Church of England ‘may’ reconsider equal marriage

The Church of England has said it could reconsider its doctrine of marriage to accommodate same-sex couples.

In a letter – seen by PinkNews – to leading gay rights campaigner, Jayne Ozanne, the Archbishop of York said that the church’s teachings on sexuality was “a matter for discussion” during closed door meetings.

Dr John Sentamu, who was also speaking on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, added that “the outcome of these conversations is not yet known.”

As well as reiterating Justin Welby’s apology to gay people, he gave a brief history of how far the church has come.

Some have taken the letter to mean the church is reconsidering its traditional teachings, such as marriage only being between a man and a woman and sex before marriage being considered a sin.

In response to a US sister church that was suspended last month due to its stance on equal marriage, Dr Sentamu added he understood there was disagreement in the church on the issue.

“The Christian doctrine of marriage continues to be a subject of discord, but the rejection of homophobic prejudice is undisputed,” he said.

“The Primates were also unanimous in their desire to continue walking together, despite their disagreements.”

Recently, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced plans to try and heal rifts in the church by launching “facilitated conversations”.

In his letter, the Archbishop of York said he hoped these “task groups” would “help to heal the pain and rebuild mutual trust.”

Speaking to the General Synod on Monday, Canon Porter, said the aim of the task groups was not to overhaul church doctrine, yet in his letter, the Archbishop said the conversations would deal with “Church’s doctrine of marriage as we have received it”.

Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said: “I would hope very strongly that the conversations would open doors in people’s minds and hearts towards one another.

“I think a particularly interesting door to open in hearts would be to understand why this is a non-issue for the vast majority of people in Britain today.”