Bishop of Gloucester, who backed same-sex blessings, steps down for personal reasons

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The Bishop of Gloucester, who had called for the Church of England to take a more conciliatory approach to same-sex couples, has stepped down with immediate effect.

The Bishop Michael Perham, 66, had been due to retire later this year, but announced today that for “personal reasons” he would be stepping down immediately, and is also expected to stand down from the House of Lords.

The Bishop, who had previously signalled support for blessings for same-sex couples, distanced himself from the House of Bishops in May for condemning same-sex marriage.

He said at the time: “The House of Bishops, producing a statement under some pressure, underestimated how uncompromising and hurtful the statement felt to some.

“The tone was harsh – there was not much sense of welcome to all as children of God. I am sorry for that and for the hurt I know it has engendered.”

Last September, he said that the Church needs to apologise to the LGBT community for its poor treatment.

He said: “The church has to be sorry. It has not treated the gay, lesbian and transgender community very well.

“The church may be moving slowly, but it will get there. The vast majority of Christians are moving relatively fast towards a more modern way of thinking and towards a position where they should be.”

Last week, Peter Tatchell threatened to out prominent gay bishops, if they attempted to uphold a ban on gay clergy marrying.

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