctrine in a canon. Some matters of doctrine are included in canons; others are not.
- (b) Although General Synod has enacted Canon XXI, it does not contain either a definition of “marriage”, or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriages. It does refer to the “requirements of civil law”, and to persons “duly qualified” to enter into marriage.
- (c) At the time Canon XXI was enacted in its current form in 1967, civil law did not recognize marriages between persons of the same sex, so same-sex persons would not at that time have been “duly qualified” to enter into marriage; the four references to “man and woman” and “husband and wife” are not surprising. General Synod could not have contemplated same-sex marriage when it enacted Canon XXI.
- (d) In 2005, Parliament enacted the Civil Marriage Act which permits marriage between “any two persons” (thereby making it clear that persons of the same sex are “duly qualified” to enter into marriage). This is the civil law throughout Canada.
- (e) In the absence of a prohibition by General Synod against same-sex marriages, Provincial Synods have authority and jurisdiction with respect to “... the authorization of special forms of prayers, services and ceremonies for use within the province, for which no provisions have been made under the authority of the General Synod or of the House of Bishops of The Anglican Church of Canada”: Section 7 viii) of the Declaration of Principles.
- (f) In addition, bishops retain some inherent “powers, jurisdiction and authority”: Section 9 of the Declaration of Principles.
Annotation on How the Elements of Resolution A051 relate to Resolution C003 from General Synod 2013
Resolution C003 from General Synod 2013 directed Council of General Synod to prepare a motion for General Synod 2016 to make two specific types of amendments to the Marriage Canon (Canon XXI):
- [1] to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite sex couples, and
- [2] to include a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.
Resolution A051 accomplishes this by doing the following:
Paragraph 1 sets out the principle that the Canon applies to all persons whom civil law permits to marry.
- 1. This General Synod declare that Canon XXI (On Marriage in the Church) applies to all persons who are duly qualified by civil law to enter into marriage.
Paragraph 2 makes the four changes in language which are required to achieve this result.
- 2. The following consequential amendments be made to Canon XXI:
-- (a) in paragraph 2 of the Preface, delete the words “of the union of man and woman in”;
-- (b) in paragraph 4 of the Preface, substitute the word “partners” for “husband and wife”;
-- (c) in section 16 a) of the Regulations, substitute “the parties to the marriage” for “a man and a woman”;
-- (d) in section 17 b) of the Regulations, substitute “the partners” for “husband and wife”.
Paragraph 3 puts in place the conscience clause required by C003.
C003 requires the conscience clause to apply to four specified types of actors: a member of the clergy, a bishop, a diocese, and a congregation.
C003 also contemplates that the conscience clause would allow any of the four specified types of actors to decline to either participate in or authorize the solemnization of same-sex marriages.
Section 11 d) of the existing Canon preserves a minister’s discretion to decline to solemnize any particular marriage, so no additional language is required in the draft resolution to put in place a conscience clause for individual ministers to refuse to solemnize a same-sex marriage.
Because all marriages are solemnized by ministers, the consequence of a diocese, bishop or congregation exercising the right contemplated by C003 not to authorize same-sex marriages, paragraph 3 is drafted to prevent ministers from solemnizing such marriages if any of those three has exercised the opt out:
- 3. The following be added to section 11 of the Regulations
-- e) A minister shall not solemnize a marriage between persons of the same sex if:
--- (i) the diocesan synod has enacted a Canon to prohibit the solemnization of marriages between persons of the same sex in the churches and other places of worship in the diocese by any bishop or member of the clergy licensed in the diocese;
--- C003 contemplates that a diocese may decide not to authorize same-sex marriages in that diocese. A diocese acts through its synod (with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop). This provision requires such a decision to be enacted in a diocesan Canon.
--- (ii) the diocesan bishop has issued a written and public direction prohibiting the solemnization of marriages between persons of the same sex in the churches or other places of worship in the diocese by any bishop or member of the clergy licensed in the diocese;
--- C003 contemplates that a bishop may decide not to authorize same-sex marriages in that diocese. This provision requires such a decision by the bishop to be in writing and public.
or
--- (iii) the congregation has passed a resolution at a duly constituted meeting of the members of the congregation prohibiting the solemnization of marriages between persons of the same sex in the congregation’s church or other place of worship.
--- C003 contemplates that a “congregation” may decide not to permit the solemnization of same-sex marriages. Paragraph 3 e) iii) of the draft resolution requires such a decision to be made at a duly constituted meeting of the members of the congregation. Diocesan constitutions and canons have provisions which will determine the requirements for such a meeting.
-- f) Provided that none of the provisions of paragraph 11 e) applies, where a minister under paragraph 11 d) [of the existing Canon] declines for reasons of conscience to solemnize a marriage between two persons of the same sex, the minister shall refer the persons to another priest and permit that priest or another priest to solemnize the marriage in the minister’s church or other place of worship.
-- Paragraph 3 f) addresses what must happen if an individual minister exercises the discretion contained in section 11 d) of the existing Canon.
- 4. This resolution shall come into effect on the first day of January after being passed by General Synod at Second Reading.
- In order for there to be a window of time for bishops, dioceses and congregations to be able to decide whether to exercise their ability to opt-out of the revised Canon, paragraph 4 provides that the revised Canon will not come into effect for some months after having been passed at second reading by General Synod.
[Footnote 1. The Declaration of Principles was amended by General Synod 2013 to provide for all members of General Synod to vote together at the same time as one body, except where the Declaration of Principles, the Constitution or the Rules of Order and Procedure require voting by Orders. This is a change from previous practice, where the Order of Bishops voted separately from the combined Orders of Clergy and Laity.]
[Footnote 2. The Territory of the Central Interior is in the process of changing its name to the Territory of the People.]
[Footnote 3. Only canons dealing with doctrine, worship or discipline must be passed by a two-thirds majority in each of the three Orders at two successive sessions of General Synod. Matters dealing with doctrine, worship or discipline which are not contained in a canon are not subject to section 11 c) i) of the Declaration of Principles. Accordingly, motions dealing with matters of doctrine which are not in a canon may be passed by a majority of one General Synod voting together (or a majority voting by Orders if such a vote is requisitioned under Rule 19).]
[Footnote 4. Existing Rule 16 i) requires a vote to close debate to be passed by two-thirds of the Order of Bishops voting separately and two-thirds of the combined Orders of Clergy and Laity. Resolution A070 would amend Rule 16 i) to require a vote to close debate to be passed by twothirds of the three Orders voting together.]
[Footnote 5. Rule 21 of the Rules of Order and Procedure only prevents a question that has been determined from being reconsidered at the same session of General Synod (unless two thirds of the members voting together agree).]
Subjects
Anglican Church of Canada. General Synod. Constitution. Canon XXI
Marriage - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Marriage (Canon law) - Anglican Church of Canada
Same sex unions - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada. General Synod (41st : 2016 : Richmond Hill, Ont.) - Rules and practice
Electronic voting - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Thompson, Michael (Michael James), 1956-
Jones, David P. (David Phillip)
Less detail
Date
2013 July 6
Source
Council of General Synod. Minutes
Record Type
Resolution 05-07-13
Date
2013 July 6
Source
Council of General Synod. Minutes
Record Type
Resolution 05-07-13
Mover
Harry Huskins
Seconder
Cynthia Haines Turner
Text
That this Council of General Synod ask General Synod to communicate its warm good wishes to Marion Jenkins as she recovers.
#05-07-13
Subjects
Jenkins, Marion
Less detail