LGBT+ Christians in the Church of England have “cautiously welcomed” the denomination’s latest decision to allow clergy to bless same-sex couples in long-committed relationships.
While they thanked Synod for the “Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples,” they argued the proposals “fall short of what we ultimately believe is the only outcome for radical inclusion, equal marriage”.
Nigel Pietroni, the Chair of the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England group, said they are particularly grateful for the decision to remove the Issues in Human Sexuality document, which required same-sex priests to be celibate.
As part of the new proposals, the House of Bishops committed to drafting a new Pastoral Guidance that will give more clarity on issues such as celibacy and singleness.
Pietroni said: “The campaign now begins to ensure that the new pastoral guidance is as generous as possible, that ordinands and clergy will be able to enter same-sex civil partnerships and marriages without fear of recrimination.
“In addition we call for the reinstatement of licences for gay married clergy who have been disciplined for daring to commit to their husbands and wives in marriage, and for reparations to be considered for all those who have suffered as a result.”
Jayne Ozanne, lead LGBT+ campaigner and a member of the General Synod, said the apology to the LGBT community, included in the proposals, was “meaningless” and explained why she had abstained during the final vote.
“The apology us meaningless. For both these reasons I chose to abstain in the final vote as I did not want to block a tiny step forward that some will welcome. However, I personally will not be forced to eat breadcrumbs, on which I fear so many will choke.”
It is expected that by summer people in same-sex civil partnerships or marriages will be able to go to Anglican churches and receive a blessing to acknowledge their relationship.