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Church of England rejects report that opposes same-sex marriage

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Gay rights campaigners have welcomed the decision by the Church of England’s General Synod.

The church’s democratic governing body has rejected a call for continued opposition to same-sex marriage.

The House of Bishops published the report last month after three years of conversations.

It maintained their view that church marriages should only be between men and women and that they should not bless same-sex unions.

The House of Bishops voted in favour of the report by 43 to 1, while the House of Laity’s vote was more close, eventually coming in favour of the report by 106 votes to 83.

However, the House of Clergy – made up of vicars, priests and rectors – voted against the notion by 100 votes to 93.

For a report to win the official approval of the church, it has to be voted in favour by all three bodies.

This essentially means that this particular report has effectively been rejected and that Church of England’s ruling body will not “take note” of it.

Stefan Kunze via unsplash.com

Bishops will now have to go away and produce a brand new report on the issue.

“A happy day for all those wanting greater LGBT+ inclusion in the Church of England,” LGBT+ campaigner Vicky Beeching tweeted.

“What happens next? The Bishops will have to create a new Report. Hopefully, one that’s more LGBT-inclusive in tone and practice.

“These are the small, incremental steps by which change comes to the Church of England. Nothing radical happens overnight. Takes patience.”

The Right Reverend Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich, added: “I can guarantee that the House of Bishops will consider carefully and prayerfully all the contributions made in the debate today.

“The Bishops came to this debate committed to listen… We have listened to those who have spoken, and those others who have made contributions to us directly.

“Our ongoing discussions will be informed by what members of Synod and the wider church have said as a result of this report.

“There is no simple and easy answer to this issue beyond committing ourselves to engagement with each other when the views on what we should do are profoundly contested.”

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