Church of England Endorses Blessing Same-sex Marriage

By Starrys Obazei | February 9, 2023, With agency report

The governing body of the Church of England, Thursday, endorsed plans to let priests offer blessings to same-sex couples, after hours of heated debate highlighted deep Anglican divisions on the issue, AFP reports.

The hundreds of elected members of the Church’s General Synod, which meets two or three times a year, backed the proposals by a wide margin following an eight-hour debate across two days.

A total of 250 bishops, clergy, and laity supported the reforms, while 181 opposed them and 10 abstained, at a vote held at the Church of England Synod gathering in central London.

Unveiled last month after nearly six years of internal debate, the plans, though, will not change rules banning Anglican priests from officiating at weddings of same-sex couples.

Synod members supported an amendment endorsing that stance, while also voting in favour of the proposal to allow blessings for civil marriages or civil partnerships in a church.

They also recognized “the failure of the Church to be welcoming” to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and LGBTQ, people, following an unprecedented apology last month by bishops for the “hostile and homophobic response” they have sometimes faced.

But the moves have sparked a backlash from progressive Anglicans who say the Church is not going far enough, and from critics arguing any changes are divisive and unwelcome.

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