More than 40 bishops express support to allow priests in same-sex marriages

44 bishops expressed support for the approval of a Guidance that would remove restrictions on clergy entering same-sex civil marriages.

This article is about bishops supporting same-sex marriages fro priests. In the photo, a priest holding a Bible in their hands.
Image: Via Shuetterstock - Gorodenkoff

A group of 44 Church of England bishops issued a public statement this week expressing their hope that pastoral guidance allowing priests to be in same-sex marriages will be issued “without delay”. 

The statement comes mere weeks after 12 bishops openly dissented from a majority decision to commend prayers for same-sex couples taken by the House of Bishops on October 20. 

On November 1, a new group of bishops, comprised of 15 diocesan bishops and 29 suffragans, issued a statement saying: “[We] recognise the complexities of the Pastoral Guidance in relation to ministry, and also the need for a swift end to the current uncertainty for LGBTQIA+ clergy and ordinands. 

“We look forward to Guidance being issued without delay that includes the removal of all restrictions on clergy entering same-sex civil marriages, and on bishops’ ordaining and licensing such clergy, as well as granting permissions to officiate.”

According to a recent report from the Church Times, such guidance has existed in draft form but has yet to be approved by the House of Bishops, who voted to delay the guidance until “further work” could be completed. The 44 bishops released their statement after some expressed disapproval of such guidance being introduced.

The statement further read: “We know that we will not all agree, but it is our longing that we will find a way that will recognise and honour our different perspectives and the gift we are to each other within the life of the Church of England, such that no one is expected to act against their conscience or theological conviction.

“In all of this we long for the day when LGBTQIA+ people will know themselves to be unquestionably included in the life and all ministries of our Church, and the contributions of each one of us fully accepted and celebrated as simply the offering of a fellow Christian,” the bishops concluded. 

The Church of England held similar proceedings earlier this year, but also refused to allow priests to marry same-sex couples

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