Church of England Bishops Will Not Change Stance on Gay Marriage

Church of England’s opposition to gay marriage still stands.

A report written by the House of Bishops has stated the Church of England must continue in its present stance of opposing same-sex marriage.[/tweetit] The report, however, also stated that the church should move towards a culture of support and welcome towards gay people. It urges the ecclesiastical body to adopt a new tone in this regard. The Church of England continues to insist that marriage, according to Christ, can only occur between a man and a woman. It also exhorted church personnel to desist from homophobic attitudes. This move understandably has infuriated a number of gay rights campaigners. There is also the risk that such a stance could widen the rift between church and wider society.

Church of England Bishops Will Not Change Stance on Gay Marriage[/tweetthis]

Such a decision by the House of Bishops has been arrived at only after two years of hard internal discussion. Both the clergy and the laity were participants. According to the opinion of Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, the Church of England should not be flexible when it comes to adapting the divine doctrine to adapt to any specific time. He said, however, that the church guidance and law must be interpreted in such a way that lesbians and gays enjoy “maximum freedom” without doctrinal change. It means the church clergy will have room for adjustment in specific cases. It said the words “maximum freedom” cannot be defined but should be accepted as part of ecclesiastical explorations going on right now.

The General Synod of the Church of England has already tabled the report for discussion in February. Cogitations on this subject is slated to happen in London. The report stated all the potential clergy-whether gay or straight- will be questioned about their personal sexual conduct and will have to answer identical questions regarding the life they lead. Right Reverend James said the focus was erroneously on same-sex relationships and not asking the right questions about sexual morality.

These views are not shared by many within the Church of England structure itself. A north London parish priest, Andrew Foreshaw-Cain, said during an interview the report is "a failure of leadership." He said this text is a blow to LGBT communities, and mentioned that their voices were not heard even as they trusted their represented leaders and made themselves vulnerable during the process. He said the bishops have discussed it as if the LGBT community is not present at all.


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