Marriage

Policy on marriage

Following the fall 2019 Synod, a writing group that included the Rev. Canon Dr. Eric Beresford, Chancellor Clare Burns, the Rev. Dr. Judy Paulsen, the Rev. Susan Spicer and Bishop Andrew Asbil, conducted a number of consultations that helped to guide the design and content of a series of documents that describe the steps taken toward offering local option.

With the concurrence of the College of Bishops, the primary document is a policy on marriage. This new policy replaces policies and guidelines the Diocese of Toronto previously issued.

Historic documents

Following the July 2016 vote at General Synod in favour of changing the Marriage Canon to include same-sex marriage, Archbishop Colin Johnson stated that he would consider the option to “permit same-sex marriages in the Church at the pastoral discretion of the Bishop and with the agreement of local clergy.”

In November 2016, Archbishop Johnson issued Pastoral Guidelines for Same-Sex Marriages. The guidelines follow from a process of consultation in the Diocese and are presented in order to offer a generous pastoral response to stable, committed same-sex relationships. They were accompanied by a letter to clergy of the Diocese of Toronto.

After the July 2019 vote at General Synod to change the Marriage Canon failed to reach the required 2/3 majority in the House of Bishops, Bishop Andrew Asbil stated that he would continue to offer pastoral guidelines for same-sex marriage. Parishes that feel called to offer marriage to same-sex couples should follow the existing guidelines.

Prior to Pentecost 2020, the parishes authorized to perform same-sex marriages were:

See also A Word to the Church: Considering the proposed amendment of Marriage Canon XXI, adopted by the 2019 General Synod with the support of 85% of synod members.

Pastoral guidelines on the blessing of same-gender commitments

In November 2010, Archbishop Colin Johnson issued Pastoral Guidelines for the Blessing of Same-Gender Commitments.  The guidelines follow from two decades of discussion in the Diocese and take into account the theological, biblical and political discussions across the wider Church. The guidelines were accompanied by a letter to clergy of the Diocese of Toronto.

Prior to Pentecost 2020, the parishes authorized to bless same-gender commitments were:

See also the Human Sexuality page on the national church’s website.