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Bishop of Salisbury backs gay marriage

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  1. This man needs to be leading the CoE. His comments particulalry about straight couples who are infertile is a blinding arguement, good on him for making these comments.

    1. Father Ted 3 Feb 2012, 12:07pm

      Yes I hope is promoted above the Archbp of York. This man is a better example of what a Christian should be like.

  2. Finally a thinking person from the CofE speaks out against the unthinking, unprincipled Sentamu. All he has done is state what the whole population already knows about marriage. But well done all the same

    1. Father Ted 3 Feb 2012, 12:09pm

      I don’t think you can call Sentamu unprincipled, just that his principles are totally flawed and ill-founded.

      1. He is deeply unprincipled because he wishes to curtail the religious freedom of those who disagree with him, yet he himself has bemoaned the perceived loss of religious freedom – but only that of those who share his particular views.

        His comments about dictatorship were offensive to all those who weren’t lucky enough, as he was, to escape with their lives from the dictatorship of Idi Amin, and be accepted by a free democratic country – then to make the perverse comparison to the expression of freedom and the right to self determination we have in the UK is unprincipled and inflammatory.

        1. I agree it’s offensive, inflammatory and plain wrong. However he believes he’s making a principled stand, unless he’s just playing to his homophobic audience in Jamaica, and if he is, then he has principles, but they are totally wrong- headed.

          1. Precisely what are his principles?

            He would tell you they are love and compassion. Would you accept that?

  3. Good to see progress within the church on this. All he says is true, although it should also be said that gay couples are not infertile and many do have children.

    1. Martin Lawrence 3 Feb 2012, 3:20pm

      True, but their biological ability to produce children merely between the two of them is not an issue in their marriage. I think this was the point that +Sarum was making. Or, to put it another way, perpetuating the human race is not a sine qua non of marriage. But what else than sense would you expect from a former Rector of St Martin in the Fields, with it’s great ministry to the poor and homeless of London, along with patron of the arts, and goodness knows what else. Catholic in the real sense of the word.

  4. its good to see someone senior from cofe making positive comments, but such comments are rarity, majority of establishment and congregation of cofe take rather strong opposite view and that just in the uk branch of cofe. The fight just begun, the strongest opposition will come from the roman catholic church, watch out for an alliance of both denominations and their unequivocal opposition to equal marriage.

    1. Father Ted 3 Feb 2012, 12:14pm

      With the legal action by the gay deselected bishop, followed by this, maybe we are seeing the beginning of a backlash against the intolerance of the noisier bunch, who I do not believe to be a majority of the C of E in this country.

  5. vversatile 3 Feb 2012, 11:12am

    He always has been very pro LGBT equality.
    The article mentions that he was previously vicar of St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square which has hosted many gay memorial services.
    He also appeared in the final part of BBC4’s “History of Christianity” a couple of years ago calling for the church to treat gay people equally.

  6. GingerlyColors 3 Feb 2012, 11:15am

    It is almost 500 years since the Church of England separated from Rome because of Henry VIII’s questionable sex-life. I believe that while the CofE should be able to continue giving moral guidance to our society which is beset with numerous problems such as crime, drugs and gambling, the Church needs to evolve if it is to survive in the 21st Century. I am agnostic myself but I am aware that some of the corresondents here are Christian as well as gay.

    1. “I am aware that some of the corresondents (sic) here are… gay”

      Lol…. what gave it away? Because it’s a gay news site?

      1. He’s simply acknowledging a basic point within his response, regarding him being agnostic & acknowledging gay Christians. Why didn’t you respond with a worthwhile point? I think it’s great that a Bishop, married with 4 kids so surely straight, is supporting gay marriage, with a credible supporting statement re Infertile couples allowed & not stopped from being married, that beats the old argument re Can only be married if able to procreate.
        As a gay Christian, I would really appreciate being able to marry my partner in a Christian church, which doesn’t have to be Catholic or C of E. I feel that Bishop Holtam is a genuine man who has spoken from the heart without marginalising anyone. I hope he receives support rather than condemnation for his wise comments, though judging from recent comments re gay marriage from bishops, I won’t be expecting any support from many. I hope that Dr Jeffrey John will jointly support gay marriage with Bishop Holtam & that his court case will be successful.

    2. John Antrobus 3 Feb 2012, 8:56pm

      Why do you believe the CofE should be giving moral guidance to our society? What’s the basis of their moral guidance? I know what mine is and it has nothing to do with God.

    3. I agree that CofE & Catholic church are able to give moral guidance to society on some issues, though not when their point of view marginalises people or doesn’t challenge corrupt regimes. I think it’s great that a Bishop, married with 4 kids & straight, is supporting gay marriage, with a credible supporting statement re Infertile couples allowed & not stopped from being married, that beats the old argument re Can only be married if able to procreate. As a gay Christian, I would really appreciate being able to marry my partner in a Christian church, which doesn’t have to be Catholic or C of E. I feel that Bishop Holtam is a genuine man who has spoken from the heart without marginalising anyone. I hope he receives support rather than condemnation for his wise comments, though judging from recent comments re gay marriage from bishops, I won’t be expecting any support from many. I hope Dr Jeffrey John will jointly support gay marriage with Bishop Holtam & his court case will be successful

  7. Fabulous to see a bishop taking a clear and unambiguous stance on equal marriage with a sense of humility and leadership.

    The passages of his interview with The Times that I particularly found helpful were:

    “… couples that I know who have formed a partnership have in many respects a relationship which is similar to marriage and which I now think of as marriage …”

    ” … of course you can’t really say that a marriage is defined by the possibility of having children …”

    “… Would you say that an infertile couple who were knowingly infertile when they got married weren’t in a proper marriage? No, you wouldn’t”

    “… children can’t be the single defining criteria setting [heterosexual relationships] apart from same sex partnerships”

    Great leadership, great understanding,, great pastoral care for those who share his beliefs (and who do not) .. hope he continues to be brave in his statements

  8. At last! Someone in the CoE gets it!

    The tide has turned against the Church for all of it’s discrimination and prejudice. Ordinary people have turning there backs on the church and who can blame them?

    Personally I think the church will go ‘nuclear!’ It has been under attack for so long the only people still left in the Church are die-hards and extremists, all of the decent people have gone.

    1. Molly Grace McNeill 3 Feb 2012, 2:21pm

      yes! and this is very sad. i am a church organist and have seen them all and played for them all. the decent people have gone. my question is where have they gone?

      1. We’ve left the chuch Molly, i left when i was told by my church that it was my fault that my son is gay.
        i do still occasionally go into a church and sing for a choir when they do choral evensong, but its only for the music now. Sad isn’t it?

  9. de Villiers 3 Feb 2012, 12:31pm

    It is far better for liberals and gay Christians to engage with their church in order to try and act as a liberalising influence on it – as with all institutions.

    1. Round objects. i can just about understand this view in the case of the C of E, which has a quasi-democratic consitution (I personally think the sky will fall in before any gay couple get married licitly in a C of E church, but I might be wrong). but in the case of the Church of Rome, which is an autocracy, or the evangelical churches at the other religious extreme, you know, being a bright guy, that you are pi**ing in the wind. There is no chance to liberalise so all you are doing by staying is contributing your time and money to fundamentally homophobic institution there is no chance of changing. make a choice – and get out! (PS and you won’t have to be celibate either :-) )

      1. @Harry

        Given that the Bishop of Salisbury used to hold blessings in his church for same sex couples who sought them and went through similar planning that engaged couples do before marriage, before he became the bishop of Salisbury – then I strongly suspect a gay couple will get married in a CofE church at some point. I concede there may be a few without official synod approval initially … it may also lead to a split in the church … but sometimes being fair and reasonable to everyone is a risk worth taking … the bishop clearly thinks so …

        1. Galadriel1010 3 Feb 2012, 4:50pm

          But would they be legal as the situation stands? I’d happily stick two fingers up at the establishment by going through it in church, but as far as I can tell it wouldn’t be legal because the venue wouldn’t be licensed for it

          1. You are correct Galadriel

          2. @Galadriel1010

            It would be an interesting test case …

            Each CofE vicar who can officiate at a wedding is entitled to decide not to marry a couple (be that for prior divorce or some tanglible moral reason that the vicar declines to support) …

            If they are entitled to make that choice, then surely each individual CofE vicar should be entitled to make a decision as to whether or not to engage in supporting a gay couple in a CP ceremony in church …. (and in marriage when it becomes legal) …

            The synod may disagree, but it would be a test case for both civil and ecclesiastical law …

            The CP itself would be legal (as the vicar would act as regiistrant) – whether church law was broken would be a separate matter …

          3. Galadriel1010 3 Feb 2012, 9:03pm

            @Stu But if the civil partnership doesn’t take place in a venue licensed for it, even if that venue is licenced for civil weddings (some hotels, for example), the partnership isn’t legally binding. If religious venues have to be approved by the governing body to be licensed, and the Synod doesn’t allow it, then surely the same rules will apply in that case?

          4. @Galadriel1010

            I would have to double check …

            I think the wording of the statute is “licensed for the purposes of weddings and civil partnerships”, thus if its licensed for weddings, its licensed for civil partnerships …

          5. @stu If it is a secular venue it must be licensed for both (example that bigot in Devon who was banned from holding civil weddings because he wouldn’t hold CPs) but the C of E as ever is a special case.

          6. @Harry

            I get where you are coming from, but I still think it could be an interesting test case as religious premises still have to be registered for weddings – thus under the guise of the Equalities Act could this be seen (legitimately in law) as excluding CPs (particularly so if the religious leader at that premises has no theological or moral problems in conducting such a ceremony).

            The guidance re marriage from the Department for Communities states:
            “A civil ceremony can take place in a Register Office or other building licensed for marriage ceremonies. The ceremony is conducted by a Registration Officer; it must be of a strictly none religious nature. A religious ceremony can take place in a church, chapel or other building of religious worship which has been formally registered for marriage ceremonies.”

            Civil Partnership is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.

            I think a case could be put if the building is licensed for marriage and the religious leader approved

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Feb 2012, 12:35pm

    Thank you, Bishop Holtam! What a breath of fresh air this is. Absolutely wonderful! I hope this snowballs and more of the hierarchy declare support putting Rowan Williams in a very difficult position of course. I loved Bishop Holtam’s reference to contraception and that children are no longer part of the defining criteria for marriage. It’s quite a powerful statement. I suspect he won’t be the only bishop and if this causes a schism in the Anglican communion , so be it. Let all of the opposing bishops defect to the Roman church where they really belong.

    1. The coming schism can’t arrive soon enough. I’m tired of the CoE’s policies being dictated by Nigerians and Ugandans who can’t even be bothered hiding their wishes for us to be wiped out. Let them form their own church if that’s what they want to preach, and let the CoE move forward into the 21st Century.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 3 Feb 2012, 3:31pm

        The fact that more than 100 C of E clergy support a religious component for CPs and with one Bishop supporting marriage equality, I think it’s unstoppable. The horse is out of the barn and there’s no way it’s going back in. I suspect Williams will issue an admonishment to these clergy, but he’d better be prepared for a backlash and more to come from those among his clergy who support us. I would love to see them break away and establish their own Episcopalian style of Anglicanism which would make the C of E irrelevant even more so.

  11. Paddyswurds 3 Feb 2012, 12:57pm

    Why does Pink News insist on calling Marriage Equality “Gay Marriage” when that clearly is not what the gay community want. We want equality, nothing more or less and clearly Gay marriage is less than full equality.

  12. I like him. He is talking my language :-) I hope and pray that his thinking and his example will be followed by the other intelligent priests in the CofE.

  13. Perhaps he should go and talk some sense into Dr Sentamu…

  14. Good for him! How nice to hear from a more enlightened Christian after recent comments from Carey and Sentamu. I hope Bishop Holtam goes far. The C of E could do with someone like him in a high position – someone who totally gets it.

  15. OOOPS, Sorry i’ve just “bad Commented” 3 reader comments when i meant to GOOD COMMENT them. Sorry about that. Will be more careful next time.
    This Bishop is great!!! Good on him for speaking out.

    1. 5 hail marys Lizzie !

      I once did that in an absent minded moment –but didnt think of owning up like you ! x

  16. Andy Robertson 3 Feb 2012, 2:27pm

    I just rang his office and personally thanked him – seemed quite touched by that!

    why not do the same – 01722 334031
    or email:
    bishop.salisbury@salisbury.anglican.org

    1. Marvellous idea, Andy

      Have sent a quick email

      1. I had a lovely email back from the Bishops office thanking me for my encouraging email …

        I appreciated the following line:

        “Much that is dehumanising and cruel has been done by Christians for so long and its time that this was challenged.”

        1. It gets worse! 4 Feb 2012, 8:26pm

          That should read ‘alleged Christians’. Jesus said to do love your neighbour and that God would be the judge of the wicked ones and the perverts..
          Of course Jesus condemned immorality an fornication and sought repentance from such ones, not continuance.
          Any homosexual sex is fornication in the biblical in the iew since homosexuals cannot marry in the biblical sense, it being a man and woman joined in wedlock.
          The Bishop is probably a fudge packer himself and therefore will disregard the bible in favour of his own urges. It begs the question why become a vicar anyway?
          I would say that the amount of homosexual child abuse amongst the clergy wil answer the question in some cases.

  17. Peter & Michael 3 Feb 2012, 2:41pm

    Hoorah !! What a sensible man !

  18. Father Lovejoy 3 Feb 2012, 4:38pm

    God Bless the Bishop for supporting gay marriage and the love between two people, we need more men like him and more love between people and more marriage and not less.

  19. Galadriel1010 3 Feb 2012, 4:52pm

    It’s great to see poeple starting to stand up at last. It really does feel like the dam is giving way. Changing Attitude have just launched a petition to ask the general synod to allow civil partnerships in chruch, as well.

  20. Thank you thank you thank you!!! You are the PERFECT example of a good Christian Bishop Holtam and what Christianity says it is meant to be about!

  21. For anyone who may wish to thank him here’s where you may be able to contact him!

    Bishop’s Chaplain and Press Officer
    The Revd Jonathan Ball
    01722 334031, bishops.chaplain@salisbury.anglican.org

    1. I’ve just emailed him to thank him!!!

      1. The Cutting Edge Consortium is delighted by Nick Holtam’s courageous stance, not least because he’s one of the keynote speakers at our National Conference, ACHIEVING OUR EQUALITY: CHALLENGING FAITH-BASED HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA, 21 April 2012 – http://www.cuttingedgeconsortium.co.uk

  22. disease free! 3 Feb 2012, 9:36pm

    The Bishop only takes this anti biblical stance since he is a fudge packer himself!

    1. How he ever got through four conceptions is beyond me….

    2. You are so right. He really ought to be stoning blasphemers and lenders of money at interest and selling all his goods to benefit the poor.

      1. It gets worse! 4 Feb 2012, 12:01pm

        Why? Is he also an Israelite subject to the Mosaic covenant to which he agreed to be subject of, as the israelites did?
        Why do the confused hmoosexual disorder brigade always confuse the Mosaic law with Christian commandments which replaced the Mosaic law? Commandments that Christians hve never bn subject to nor agreed to.
        The homesexuals ought not to invoke sacred scripture no so as not to appear terminally stupid…or…. learn the bible and it’s moral code.

        1. Galadriel1010 4 Feb 2012, 1:45pm

          Luke 18, 22-25: Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything he has and give the money to the poor, and that is it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Same story in Mark 10, 21-22 and Matthew 20, 21-22.

          Lending money at interest is more complicated (especially when the only copy of the bible I have to hand is the children’s bible I got when I was 10). Jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple, but there was also the parable of the three servants (Luke 18, 11-27). He does, however, tell his followers that it’s better to lend without interest and without expectation of getting it back. (Luke 6, 34)

          As to stoning blasphemers, you’re right that he wasn’t much down with that. He preferred to leave the judgement to God. There’s quite a lot of people who could do with following his example there.

          1. There’s quite a lot of people who could do with following his example there.

            Nicely said, Galadriel.

            (You hear that, Keith? My, how determined, one could say to a positively diseased degree, you are to prattle away on a gay website.)

        2. Christians are highly selective and picky about what bits of Torah they can disregard, as they are about Jesus’ reported ethical concerns, and the situation changes over time. The Church vituperated against usury for centuries and then decided it ought to keep on the right side of the new capitalist economies. Jesus’ insistence, according to the gospels, that forgiveness of one’s neighbour and giving all one’s goods to the poor are essential to justification before God is generally ignored by Christians, whose religion is based on an invented supernatural ‘Christ’ who is believed to do the trick of appeasing God’s irritation with us. Your accusation that others are ignorant of the chaotic mish-mash that is the Bible is a pathetic smoke-screen. You simply have a blinkered and selective fundamentalist’s view of it, as well as silly supernatural beliefs about it. Now go away – KEITH.

          1. disease free! 4 Feb 2012, 7:35pm

            Ephesians 2:15 makes it abundantly clear that the law and all it’s decrees was to be replaced. Indeed, the law was merely a precursor to Jesus points out Galations 2:24. Indeed, Jesus was called the ‘Greater Moses’
            I am no interested in the history of the Church who have never taught from the bible anyway. I would be more inclined to belive Churches are more rrehensible than homosexuals since they make their flocks subjects for judgement also whilst homosexuals often act out of ignorance of divine command, something the church cannot claim.
            My main point still stands, that Christians are not and never have been under Mosaic law and it’s many decrees. Of course many aspects of the law are also embraced in the Christian comand such as love your neighbor. This would mean that it would be wrong to murder, steal, covet, knowingly spread killer disease etc!

    3. Galadriel1010 4 Feb 2012, 1:53pm

      Biblical citations please. And, as It Gets Worse has pointed out, anything in the Old Testament is irrelevant.

      I’ll start with 1 Corinthians, 7, in which Paul says that it is better to devote one’s life to God rather than marry, but that if you can’t resist sexual sin then you should marry.

  23. Salisbury Cathedral is to my mind and soul the mystic heart of the Christian Mythos. The building floats. The designs are in tune with magical Cathedrals like Chartres. To have this man’s voice resonating within this most sacred precinct is perfect Grace.

  24. David Lodge 5 Feb 2012, 8:13am

    Congratulations-so far. The bishop seems to recognise that attitudes to homosexuality in the Bible are culturally based. With a little more clear thinking he could see that half the Sermon on the Mount was Greek stoicism, hardly appropriate for the modern capitalist world, the notion of forgiveness is a hopeless doctrine of the oppressed not suitable for universal democracy and law and the idea of heaven is based on a primitive cosmology that disregards modern science. However, I fully support the idea that marriage should be for all who want to make a lifelong commitment and a civil partnership should be a contract that kicks in automatically if people live together and share property or children.

  25. This is actually a weary reply to Keith (the reply box was not working for some reason) – As usual you dodge the points that are put to you. You pretend that there is no conflict between the Pauline, Johannine and generally early Christian nonsense about Jesus being a divine supernatural cure-all and Jesus’ own evident preocupations, which were simply ethical and sometimes apocalyptic. Quoting super-salesman Paul’s desperate assurances to his pagan punters that they didn’t need to obey Torah to be in the new cult hardly addresses that. The conflicts between him and others outlined in Acts show quite clearly that many of Jesus’ very first followers didn’t think Torah could be dispensed with. And it is beyond ludicrous to ignore the long and tortuous history of the Church – you wouldn’t have a ‘Bible’ in the first place if the very same Church hadn’t pulled it all together and called it so.

    1. It gets worse! 5 Feb 2012, 11:44am

      Perhaps you should read Acts chapter 15 where it shows that a decision is reacehd among he Apostles in Jerusalem, including Paul, that they were no longer under the ‘burden’ of the law . Chapter 11 points out that the undeserved kindness of Jesus (sacrifice for sins) was now hte means for salvation. From then on, the Mosaic law was completely dispensed with and none sought otherwise.
      Galatians 2:24 says that the law was a tutor leading to Christ and that now faith (expectation of Messianic arrival fulfilled )has arrived, the tutor is no longer needed.
      By your logic, Christ did for nothing since the law and it’s sacrifics are able to redeem men. If you understood yu would know that Mosaic law could never redeem fallen man and a perfect man(Jesus) was required.
      I grow weary of sophomoric responses.!

      1. It gets worse! 5 Feb 2012, 11:50am

        The Churches you see to day are the false prophets Jesus warned of. The fact that they condone war belies their Christian claim.
        The first century (long before the pagan Catholic Church arose as predicted )Christians neither engaged in warfare nor politics of the day. .They DID however carry the bible in scroll form. You are quite wrong to suggest the bible was ‘pulled together’ by th later churches. It was formerly called the law , the PROPHETS AND THE WRITINGS.
        The later Catholic churches deemd as heretic, and tortured any person that sought to translate the bibe into common language for the people. Hence, wolves in sheeps clothing

      2. I grow weary of your superstitious drivel, including the obscene Christian nonsense about Jesus’ wretched torture and death being magically efficacious for us. He fell foul of an oppressive imperial state and you guys invented supernatural crap about him. End of.

        1. It gets worse! 5 Feb 2012, 4:09pm

          Then don’t engae or reply and if you ckoose to, bone up! Your understanding of scripture is lamntable.

        2. It gets worse! 5 Feb 2012, 5:23pm

          Could you be any more misinformed and ignorant. The Romans had no interest in Jesus and his work. It was the Jew (his own race) that arrested and tried. They would also have executed hmi if they were allowed to but under Roman law they were not.That is why they handed himover to Pilate on fales charges of sedition.
          Pilate had no desire to execute an obviously innocent man and tried to have him released.
          I realy think you shold be researching before your embarrassingly ignorant paraphrasing of the bible. Please remain silent if you lack teaching ability.
          Peole may accept your nonsense out of ignorance!

          1. I really think you should put your brain in gear before falling for tacky New Testament propaganda written by Christians under imperial rule about the ‘nice’ Romans. The latter strung up real, or potential, rabble-rousers, as political insurance. Indifference to their religion was hardly relevant. Stop patronisiing others for not sharing your ludicrously naive beliefs about an ancient book.

    2. Riondo, why bother? Your evidently broad knowledge and good sense are wasted on unbalanced zealots like Keith, who are just too caught up in their diseased obsessions and self-obsession to be open to reason. Don’t feed the sad little troll.

      1. You are, of course, right. I must exercise more self-control when confronted with wilful idiocy. But it can be difficult.

        1. I do find iit difficult not to bite at Keith …

          I just relish in the joy of PN and the police now co-operating in an investigation against him

          1. It gets worse! 5 Feb 2012, 4:15pm

            This comment will haunt you as I ontinue to taunt you regarding the arrest that will never come. A bit like the quote that never came when I asked you to produce the allged post (within a day)where you claimed I said AIDS is a homosexual disease.
            I am still waiting months later. What gives? Did you lie or are you easily confused?

          2. Have you taunted me, haven’t noticed …

            No I didnt lie. Nor am I confused. I spoke to police several months ago but for reasons that I shall not go into, there were a few technicalities that needed to be considered first by police … clearly they have as they took a statement from me around 4 weeks ago about you) and PN clearly are also involved in the investigation …Perhaps you saw the comment by Benjamin Cohen a couple of days ago about the active police investigation?

            Better get a suit prepared and find a good solicitor – going to need one …

    3. I’m afraid I back Sentamu, not Holtam, The bible is perfectly clear

      1. So why did the early church engage in same sex marriages, Hedgie??

      2. It isn’t anything of the sort, nor is any reason to believe that it is infallibly ‘true’.

      3. Galadriel1010 6 Feb 2012, 12:06pm

        It really isn’t. Not when you take into account what we know today that they didn’t then, like innateness (is that a word) of homosexuality. Paul instructs his followers to marry if they can’t control their sexual urges, which seems perfectly clear to me. If you have a different interpretation then we must assume that actually, it isn’t at all clear.

        1. You can play around with scripture til u r blue in the face,but any remotely clearheaded, godfearing man will know that sodomy is a vile abomination & the bible regards lesbianism as unnatural.

          1. Hear hear

      4. Hedgie
        Well spoken, but never be afraid to defend the truth as contained in scripture.

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