Church of England says no to gay marriage blessings
With gay marriages now to be offered in England and Wales, the Church of England has issued new guidelines to clergy warning against blessing same-sex couples’ weddings.
The recommendation was made by the House of Bishops in response to an internal review commenced last year. The recommendations ban Church of England clergy from conducting same-sex services.
“Services of blessing should not be provided. Clergy should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways,’’ said the guidance, drawn up at a meeting last week.
The recommendation is contrary to a report issued last year, which gave some leniency to priests to mark the formation of same-sex relationship with a public service. This will now be banned.
The recommendations also suggest that people in a same-sex marriage should not be ordained as bishops, priests and deacons, nor should those in the ministry enter into a gay marriage.
Whilst LGBTI people are welcomed in the church, the House of Bishops said they were unwilling to ordain people in same-sex relationships into the three orders of the ministry.
“In addition, it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage.’’
The Bishops stance is largely a symbolic change, as civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been legal in Britain since 2005.