Church of England clergy will be able to recognize and bless same-sex marriages under new proposals revealed today (28 November).
While they gay couples will not be able to be legally married in a church, they will be free to have their union celebrated.
A group of clergymen has recommended they should be able to ‘offer appropriate services to mark a faithful same-sex relationship’.
While some have criticized their decision, the church group has said they should be welcoming and affirming the presence of LGBTI people in the religious community.
‘The church’s teaching on sexuality is in tension with contemporary social attitudes, not only for gay and lesbian Christians but for straight Christians too,’ the report noted.
In the UK, members of the clergy have given blessings to same-sex couples in civil partnerships for years.
While not officially allowed, and it certainly depends on whether your priest is liberal, they are done under the radar.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual head of the Church of England, has admitted there needs to be a ‘revolution’ in attitudes towards homosexuality, saying he understands his views on gay marriage is out of step with the general public.
In England and Wales, same-sex couples will be able to marry from summer 2014. Scotland’s gay marriage legislation recently passed the most crucial vote, and is likely to be made law early next year. There are currently no official plans for equal marriage in Northern Ireland.