Church Of England Paves Way For Same-Sex Marriage With Decision Likely In Next Two Years
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The Church of England is set to make a historic change to its stance regarding same-sex marriage in the next two years.
Whilst same-sex marriage has been legal across the UK since 2014, the Church of England does not permit or bless same-sex marriages - instead, only allowing for civil partnerships.
Gay clergy are permitted to be in relationships as long as they are celibate.
The Church of England have now set a self-imposed 2022 deadline to discuss the matter.
The Guardian reports that the church recently published a 'suite of learning resources', aimed at educating members on the 'nature of humanity, of relationships' with a 480-page book, numerous films and podcasts in addition to several other publications.
The resource is called The Living in Love and Faith and parishes will be encouraged to explore and discuss its content. It was drawn up by a group of 40 people including five openly LGTBQ+ individuals.
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 added: "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.'"
Jayne Ozanne, a prominent campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights within the Church of England tweeted a statement today leading up to the publishing of Living in Love and Faith.
"I welcome the publication of the long-awaited Living in Love and Faith resource, which was borne out of a promise by the Archbishops for a "radical new Christian inclusion"", she said.
"Whether the resource delivers this promise has yet to be seen, however it is a necessary step in the arduous journey to the Church understanding that "'love is love.'"
As Living in Live and Faith is about to be published, I am sharing my official response now.
Please bear mind that I have not been given sight of this report, which in itself is a great sadness, but I look forward to reading it. pic.twitter.com/YYIMqk1Lvk
- Jayne Ozanne (@JayneOzanne) November 9, 2020
She continued: "It is a long document, and not one sadly that I have been party to. What we do know is that it tells peoples' stories and encourages churches who have not already done so to engage with this issue.
"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."
In October this year, Pope Francis publicly supported same-sex civil unions in an interview for a documentary film, Francesco, which premiered at the Rome Film Festival.
He said: "Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that."