By a 90 percent margin, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil’s General Synod has authorized marriage for same-sex couples. The vote was 57 in favor, 4 against, and 2 abstentions.

The Brazilian church began a formal dialogue about same-sex marriage in 1997. Civil marriage for same-sex couples became legal in Brazil in 2012.

The synod welcomed the Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls, Bishop of Huron in the Anglican Church of Canada, both advocates of blessings for same-sex couples.

“I felt the decision was a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work,” said the Most Rev. Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of Brazil. “This widens our boundaries, allowing us to be more welcoming to the diversity of people in our country.”

The marriage rite in Brazil’s Book of Common Prayer (2015) is gender-neutral.

“The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law,” said the Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

“There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican Communion, but this decision puts the Episcopal Church of Brazil at odds with the majority position that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. This is a move away from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The Anglican Communion’s position on human sexuality is set out in Resolution I.10 agreed at the Lambeth conference of 1998 and will remain so unless it is revoked.

“It is my deep desire to see the churches of the Anglican Communion remain committed to walking together in the love of Christ in spite of deeply held differences and to work out how to maintain unity and uphold the value of every individual. It is important to stress the Communion’s strong opposition to the criminalization of LGBTIQ+ people.”

Adapted from ACNS

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