The presbytery of Lewis has voted against plans to allow appointments of ministers in same-sex civil partnerships in the Church of Scotland, on Wendesday.
The deadline for the 46 presbyteries to announce their decision is in December this year.
The Kirk’s General Assembly voted last May for a proposal that would allow gay men and women to become ministers, if they are in a same-sex relationship or partnership, but individual presbyteries would be able to vote on the matter.
The media first highlighted the debate over the ordination of same-sex clergy in 2009 when openly gay Rev Scott Rennie was appointed to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen in 2009.
This draft legislation allows a minister or deacon in a same-sex civil partnership to be called or appointed by a congregation, and ordained and inducted.
John Cunningham, Lewis Presbytery Clerk, said in a statement the proposal could lead to division within the Church.
He told The Herald: “Lewis Presbytery of the Church of Scotland has voted unanimously against a proposal from the General Assembly of the Church that would have permitted people in same sex partnerships to become ministers in the church.
“The presbytery has also advised the General Assembly that the proposal, or overture, would mean that members who base their beliefs on the Bible may feel that their views were being excluded from the Church of Scotland.
“The presbytery warned that the overture, which will be voted on by all the presbyteries of the Church throughout Scotland, is in danger of causing further disunity in the Church.”
The Herald also added that Lewis presbytery was the first to cast their vote.
Rev. Lindsay Biddle of Affirmation Scotland expressed her regret at the vote, but added: “This is not surprising news, and it was what we would expect from the Lewis presbytery.
“The Herald is mistaken though – Lewis is not the first presbytery to vote. Others have voted and have voted Yes. I know the Argyll Presbytery has voted in support of civil partnerships.
“Glasgow will not be voting on this until November and it would be wrong to attach too much significance to the decision of the Lewis presbytery.”