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Church of England could hold historic vote on gay marriage in 2022

Church of England could hold historic vote on gay marriage in 2022
Archbishops of Canterbury and York apologise for 'huge damage and hurt' that has been caused to LGBTI+ people

9 November 2020

The Church of England could hold a historic vote on gay marriage as early as 2022, as Archbishops apologised for the "damage and hurt" caused to the LBGTI+ community.

The House of Bishops published its long-awaited report, "Living in Love and Faith", in a bid to hold "open and honest" discussions and learn about gender identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage -- subjects that are controversial within the Christian faith.

In a foreword to the report, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, acknowledged and apologised for the "huge damage and hurt" that has been caused to LGBTI+ people within the church.

The Archbishops also gave an indication of the timeline for "decision-making" on issues such as same sex marriage, saying they hoped to come to conclusions by 2022.

The report also said that while some controversial opinions relate to the ethics and lifestyle of opposite sex relationships and there are questions about gender and pastoral provisions for transgender people, the "most pressing among our differences are questions around same sex relationships".

"We recognise that here decisions in several interconnected areas need to be made with some urgency," it said.

In the foreword, the Archbishops said: "Discernment requires time. Many people wish that we could jump to a quick' decision as a church in England. However, in this process we have been committed to listening to people's life stories, to being open to questions and to understanding each other's views.

"We acknowledge that we, in the Church of England, are just one small part of the Anglican Communion and the universal Christian Church, and of the wider human family.

"In taking time, and yet moving comparatively quickly (at least in terms of the average speed of change in church history), we have sought both to respect the enormous importance of the questions discussed in this book and the fears, anxieties and pastoral impact on those who have been anticipating its outcomes with growing impatience."

This period of "church-wide learning and engagement" is expected to take place next year.

The House of Bishops would then bring the decision-making to a conclusion in 2022, the results of which would be put before Synod.


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