I refer to the report (“Formal protest over same-sex clergy marriage”, The Herald, May 23), on the vote of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland allowing ministers in a same-sex marriage to be called by congregations, if they are so minded, and the subsequent notice of protest of “dissent”, lodged by a traditionalist minister.

This decision of the Assembly is a follow-up to the decision made last year allowing ministers to be in same-sex civil partnerships.

This, in my view, can be looked upon as an exercise in ecclesiastical pragmatism in efforts to avoid the prospect of profound disruption in the Church of Scotland. There is something inherently illogical about a Church allegedly not interfering with its long-standing, theological definition of marriage and yet, permitting congregations to depart from that definition.

Moreover, where is the common sense and consistency in having a message which states ministers in the Church of Scotland may be in a same-sex marriage, but not be able to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies? The service, which someone else has performed for them, they are unable to carry out for others.

In acting in this fashion, our national church has implemented more than a tidying-up exercise. It has not, in my view, eradicated the division within the Church. It has confirmed it, as the vote at the General Assembly on this subject illustrated.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road,


In the midst of many reports, debates, and meetings of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, an event took place on Sunday evening at St Andrews and St Georges West Church which happily marked the end of a journey for Affirmation Scotland.

This organisation was founded ten years ago to work and pray for a more inclusive church that allowed gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual people to be welcomed and ministered to or minister within the Christian church in Scotland.

Although there may be some way to go in bringing full equality, the Assembly decision by a large majority on Saturday marked another significant milestone.

It was a joy to worship last night with many whose pain and struggle for acceptance and whose courageous histories of faith despite rejection had long been hidden.

At last the fear of openness over sexuality which has recently been banished in law and in civic society looks as if it will also be a thing of the past in the Church that many of us belong to.

Rev Dr Iain Whyte,

14 Carlingnose Point,

North Queensferry.