On February 15, it was announced that Archbishop Welby had barred same-sex spouses from attending the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade meeting of global Anglican church leaders that is set to go ahead in 2020.
The decision to bar same-sex spouses appears intended to suppress dissent from anti-LGBT+ church leaders within the Anglican Communion, which faces an increasingly fractious split between LGBT-inclusive and anti-LGBT+ churches around the world.
However, Justin Welby is facing sustained criticism for the decision after his representatives claimed it “would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited.”
Condemning the Archbishop’s stance, Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, said he would leave his wife at home in solidarity with gay bishops.
The Bishop, a strong supporter of LGBT+ rights, said: “I deeply regret that in the fractious complexities of our life as a worldwide people this act of exclusion has taken its place.
“It is a grief to me and to my wife, and to many others. Despite this, I aim to attend the Conference, alone, in the hope of a common future.”
Wes Streeting, Gay Labour MP, slammed Welby for the decision, tweeting: “Deliberately excluding same-sex couples in this way brings shame on our Church – and on you.”
I’m not sure how you plan to address ‘hurts and concerns’ by inflicting them, @JustinWelby? Deliberately excluding same-sex couples in this way brings shame on our Church – and on you. pic.twitter.com/mItgZnzAS0
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) February 26, 2019
He was joined by a fellow out Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, who branded the decision “wholly retrograde the unacceptable.”
In a tweet to Welby, Bradshaw wrote: “How can you hope to move forward with an attitude like this?”
Welby has not responded to any criticism of the decision to bar gay spouses from the £4,950-a-head event.
The summit is due to be held at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus in July 2020.
Neither the University of Kent nor the Archbishop of Canterbury returned a request for comment.
The official website for the conference states: “The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is sending personal invitations to every eligible bishop and spouse (excluding same-sex spouses) and that is looking forward immensely to hosting them.”
In a 2017 interview with GQ, Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, warned that divides on LGBT+ issues were “irreconcilable” and admitted he had handled the issue poorly.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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