Majority Of Church Of England Priests Back Gay Marriage: Report
The majority of Church of England priests have come out in support of same-sex marriage according to a new survey.
A survey by The Times found that Church of England priests are in favour of the Church permitting same-sex weddings and are reconsidering its stance against premarital and homosexual relationships. This comes a year after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby affirmed a 1998 declaration that gay sex is a sin.
When asked about their stance on the proposed ban on so-called conversion therapy, 67.8 per cent said they supported a ban, while 17.7 per cent voted against it.
The survey was sent to a pool of 5,000 priests, randomly chosen from Crockford’s Clerical Directory and having English addresses. Around 1200 serving priests responded.
The Times survey revealed that 53.4% of participants were in favour of altering the law to enable clergy to preside over weddings for same-sex couples.
Celibacy For Priests
In the survey, the question on whether “Britain can or cannot be described as a Christian country,” was confirmed by 24.2% while 64.2% stated that Britain could be termed Christian, but only historically, not currently.
In response to the survey’s outcomes, the Right Rev Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, and spokesperson for the church, described the church as remaining “true to its identity; it’s not merely a club. Its purpose is distinct and doesn’t involve pursuing popularity.”
A significant 64.5% of English priests expressed support for discontinuing the teaching that labels “homosexual practice as incompatible with scripture.”
Around 27.3% of priests were in favour of ending any celibacy requirement for gay individuals and 37.2% indicated their openness to acknowledging sexual relationships between gay individuals within “committed” partnerships, such as civil partnerships or marriages. However, 29.7% asserted that the existing teaching should remain unchanged.
Gay Marriages In Church
Anglican priests in England were asked their views on same-sex marriage shortly after its legalisation in 2014. At the time 51% of respondents deemed same-sex marriage as “wrong” whereas 39% voiced their approval for it.
Reverend Foreshew-Cain, founder of the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, told The Guardian that the poll showed there was “no excuse for further delay and equivocation” in allowing gay people in the church.
“The clergy of the Church of England are kinder, more generous, and more welcoming towards LGBTI people than the current official position allows,” he said. “The C of E, and in particular our bishops, needs to stop wringing its hands over gay people and move forward towards blessings and, in time, to celebrating same-sex marriages in our parishes”, he added.
In 1998, a collective of Anglican bishops from various parts of the world adopted a resolution proclaiming that homosexual practices are in opposition to the teachings of Scripture.