Report highlights CofE divisions on same-sex marriage
Will the Church of England abandon its historic position and embrace same-sex marriage? That burning question has moved a step closer to resolution as the Church has now published feedback from its highly controversial resource Living in Love and Faith (LLF).
The report surprised no one by showing deep disagreement amongst participants and a diversity of views. The report claimed that most of the comments on same-sex marriage expressed the hope that the LLF course “might contribute to the ‘acceptance of same sex marriage’ or ‘blessing of same sex partnerships’”.
That most LLF participants would feel this way was expected, not because most churchgoers necessarily take that view, but because participation in the course is likely to have been much more popular with those who seek change.
Nonetheless, the report found that a number “presented the opposing view, speaking against such a change in doctrine”.
One respondent said: “I hope it will lead to greater empathy and inclusion and that the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman till death us do part will be upheld.”
The C of E is currently in a “listening” phase, ahead of the General Synod in February next year, when the Bishops are expected to give “a clear sense of direction about the way forward for the Church regarding matters of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage”.
The LLF report was accompanied by an essay encouraging church members to remain united despite their disagreements, perhaps indicating the direction the Church’s leaders would like to take it.
However, the issue is deeply divisive for the Church because it centres on the correct understanding of the Bible, which the Church regards as its authoritative source of teaching. Those who believe it is clear that God designed marriage to be only between one man and one woman see proponents of change as asking the Church to adopt a proposal plainly forbidden by its scriptures.
C4M draws supporters from all faiths and none, united in our belief that real marriage between one man and one woman for life is the gold standard for family life. Experience has shown that abandoning that understanding only leads to its benefits being eroded.