The Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed that he has ‘a lot’ of gay friends.
The leader of The Church of England, Justin Welby, made the comments when asked about his views on the LGBTI community and gay marriage by a group of Muslim sixth form students during a visit to St. Alban’s Academy in Highgate, Birmingham on Monday (23 February).
‘Marriage is between one man and one woman for life and sexual activity should be confined to marriage, that’s in the Church of England’s laws’ he told students, according to The Mirror. ‘I’m equally aware I have a lot of gay friends and I know gay clergy and they are doing incredible work.’
Welby reportedly then discussed his struggle with coming to terms with his acceptance of homosexuality, before going on to say: ‘I’m listening very, very closely to try to discern what the spirit of God is trying to tell us.’
‘I see my own selfishness and weakness and think who am I judge them for their sins, if they have sins. We shouldn’t demonize and dismiss and hate each other as that is so dangerous,’ he added.
Welby has previously suggested several times that he supports same-sex marriage. In 2014, he told a UK newspaper that the Church has done ‘great harm’ to their LGBTI members.
The Church is currently undergoing a ‘shared conversation’ about sexuality, which will see it make a decision about its stance on same-sex marriage at some point in 2016.