LGBT Christians protest Church of England as bishops discuss minor reforms

Protesters support same-sex marriage in 2017—the issue has long been dividing the Anglican Church, with the Archbishop of Canterbury refusing to invite same-sex couples to the Lambeth 2020 conference.

LGBT Christians are protesting the outside the Church of England’s General Synod, as the body is set to reaffirm its opposition to same-sex unions.

Bishops recently recommended against relaxing the Church’s anti-LGB teachings, in spite of three years of “conversations” on the issue.

Limited proposals being discussed by the body would scrap a rule that requires gay clergy to pledge their celibacy, but the changes have been derided as pencil-pushing in light of the church’s continuing archaic rules on sexuality.

At present the Church of England bans blessings for gay unions, while the Church has exempted itself from the UK’s anti-discrimination laws in order to punish gay clergy members who defy a ban on same-sex marriage.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, which has vowed to openly defy Church rules if no further changes are made, is leading a protest outside the Synod today alongside Changing Attitude and veteran LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell.

The Gay and Lesbian Christiam Movement says the current recommendations are an “almost complete betrayal of the trust that has been placed in” Church leadership and that “not an inch has been given to support LGBTI+ inclusion” despite years of discussions.

The group warned: “We will use the levers of power available to us and will oppose and challenge your stance where it is intransigent at every opportunity.

“Those of us who are members of the Church of England will remain in communion with you and will insist on making our protests and acting in ways that seek to hold the Church of England together.

“We will work to help it move to a more diverse and inclusive future, bringing the message of Christ alive in the present day.”

Mr Tatchell said: “The Bishops’ report defends heterosexual superiority and opposes same-sex blessings and marriages. The church blesses dogs and cats but it refuses to bless loving, committed same-sex couples. It treats LGBTI clergy and laity as second class, both within the church and the wider society.

“We are appalled by the church’s mistreatment of LGBTI people and the bishops failure to remedy it. LGBTI people want full inclusion and equality both inside and outside the church. LGBTI Christians are denied equality by the Anglican leadership. They are victims of religious homophobia and this homophobia must be opposed.”