General Synod votes to "regret" the way the Bishops voted on marriage

Using the meeting rules to good effect, the conservatives at the Anglican General Synod have highlighted that the majority of the church (measured by General Synod delegates) supports traditional man-woman marriage.

A petition by 125 members of the General Synod (GS) was presented by Phil Colgan of Sydney that noted “with regret” the vote by the House of Bishops to reject a statement opposing same-sex marriage. This number is more than half of the members of GS.

Australian Anglican General Synod 2022

Earlier this week, the GS voted on a statement rejecting same-sex marriage – the houses of clergy and laity voted strongly in favour, while the House of Bishops rejected it on a 10 to 12 vote.

Archbishop Geoffrey Smith (Adelaide), who is in the Chair, accepted the form of the petition as valid. The GS voted to accept the petition.

Archbishop Aspinall of Brisbane then moved to recommit the motion. There was then a debate on whether that is in order – the GS uses the House of Representatives rules. Archbishop Geoffrey Smith has paused the discussion of the procedure to check the House of Representatives rules.

The Petition

“Noting with regret that on 11 May 2022, despite clear support from the majority of General Synod (including majorities in the Houses of Laity and Clergy), the majority of the House of Bishops voted against Motion 20.3 ‘Statements as to the Faith, Ritual, Ceremonial or Discipline of this Church made under Section 4 of the Constitution’, the petitioners humbly pray that Synod commits to praying that all Members of the House of Bishops would clearly affirm and be united in their support for the teaching of Christ concerning marriage and the principles of marriage reflected in the Book of Common Prayer.

We also request that the petition be read to the Synod by one of the secretaries.”

The Statement

“Pursuant to the authority recognised in s.4 and s.26 of the constitution to make statements as to the faith, ritual, ceremonial or discipline of this Church, and in accordance with the procedures set out in Rule V, the General Synod hereby states:

1.    The faith, ritual, ceremonial and discipline of this Church reflect and uphold marriage as it was ordained from the beginning, being the exclusive union of one man and one woman arising from mutual promises of lifelong faithfulness, which is in accordance with the teaching of Christ that, “from the beginning the Creator made them male and female”, and in marriage, “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Matt 19:4-5).

2.    In 2004 (Resolutions 62/04, 63/04) General Synod did ‘not condone the liturgical blessing of same-sex relationships’ nor ‘the ordination of people in committed same-sex relationships’ recognising that both matters were subject to ‘ongoing debate in this Church and that we all have an obligation to listen to each other with respect.

3.    In 2017 the Commonwealth Parliament amended the definition of ‘marriage’ in the Marriage Act (1961) to mean ‘the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life, thereby making lawful the marriage of two persons of the same sex and presenting this Church with a profoundly altered missional and pastoral context.

4.    The solemnisation of a marriage between a same-sex couple is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church.

5.    Any rite or ceremony that purports to bless a same-sex marriage is not in accordance with the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church. ”


This morning, Election Results showed progressives dominating the House of Bishops and conservatives doing well in the House of Clergy and Laity.

Several contentious motions have been withdrawn, with one motion about same-sex marriage to come. It is moved by a progressive delegate Assoc Professor Matthew Anstey (Adelaide). The conservatives voted to have it debated.