The Church of England on Wednesday
rejected a report opposed to marriage equality.
The Marriage and Same Sex
Relationships after the Shared Conversations report by the House
of Bishops was released last month at a cost of more than £300,000.
It called for the church to uphold its current teaching that
marriage is a heterosexual union and reaffirm the view that gay
clergy must remain celibate and cannot bless the marriages of gay and
lesbian couples. The report's authors called on the church to take
“a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for the LGBT
While a majority of bishops and laity
voted to “take note” of the report, a majority of clergy rejected
the report's findings.
Dozens of demonstrators protested the
report. Holding signs which read “Proud to be gay … Now make me
proud to be Christian” and “Synod should reject bigot's report,”
they stood outside as church leaders voted on whether to accept the
Colin Coward, a minister and director
of Changing Attitude, told the AFP during the protest that a change
in tone on the issue is a “superficial proposal.”
“Christ talked about a God of
infinite, unconditional love. I don't think the Church – this is a
shocking thing to say – really understands what that is,” he
The wider Anglican Communion has 85
million members worldwide. The Episcopal Church in the United States
in 2015 decided it would allow religious weddings for gay couples.
But in several countries with large Anglican congregations, such as
South Sudan and Nigeria, homosexuality is either illegal or strongly