Denver, Colo., Feb 9, 2023 / 12:27 pm
The Church of England’s governing body has voted to bless same-sex couples while leaving unchanged the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman in a move that could nonetheless have global consequences for Christian unity.
“For the first time, the Church of England will publicly, unreservedly, and joyfully welcome same-sex couples in church,” Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said in a joint statement.
“The church continues to have deep differences on these questions which go to the heart of our human identity,” the archbishops continued. They said they are “committed to respecting the conscience of those for whom this goes too far and to ensure that they have all the reassurances they need in order to maintain the unity of the church as this conversation continues.”
Some Anglican leaders objected that the church cannot bless sinful sexual relationships and warned that the vote impairs full unity in the Anglican Communion, while backers of redefining marriage said they would revisit the question in future synods.