The Church of England is considering allowing gay couples to have their civil partnerships blessed in church.
Insiders have told The Mail on Sunday that a top-level panel of bishops set up to review the Church’s policy on homosexuality is actively discussing the issue.
If the reform is approved, vicars would be permitted to conduct a formal blessing service in church for a same-sex couple who have earlier ‘tied the knot’ at a register office.
Union: Television presenter Clare Balding (right) and Alice Arnold at their civil ceremony in 2006
But any move to relax the ban on such blessings would provoke the biggest split yet in the Church, which is already reeling from rows over women and gay bishops.
One option the panel is expected to consider is a compromise under which gay couples seeking a blessing could be asked to declare they intend to remain celibate, in line with official Church teaching.
But this could create a backlash among gay couples, who would regard it as demeaning to be quizzed about their private lives.
A source close to the working party said that a ‘wide-ranging discussion’ was under way covering a ‘whole range of options’ and recommendations will be made to the House of Bishops later this year.
- more at Mail Online.
- The Church of England criticised over ‘unenforceable’ gay bishop stance (metro.co.uk)
- Church of England lifts ban on gay bishops (aljazeera.com)
- Gay bishops move sparks fresh row (bbc.co.uk)
- Church of England decides to allow gay bishops (scotsman.com)
- Church Of England Says Gay Men Can Be Bishops (news.sky.com)
- Don’t Require Gay Bishops to Be Celibate (forcechange.com)