Lazy eyes listen
The Church of England will bless same-sex civil unions after its General Synod approved the measure, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York announced on Thursday.
“The Church of England will publicly, unreservedly, and joyfully welcome same-sex couples in church for the first time,” the archbishops said in a statement, while admitting that “the church continues to have deep differences on these questions.” The Church, they insisted, was “committed to respecting” those “for whom this goes too far.”
The body debated the measure for more than eight hours before reaching a decision, with 250 votes in favor and 181 votes against. During the process, an amendment was added to emphasize that the move does not represent a departure from existing Church doctrine, which prohibits same-sex marriage.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell stressed that “no one has to offer these services and no one will be disadvantaged if they don’t,” according to the BBC.
The House of Bishops announced the outcome with a call for proposals for same-sex blessings, which will be outlined in a publication titled ‘Prayers of Love and Faith,’ which will be issued later this year after some editing. The Church stated that their use will be monitored for the next five years. Same-sex couples will still be unable to marry in church, disappointing those hoping for full equality under religious law.
The Synod’s compromise “falls short of what we ultimately believe is the only outcome for radical inclusion – equal marriage for all people,” said Nigel Pietroni, chair of the Church’s Campaign for Equal Marriage.
The Evangelical Council bemoaned the Church’s rejection of its “historical and biblical understanding of sex and marriage,” claiming the vote “settled nothing and only served to deepen divisions.” The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches also questioned the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “fitness to lead.”
The Church of England issued a formal apology to the LGBTQ community last month for its previous “hostile and homophobic response” to same-sex couples, apologizing for its “shameful” behavior.
Last month, House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt wrote to the bishops, urging “parishes and clergy to conduct weddings for same-sex couples, or at the very least, authorize blessings.”