Five more Anglican bishops back same-sex church marriages | Anglicanism
Five other Anglican bishops have publicly backed a call for the Church of England to lift its ban on same-sex marriage, a sign momentum could be building for historic change.
The Bishops of Worcester and Dudley have writes to all the clergy in their area saying “the time has come for the church to celebrate and honor same-sex relationships”. John Inge, a senior bishop, and Martin Gorick, a junior bishop in the diocese, said they favor allowing same-sex couples to marry in church, although clergy should be allowed to act according to his conscience on the matter.
Inge added in a Tweeter“I am convinced that I have remained silent for too long on what, I convinced myself, was the imperative of unity. I apologize to everyone who was hurt.
The Bishops of Reading, Buckingham and Dorchester all tweeted their approval of a essay published Friday by Steven Croftthe Bishop of Oxford, arguing that the C of E should end its refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry in church.
Olivia Graham reading and Gavin Collins of Dorchester both said that Croft had put forward “compassionate and courageous points of view”. Alain Wilson of Buckingham thanked Croft for “articulating an honest and godly view”. All three are junior bishops of the Diocese of Oxford.
Croft became the longest serving bishop to publicly state his support for same-sex marriages to be performed by the church and for clergy to be allowed to marry a same-sex partner.
He said the church’s refusal to treat same-sex couples equally had angered and alienated a generation. He apologized that his own views “have been slow to change”.
Croft’s intervention came after Bishops C of E met for three days this week to discuss the issue, which has bitterly divided the church for decades. Next month they will decide on a recommendation to appear before the General Synod, the C of E’s governing body, in February.
Although Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has recently confirmed the validity of a 1998 statement that gay sex was a sin, there are signs that the C of E may be allowing clergy to follow their conscience on the matter.
A recent survey found that over 1,100 C of E approved priests were willing to perform same-sex marriages if they became legal. A separate analysis opinions from 6,400 worshipers warned that the division within the church over the issue was a “disaster that will continue on and on”.
Jayne Ozanne, a prominent LGBT+ equality campaigner in the C of E, said: “It is truly encouraging to see a number of bishops step forward and add their voices to Croft’s call for a church that seeks to honor and celebrate same-sex love.
“The silence has been deafening and has only ever served to embolden conservatives while leaving LGBT+ people feeling angry and alone.”
There were also strong condemnations of Croft’s position. The Church of England Evangelical Council said it rejected the bishop’s theological argument. “CEEC continues to believe that the C of E’s current position on human sexuality is grounded in the teaching of Scripture and is therefore good for individuals and society as a whole.”
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, said: “Our society is reeling from the damage caused by the sexual revolution: sexual license, divorce, pornography, abuse and gender ideology have caused incalculable damage. . Any initiative by the Church “to revise the doctrine of marriage will result in open rift in the Anglican Communion, not only in the UK but throughout the world”.
Anglican churches in the United States, Scotland and Canada have already begun to hold same-sex marriages, while the church in Wales has begun offering blessings to same-sex married couples.