300 clergy sign letter urging gay bishops to come out

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Nearly 300 Anglican clergy have signed an open letter urging bishops in the closet to reveal their sexuality.

The group of clergy and lay members released the letter to the Church of England today, in a direct and personal plea to bishops who remain in the closet.

282 Anglican representatives have signed the letter, alongside 29 Methodists and 25 members of other Churches and Jewish groups.

The letter reads: “We recognize that there is a cost to those who respond to the call to be a bishop.

“This is especially true for those who are not heterosexual and have kept their sexual orientation private. There is growing pressure on gay bishops to come out publicly.

“We write to assure those bishops who may choose openly to acknowledge their sexual orientation as gay or bisexual that you will receive our support, prayer, and encouragement.

“Sadly, we live at a time when those who are honest about LGBTI and Christian are treated with hostility by a vocal minority within and outside the Church.

“We have no doubt that the vast majority of Anglicans will welcome and embrace those of you who are gay or bisexual for your courage and conviction if you come: weeping with you for past hurts and rejoicing in God’s call as witnesses to Christ’s transforming love and compassion.”

The letter also seemed to condemn the tactics of rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has repeatedly threatened to out bishops if they do not publicly  accept same-sex marriage.

It said: “The signatories to this letter do not advocate the involuntary outing of bishops.”

The Bishop of Buckingham recently estimated that around one in ten Church of England Bishops are living in the closet.