The Church of England, under a proposal made on Wednesday, will refrain from allowing same-sex couples to get married in its churches. It said that the centuries-old institution would continue to abide by its tradition of a marriage between a man and a woman.
The bishops, who are one of the three parts of the Church’s governing body known as the General Synod, developed the proposals following the Church of England’s six-year consultation on sexuality and marriage, and other related subjects, which will be discussed in a meeting to be held next month with the General Synod.
The Church of England is the centre of the wider Anglican communion, representing over 85 million people in more than 165 countries.
The statement, “Same-sex couples would still not be able to get married in a Church of England church”, confirmed that bishops denied supporting a change in teaching to enable priests to marry gay couples.
The proposals stated that same-sex couples can have a service in church for “prayers of dedication, thanksgiving or for God’s blessing on the couple” after a civil marriage. In 2013, gay marriage was legalized in Britain.
The clergy would still use the prayers voluntarily and used in combinations “reflecting the theological diversity of the Church, ” the Church of England stated, indicating that the priests can choose not to offer such blessings.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury said, “I am under no illusion that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, but I hope that what we have agreed will be received in a spirit for generosity seeking the common good.”
Later this week, the Church of England bishops will apologize to LGBTQ+ people for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they go through in churches.
Founded in 1534, the Church of England has been isolated for years to deal with same-sex marriages, with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists battling for the same rights as heterosexual Christians.
Last year, to address this issue, Welby called the bishops to “abound in love for all”. However, he backed the validity of a resolution passed in 1998 that rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.”