Bishop Nicholas Holtam is the first major bishop in England to come out in support of the Church’s recognizing “gay marriage” according to a report in The Times late this week.
From Ruth Gledhill’s article:
A senior bishop has become the first openly to back gay marriage, provoking another row over an issue that has divided the Church of England.
The Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Rev Nicholas Holtam, has told The Times he believes that there is no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual unions. Next week he will attend his first meeting of the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, where the contentious issue is due to be raised. The synod will also debate whether civil partnership ceremonies can be held in churches.
While the Times article is behind their pay-wall, the Changing Attitudes blog has the essential details along with quotes from the bishop.
“Bishop Nicholas believes there is no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual unions, in total opposition to the Archbishop of York in his Telegraph interview last Saturday.
“All of us have friends, families, relatives, neighbours who are, or who know somebody, in same sex partnerships.
“I’m no longer convinced [that marriage can only be between heterosexual people]. I think same-sex couples that I know who have formed a partnership have in many respects a relationship which is similar to a marriage and which I now think of as a marriage. And of course now you can’t really say that a marriage is defined by the possibility of having children.”
Bishop Nicholas says that in the Church, marriage is defined by two people promising to love each other faithfully for life in the context of a sexual relationship, and that they might have children. But he believed that the Church was “moving towards” the recognition of gay relationships.
“Not all heterosexual marriages produce, or even have the potential for, children, so that can’t be the single defining criteria setting them apart from same-sex partnerships.”
The Bishop of Salisbury said he didn’t think it would help if he were to “sublimate” his own views to the views of the Church.
“Part of responsible leadership is having the vision, the sight, to see that’s where I want to go.”