Church of England working with Stonewall to combat homophobic bullying

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The Church of England has announced it will work with Stonewall to tackle homophobic bullying in its schools.

Stonewall said the Church had started discussions earlier in the autumn – and whilst Britain’s largest gay rights charity had not agreed with the Church’s opposition to civil partnerships and equal marriage, on the subject of homophobic bullying, they were “both on the same side”.

In July, the Archbishop of Canterbury said he would “specifically target” homophobic bullying in Church of England schools.

The Most Rev Justin Welby made the comments as part of his first speech to the General Synod as Archbishop of Canterbury.

He admitted that the Church’s opposition to equal marriage had been “utterly overwhelmed” by passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act.

Whilst the Church continues to oppose marriage equality, Archbishop Welby stated the importance of building bridges with gay people to ensure “what we do and say demonstrates the lavish love of God to all of us”.

His predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams admitted in August that he regularly questioned whether he had let gay and lesbian people down during his time in post. 

In October, Dr Williams went further in his remarks and said: “The Church has to put its hands up and say our attitude towards gay people has at times been appallingly violent. Even now it can be unconsciously patronising and demeaning.”

In June 2012, Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, accused the Church of England of a “masterclass in melodramatic scaremongering”, as it warned of grave implications for society if same-sex marriage was legalised.

Yesterday, Stonewall launched its new campaign to tackle homophobic language in schools, with the slogan “Gay. Let’s get over it”.