Same-Sex Marriage Vote

On Sunday, September 25, 2005 at a congregational meeting, each of the two questions in the motion below were voted on.

The results were as follows:

Question #1 [same-sex marriages on-site]
- Yes 103
- No 64
- Spoiled ballots 1

Question #2 [same-sex marriages off-site]
- Yes 121
- No 44
- Spoiled ballots 1


HIstory Behind the Vote

For months prior to this vote, a number of information sharing events and activities took place.These included six workshops, a town hall meeting, a sermon on April 17, 2005 and an informal survey.

The following motion was passed at a Church Council meeting on June 15, 2005:

Motion

The General Council of the United Church of Canada has indicated that same-sex marriage is permissible and welcome in the United Church in general; and

Marriages within the United Church are performed under the responsibility of the Session or Church Council of each congregation (Manual, Sections 153v. and 221); and

Same-sex marriages are now legal in Ontario;

Therefore, it is moved:

A. That the Church Council of Bells Corners United Church resolve to make revisions to its marriage policy that will indicate unambiguously whether or not same-sex marriages may be performed by the Ministers of Bells Corners United Church; and

B. That these revisions will be made in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the congregation, as expressed by a vote of the congregation to be taken by secret ballot at a properly constituted congregational meeting, on each of the following two questions:

1. Do you agree that a Minister at Bells Corners United Church should be permitted to conduct the marriage of a same-sex couple on the premises of Bells Corners United Church, on the same basis as the Minister may conduct marriages of heterosexual couples? (Possible responses: Yes or No)

2. Do you agree that a Minister of Bells Corners United Church should be permitted to conduct the marriage of a same-sex couple in a setting other than the premises of Bells Corners United Church, on the same basis as the Minister may conduct marriages of heterosexual couples where the ceremony occurs in a setting other than the premises of Bells Corners United Church? (Possible responses: Yes or No); and

C. That each person in full membership of the United Church of Canada and whose name is on the roll of the Bells Corners United Church congregation at the time of the vote will be entitled to vote on each of the two questions above; and

D. That the congregational meeting date will be set to take place not later than the end of September, 2005; and

E. That revisions to the marriage policy of the congregation will be drafted and adopted by the Church Council of Bells Corners United Church without delay following the congregational vote, and that these revisions will be according to the will of the congregation as expressed in the answer of the majority of members to each of the two questions set out above.