Sunday, 26 February, 2017

Church of England rejects report that opposes same-sex marriage

Report disapproving gay marriage rejected by Church of England Report disapproving gay marriage rejected by Church of England
Melinda Barton | 17 February, 2017, 01:05

One Body One Faith charity Chief Executive Tracey Byrne said, "I think what we're looking for is not equal marriage at this stage, but just some really clear sign that the Church is going to bless and recognise our relationships in a formal way".

Presented to the General Synod, the report called for the Church to adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gay people - but not to change its opposition to same-sex marriage. For the report to be approved, it had to gain a majority in the House of Bishops, House of Clergy and House of Laity.

"This vote to reject the report is victory for love and equality for all".

Despite the vote, bishops could press ahead with a proposal in their report to produce a "teaching document" for clergy on marriage and sexuality, which would not need the synod's approval.

"Our perception is that while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice", the letter said.

The minister, who asked to remain anonymous, gave his views after the Church of England's ruling body voted to reject a controversial report on the issue.

A debate taking place within the Church of England around attitudes to same-sex marriage is unlikely to have a major effect on the traditional stance taken by the Church of Ireland (CoI), a leading church figure has said.

A delegate walks past activists from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement outside the General Synod at Church House in London.

The Bishop of Coventry said he had pressed the wrong button - giving the impression "that there was not complete agreement in the House of Bishops".

During last night's debate, many bishops struck a conflicted or conciliatory tone. "There will always be a few absolutists, and they may well choose to leave [the C of E]. We will seek to do better". "But most of the church can probably agree on some movement". While rejecting the idea of changing policy on same-sex relationships, it says the new teachings should provide "maximum freedom" for gay couples and clergy.

As editor of The Gazette I do know that the Church of Ireland follows what happens in other parts of the Anglican communion, and certainly in the Church of England.

How we deal with the real and profound disagreement - put so passionately and so clearly by many at the debate - is the challenge we face as people who all belong to Christ.

"In my own African context, and more specifically my Nigerian context, the single most pressing issue around human sexuality is the criminalisation of homosexuality ..."

The Anglican Church last year suspended the Episcopal Church, its USA branch, for three years after it approved ceremonies for same-sex marriages.