Church of England: homosexual couples cannot marry in church but clergy can hold blessings for same-sex civil partnerships

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – The Church of England has announced it cannot change its doctrine to allow same-sex couples to be married in the church but proposes that clergy may voluntarily choose to hold blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples in civil marriages, the Guardian UK reports. The “historic plans” announced on Wednesday represent a form of compromise after decades of anguished debate within the Church of England over the acceptance of .

According to the Church of England canon law, “holy matrimony” can only be between one man and one woman; this doctrine cannot be changed without majority approval, which is currently lacking, the Guardian reports. U

Under the proposal, same-sex couples would still be prohibited from marrying in a Church of England church, and no clergy would be required to conduct ceremonies of blessing on the couple in church if they were not in agreement with it.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Stephen Cottrell, the archbishop of York, said: “For the first time, people in same-sex [civil] marriages, in civil partnerships, can come to the church for their relationships to be acknowledged, dedicated, and they can receive God’s blessing.”

The plans have been endorsed by bishops this week and will be put to the Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod, next month, the Guardian reports.

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said: “This response reflects the diversity of views in the Church of England on questions of sexuality, relationships and marriage – I rejoice in that diversity, and I welcome this way of reflecting it in the life of our church.”

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