Church of England bishops refuse to back same-sex marriage

The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking at a podium while wearing ceremonial robes.

Bishops from the Church of England have slapped down calls for same-sex marriages to be ordained by priests.

The religious officials met on Tuesday (17 January) to discuss whether to expand the definition of Holy Matrimony beyond heterosexual couples after five years of discussion and consultations.

The Anglican officials concluded that they would deny recommendations at the Church of England’s national assembly, the General Synod, next month during a debate on the subject.

According to the BBC, several bishops reiterated their belief that marriage should remain between one man and one woman, and refused to let the issue be put to a vote.

Despite being legal since 2013, the Church of England has yet to join the 21st century and include same-sex marriages within its teachings. The Church of Scotland voted to allow minister to conduct same-sex marriages in 2022 and the Church of Wales approved a blessing service for same-sex partnerships in 2021.

A consultation regarding the possibility of accepting same-sex marriage began in 2017, called “Living in Love and Faith”.

You may like to watch

During that time, several bishops, including bishop of Worcester Dr John Inge, expressed their support for allowing the ordainment of same-sex marriage, saying it cannot be “inherently sinful”.

But after extended periods of consideration, bishops appear to have squashed any remaining hope for LGBTQ+ members of the church.

Former LGBTQ+ advisor to the government and gay Christian activist Jayne Ozanne said bishops had thrown LGBTQ+ lives “under the bus” following their decision.

“The bishops have made a complete mockery of the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ process, which thousands chose to trust and make themselves vulnerable in.

“Just as in 2017, this paper will be thrown out by the Synod, but this time the archbishops should consider their position,” she added. “Enough is enough!”

Ozanne said the willingness to deny LGBTQ+ people the right to an ordained marriage for the sale of “unity at all costs” was “despicable” and “insulting”.

Majority of Church of England members back same-sex marriage, study finds

A YouGov poll from March 2022 found that a majority of Church of England members believe same-sex marriage is a fundamental right.

The survey – commissioned by LGBTQ+ Anglican advocacy group the Ozanne Foundation – saw 55 per cent of people agree that same-sex marriage should be allowed in the Church.

Conversely, a mere nine per cent of survey members believe same-sex marriage is “wrong” in some capacity, which was down significantly from previous years.

A majority of the support for same-sex marriage within the Church comes from respondents under the age of 50 – 72 per cent of which said that marriage equality was a “right.”

In reaction to the survey’s results, reverend Joe Hawes said: “It is high time we became a church for ALL England, recognising the love that exists between two individuals who wish to honour and cherish each other.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.