The November 1987 ‘Higton’ General Synod motion

On 11 November 1987, the General Synod passed by 403 votes to 8 the following motion at the end of the debate initiated by the Revd Tony Higton.  Although often referred to as the ‘Higton motion’ (the debate was on a Private Member’s Motion from the Revd Tony Higton) what the Synod passed was in fact a substantially recast motion proposed by way of an amendment by the then Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Michael Baughen:

‘That this Synod affirms that the biblical and traditional teaching on chastity and fidelity in personal relationships in a response to, and expression of, God’s love for each one of us, and in particular affirms: 

  1. that sexual intercourse is an act of total commitment which belongs properly within a permanent married relationship;
  2. that fornication and adultery are sins against this ideal, and are to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion;
  3. that homosexual genital acts also fall short of this ideal, and are likewise to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion;
  4. that all Christians are called to be exemplary in all spheres of morality, including sexual morality; and that holiness of life is particularly required of Christian leaders.’

Join the discussion