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CoE bishops, clergy, laity speak out for marriage equality

CoE bishops, clergy, laity speak out for marriage equality

Defying the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York and those leaders who want the word “marriage” reserved for the church’s sacrament, Church of England bishops, clergy and laity are speaking out for all who wish to be married.

The Telegraph reports Bishop Nicholas Holtam’s statement that “church opposition to equal marriage is a ‘disaster.'”

The Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, compared bishops opposing marriage reforms to 18th century Christians who believed slavery was “God-given”.

His intervention will be seen as an attack on traditionalists, including the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who forcefully oppose the Government’s move to change the legal definition of marriage.

It comes as the Church prepares its formal response to David Cameron’s proposals to permit marriage between same-sex couples, before the close of the Government’s consultation in June.

Speaking on Saturday at a conference in London on homophobia in the Church, Bishop Holtam said: “Experience might lead us to be cautious about the certainty with which moral positions are built with Biblical support.

“Before Wilberforce, Christians in this country saw slavery as having Biblical support for what was the God-given in the ordering of creation.

“Most people now see the Church’s avoidance of equality legislation as immoral and it undermines us,” he told the conference, organised by the Cutting Edge Consortium, a coalition of national bodies campaigning for sexual equality in religious organisations.

The bishop added: “It is a disaster that we have allowed the Church to be seen as the opposition to equal marriage.”

Holtham’s speech is available at Thinking Anglicans.

In The Times (as reported by Pink News), Bishop Alan Wilson, the Rev. Canon Giles Fraser and other church leaders write that marriage equality should be a “cause for rejoicing:”

It is our belief that the Church of England has nothing to fear from the introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples. It will be for the churches to then decide how they should respond pastorally to such a change in the law.


Canon Giles Goddard, General Synod, Southwark

The Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans

The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham

The Rt Rev Michael Doe

The Rt Rev John Gladwin

The Rt Rev Lord Harries of Pentregarth

The Rt Rev Peter Selby

The Rt Rev David Stancliffe

The Very Rev David Brindley, Dean of Portsmouth

The Very Rev Graham Smith, Dean of Norwich

The Very Rev Victor Stock, Dean of Guildford

Mrs April Alexander, General Synod, Southwark

The Rev Stephen Coles, General Synod, London

The Rev Clair Herbert, General Synod, London

Mr John Ward LLB, General Synod, London

h/t to Susan Russell


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David Allen

In the second article, I see Canon Giles Gooddard as a signatory, but not the Revd Giles Frasier.

Chris Epting

Good for these courageous clergy and lay folk! We must never think that the C of E is monochrome on these matters, or that the faithful cannot find their own voices when their leaders are silent…or worse.

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