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Church of England to consider dropping celibacy question for gay clergy

Meka Beresford January 22, 2017
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Archbishop Of Canterbury Justin Welby

Archbishop Of Canterbury Justin Welby (Fiona Goodall/Getty)

The Church of England has been urged to turn a “blind eye” to gay clergy members sex lives as part of a push to eradicate homophobia in the church.

Currently gay clergy members are asked to remain celibate when they change jobs or seek out a promotion to Bishop in order to carry out relationships with people of the same gender.

However, discussions are due to take place in the House of Bishops in which a proposal to overhaul the system will be introduced.

If the motion passes, LGBT clergymen will not face an inquisition into their private lives upon joining the church.

The new proposal comes as the Church of England faces mounting pressure to become more open to homosexuality.

14 married gay and lesbian clergy who make up Changing Attitudes, a C of E pressure group, called for a relaxation on gay relationships,

In September, a number of clerics revealed that 11 bishops were gay which sparked a meeting to discuss the Church’s attitude towards the LGBT community.

The Synod will consider the recommendations put forward in February.

If no movement is made to increase acceptance and intolerance, members have suggested that they will engage in protest in the form of civil disobedience. For example, celebrating marriages elsewhere.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who is in a civil partnership, criticised the policy. Bradshaw believes that it will just promote secrecy and clergy people would still be expected to remain celibate.

He told the Sunday Times: “It is progress for them to stop asking the celibacy question but it still leaves the Church of England policy based essentially on dishonesty and encouraging its clergy to lie.”

Related topics: Church, Church of England, clergy, Homosexuality, LGBT, Religion

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