The Anglican Church of Canada announced it has passed a resolution allowing same-sex marriages after they miscounted the number of votes.
More than 200 delegates attending the six-day General Synod 2016 narrowly rejected the resolution Monday night after hearing from more than 60 speakers, most of them in favour of gay marriage.
The error was discovered after delegates requested a detailed hard copy of the electronic voting records.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz then declared the resolution in favour of same-sex marriage had passed.
“That is our reality,” Hiltz told stunned delegates. “That the motion is in fact carried in all three orders.”
Hiltz acknowledged the “deep differences” that exist around the issue.
“We sometimes find ourselves very much being pulled apart,” he told delegates Tuesday. “Our work on this matter is not done. It’s not sufficient for us to simply say we dealt with the resolution.”
Although the next synod in 2019 needs to pass the resolution for it to become church law, Toronto’s Archbishop Colin Johnson on Tuesday joined several other prominent clergymen who say they will bless same-sex marriages regardless.
Bishop John Chapman of Ottawa said he would proceed immediately with such unions in his diocese, although no one would be forced to officiate at such a ceremony.
“It is time my friends,” Chapman said. “It is past time.”
Canada legalised same-sex marriage in 2005.
According to Statistics Canada, about 1.6 million Canadians identify themselves as Anglican.