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Church Of England Paves Way For Same-Sex Marriage
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The Church of England is poised to make a historic change to its stance on same-sex marriage, with decisions promised in the next two years.

Same-sex marriage is legal in all parts of the UK, with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act coming into force in 2014.

However, England’s national church doesn’t permit or bless same-sex marriages, only allowing for civil partnerships, with some more conservative figures still strictly ‘obeying scripture’. Gay clergy are allowed to be in relationships, however they must remain celibate.

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The church recently published a ‘suite of learning resources’, The Guardian reports, aimed at educating members on the ‘nature of humanity, of relationships’ via a 480-page book, numerous films and podcasts in addition to several other publications.

The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Christopher Cocksworth, oversaw the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ project. He told Sight Magazine, ‘There are some who feel this doctrine of marriage is ripe for development.’

He continued:

We have a lot to learn about life, we have a lot to learn about relationships. We have a lot to learn about love. We have a lot to learn about sex.

But I hope that other churches, whether they are more… liberal churches than the Church of England [and] those that are, let’s say more conservative, and are not even prepared to discuss these questions, that they won’t say ‘you shouldn’t be doing this at all’.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell respectively, also wrote in a foreword they were sorry for the ‘hurt and unnecessary suffering’ caused by the church. It reads, ‘For such acts, each of us, and the church collectively, should be deeply ashamed and repentant.’

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The church has also announced a working group to be chaired by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, with a focus on finding ‘a way forward… in relation to human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage’. According to the MailOnline, ‘a timely conclusion’ will be reached in 2022, ‘which would then be put before Synod’.

Jayne Ozanne, a notable campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights in the church, who’s also part of the UK government’s LGBT Advisory Panel, said while the publication of these resources is an important step, the church ‘must not excuse or legitimise homophobia in any form’.

She said, ‘While it’s good to hear that decisions may finally be afoot in two years’ time, we must act now to safeguard LGBT people in our care. We cannot go on acknowledging and apologising for the harm church teaching is causing without recognising the safeguarding responsibilities we have. Too many lives are at risk.’

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]
Note: No trees were destroyed in the sending of this contaminant free message. However, I do concede, a significant number of electrons may have been inconvenienced.

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