TORONTO (AP) — The Anglican Church of Canada narrowly voted against authorizing same-sex marriages Monday after nearly a week of passionate debates about blessing such unions at the church’s triennial conference.
More than 200 delegates attending the six-day General Synod 2016 north of Toronto narrowly rejected the resolution after more than 60 speakers made their points, with most speaking in support of the resolution.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005, and Monday’s vote puts the Anglican Church — the third largest in Canada — out of step with most Canadians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who recently took part in a gay pride parade in Toronto.
In order for the resolution to have passed, it required two-thirds support from each of three orders — the lay, clergy and bishops.
The bishops voted 68.42 percent in favor of the resolution, and the lay delegates voted 72.22 percent in favor. However, the clergy voted 66.23 percent, just missing the percentage needed by a single vote.
The vote sparked bitter disappointment among some members.
“It is breaking my heart that there are people who see gay marriage as a separation from God and from love,” said Eliot Waddingham, 24, a transgender person from Ottawa, who was an observer at the conference.
The vote, Waddingham worried, was tantamount to a “death sentence” for the church.