Moscow, February 17, 2017
As previously reported, bishops of the Church of England released last month a report stating that they would not accept gay marriages being celebrated in church. The report was warmly welcomed by some and strongly rejected by others in the Anglican communion.
But now the report, which maintains that marriage is only between a man and a woman, has been rejected by the House of Clergy, reports BBC News. As with the release of the report itself, this latest news has been embraced by some and rejected by others. Campaigner Peter Tatchell said it was a “victory for love and equality,” while conservatives in the community have expressed great disappointment.
The bishops’ report called for a “culture of welcome and support” for homosexual Christians, but many would-be supporters felt it didn’t go far enough by not approving of gay church weddings.
To find official approval the report had to find the support of all three houses in the Anglican communion. The House of Bishops voted 43-1 in favor, and the House of Laity backed it 106-83. However, the House of Clergy, made up of vicars, rectors, and priests, narrowly rejected the report 100-93, with two abstentions.
It’s important to note that the vote was in fact simply symbolic, meaning the ruling body simply is not taking note of the report, but it will inform future work of the House of Bishops, who will now begin working on a new report on the issue.
Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, who supported the report, responded, “The current report is not the end of the story. We will - as the bishops - think again and go on thinking. We will seek to do better.”