Senior officials voted to lift the ban which was put in place
after the appointment of Scott Rennie, a gay minister, to an
Aberdeen church in 2009.
The church's law-makers reversed the two year-old sanction
yesterday, in a move which threatens to split the church.
According to figures released by the special commission, it was
predicted that 100,000 parishioners could shun the Church in
protest of lifting the ban. Conversely, the report also stated that
40,000 worshippers would leave if gay ministers were not
Speaking to The Herald before the vote, Dr Bill Naphy, said: "I
think if they allow the ordination of gay ministers there will
probably be whole congregations that leave.
"I think it's less likely that whole congregations will leave if
it goes the other way. It is more likely that individuals will walk
However, in The Guardian The Very Rev Jim Simpson called for
respect on both sides.
He said: "I hope the church will go on talking and listening to
each other rather than doing what too often has happened in our
Presbyterian past: stomping out to form a new sect or a new
church," he said. "Whatever the outcome, stay with us."
Another vote will take place later on to decide whether new gay
ministers must stay celibate to take up a position in the Church,
or, approve those who are only in stable long-term
Stonewall Scotland warmly welcomed the decision. Carl
Watt, Director of the charity, said:
"We hope today's decision signals the start of the Kirk
demonstrating a commitment to fairness, equality and dignity on
this issue. Our research has shown that people of faith are
no more likely to be prejudiced towards gay people and same-sex
relationships than anyone else.
"Reverend Scott Rennie was inducted as the first openly gay
minister in the Church of Scotland two years ago in the face of
strong opposition from some quarters - yet supported by his own
Aberdeen congregation. Although we await further decisions
from the assembly and details on the next steps, we hope that in
thirty years' time this will be regarded as a storm in a