Church of England votes to offer blessings to same-sex couples

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

Slow progress for people of faith in the community.

After YEARS of discussion and consultations, the Church of England has voted in favour of a motion to offer blessings to same sex-couples in civil partnerships and marriages.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2013, but sadly, the church hasn’t quite caught up.

 

Over two days, a near-eight-hour debate ended in a vote for the motion on Thursday (February 9) at a meeting of the General Synod – the church’s parliament.

The Synod’s three houses all voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion.

The landmark vote comes after CofE bishops rejected calls to allow same-sex marriages in churches at a meeting in January 2023.

 

Earlier this month, out comedian Sandi Toksvig led a campaign, in which she said that the Church of England’s position on same-sex marriage is “untenable”, following a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The meeting had come about about after the AoC, one of the highest-ranking men in England and the highest ranking non-royal in the United Kingdom’s order of precedence, reaffirmed the church’s 1998 declaration that gay sex is a sin.

“Yesterday I went to have coffee, tea, actually, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not a sentence I thought would ever come out of my mouth,” Toksvig said in the video on social media (below).


“From our very calm and considered conversation yesterday, it is very clear that the state’s Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step.”


“Justin was keen for me to see that they are moving forward, but conceded that any progress, as I would see it, if it happens at all, will be glacial.”

 

The Church of England previously shared its keenness to offer blessings to gay couples, but would not allow priests to marry them. The Church did, however, issue a formal apology for the “shameful” history of LGBTQ+ people being “rejected or excluded”.

 

Although advocates have welcomed the change, many have been quick to point out that the passed motion did not seek to change the position on gay marriage, meaning same-sex couples are still unable to marry in church.

 

Approval of the motion allows same-sex couples to go to Anglican churches after a legal marriage ceremony for services including prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and God’s blessing.