The Commission on the Marriage Canon
Terms of ReferenceThis document in PDF format
General Synod 2013 enacted Resolution C003 that directs the Council of the General Synod to bring to the floor of General Synod 2016 a Motion that would amend Canon XXI (On Marriage in the Church) so as to enable same-sex marriage in our Church. This Resolution further directs that there be a broad consultation within our Church about the preparation of the Motion, and consideration of particular matters specified in the Resolution. Resolution C003 is set out below.
The Council of the General Synod has established this Commission in order to carry out this consultation.
The members are to be appointed by the Primate and Officers of the General Synod prior to the end of December 2013.
Terms of Reference:
1. The Commission will consider and prepare documentation about the following matters specified in General Synod Resolution C003:
a) the Solemn Declaration in relation to this matter;
b) the immunity under the civil law and the Human Rights Codes of the various Provinces and Territories within Canada of those bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate in or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis of conscience; and
c) a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage.
2. In conformity with the Resolution of the Council of the General Synod establishing this Commission, the Commission will submit a Progress Report on its work (including its consultation) to the spring 2014 meeting of the Council of the General Synod.
3. The Commission will submit its final Report to the fall 2015 meeting of the Council of the General Synod. This final Report will take into account the Commission’s consideration of the submissions made to it. This final Report will provide to the Council its recommendations in regard to the matters specified in General Synod Resolution C003 (section 4 of these Terms of Reference) and this Report will include:
(i) a recommended wording of the enabling Motion called for in General Synod Resolution C003; and
(ii) a recommended wording of the conscience clause called for in General Synod Resolution C003.
4. The Commission will invite signed written submissions on the matter of amending Canon XXI (On Marriage in the Church) so as to provide for same-sex marriage in our Church from any member of the Anglican Church of Canada who wishes to make such a submission.
5. The Commission may invite submissions from specific individuals or groups on the overall question or on particular points that the Commission is considering, and may appoint advisors to assist it in any aspect of its work.
6. In order to ensure the credibility of the Commission and the transparency of its work, all submissions to the Commission will be posted on the national Church’s website.
7. The Officers of the General Synod, in consultation with the members of the Commission, shall appoint a Clerk who will be responsible for the general administrative work of the Commission, who shall be responsible to and under the direction of the Chair of the Commission.
General Synod 2013 — Resolution C003
That this General Synod direct the Council of General Synod to prepare and present a motion at General Synod 2016 to change Canon XXI on Marriage to allow the marriage of same sex couples in the same way as opposite sex couples, and that this motion should 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.
This motion will also include supporting documentation that:
a) demonstrates broad consultation in its preparation;
b) explains how this motion does not contravene the Solemn Declaration;
c) confirms immunity under civil law and the Human Rights Code for those bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate in or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis of conscience;
d) provides a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage.
Council of the General Synod Resolution — November 2013
The General Synod has enacted a Resolution directing this Council to prepare a Motion enabling Same-Sex Marriage in our Church, and that the Council place this Motion before the 2016 session of the General Synod for its consideration.
Further, this Resolution directs that there be a consultative process carried out in the Canadian Church; the results of which the Council will consider in writing the text of the enabling Motion to be placed before the 2016 General Synod session,
Be it resolved that, in conformity with the General Synod Resolution in regard to the preparation of a Motion to change Canon XXI on Marriage:
1. That this Council establish a Commission to carry out a consultative process as directed by the General Synod;
2. That this Commission report to this Council its findings and any recommendations as to what matters the Council should consider in writing the text of the directed enabling Motion;
3. That the Primate and the Officers of the General Synod appoint the members of this Commission before December 31, 2013; and
4. That the Commission bring a progress report to the next meeting of this Council as to how it is carrying out its work.