The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has rejected criminalising consensual homosexual behaviour following the implementation of Uganda’s harsh anti-LGBT+ policy – a law that has been welcomed by the Church of Uganda.
The new legislation imposes the death penalty for so-called “aggravated cases “of homosexuality which include cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV as well as with minors.
Now in, in a statement released this week, the CEEC said that while it upheld biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality, it could not tolerate the criminalisation of homosexuality.
For the group, such measures “encourage victimisation of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or same-sex attracted” and “make the Church’s commitment to listen to, care for, and disciple all people, regardless of sexual orientation, much more difficult to live out”.
The statement read: “We oppose the criminalisation of consensual homosexual behaviour, especially when combined with severe penalties and requirements to report people for their behaviour.”
"On the basis of these convictions, we are committed to further reflection on these matters and are engaging privately, through EFAC, with GAFCON and GSFA.
"We continue to pray for Christians and non-Christians whose lives such laws impact so severely and for all of us that, in our diverse cultures, we will learn from each other and bear faithful witness to Christ in word and deed,” it continued.
The group’s statement comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby expressed his “grief and dismay” at the policy prompting a dismissal from Archbishop of Uganda Most Rev Stephen Kaziimba.
He wrote on Twitter: “Archbishop Justin Welby, Primate of All England, has every right to form his opinions about matters around the world that he knows little about firsthand, which he has done in his recent statement about Church of Uganda's widely held support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023."