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Adapted from Anglican Communion News Service (03.10.2016) – http://bit.ly/2dOw6v6 – The provincial synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has voted against the introduction of blessing services for same-sex marriages. The motion required a simple majority in all three houses of the synod (laity, clergy and bishops) along with an overall two-thirds majority of the whole synod. But it was rejected in all three houses and failed to get anywhere near the two-thirds overall majority.

“From those figures you will see the strongest support, albeit a minority, came from the clergy, and the least strong from the bishops,” the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said afterwards “We live in a democracy, our Church has strongly advocated democracy, and people on all sides of the debate have to accept the result.

“At the same time, the debate is not over. Without trying to predict its ultimate outcome or to suggest what that should be, it was notable that a number of opponents of the motion did not reject it out of hand, but suggested instead that opinion in our Church was not yet ready for such a move.”

Archbishop Makgoba, the Primate of Southern Africa, said that support for the motion was “quite substantial” when compared with other African Anglican provinces “most of which are vigorously opposed to same-sex unions in any form.”

He said that the debate at last week’s Synod was “the first time this issue has been seriously debated by our Church” and stressed that it wasn’t necessarily the end of the debate, because “representatives are free to raise it again at future synods.”

In his comments, Archbishop Makgoba recognised the pain that such debates cause people on both sides of the debate and said that it was “palpable”, and said: “no one celebrated or applauded the outcome,” he said. “There are no winners or losers in the Kingdom of God, and we recognised that whichever way the vote went, there was going to be pain.”

He added that he was personally “deeply pained” by the outcome, adding: “If one of you, my church members, is in pain, then I am in pain too.”

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