Many have welcomed the move, but others believe the decision on same-sex marriage has only been delayed for another two years.
Following close to three years of arguments had behind closed doors, the Church of England has publicly supported marriage equality, The Daily Mail reports. The Church paved the way forward for same-sex marriages, and a group of archbishops has since apologized for the "damage and hurt" they caused to the LGBTQ+ community. Now, a team led by the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, will allegedly formulate the "way forward for the Church in relation to human identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage." The announcement is monumental as the Church has played a crucial role in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
The Church of England could reverse its opposition to same-sex marriage by as early as 2022 https://t.co/NlIiE9CQk2— The Times (@thetimes) November 10, 2020
Church leaders admitted that "talk of truth, holiness, and discipleship has been wielded harshly," oppressing members of the LGBTQ+ community for several decades. In order to put their best foot forward, they have released a book that is 480 pages long. The book is accompanied by films, podcasts, and education courses to best explore the issue in a nuanced manner. In the foreword to the book, Archbishop Welby, in collaboration with Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, that the Church of England should be ashamed of, for so long, causing hurt to LGBTQ+ folks.
"The Church of England's two most senior figures apologized on Monday for the 'huge damage and hurt' caused to #LGBT+ people, as the church published a package of teaching materials covering sexuality and gender identity." https://t.co/FHYpAC2bff #LGBT #LGBTQ— LGBT+ News (@mondokoosh) November 9, 2020
They wrote, "As soon as we begin to consider questions of sexual identity and behavior, we need to acknowledge the huge damage and hurt that has been caused where talk of truth, holiness, and discipleship has been wielded harshly and not ministered as a healing balm. Especially amongst LGBTQ+ people, every word we use—quite possibly including these in this very foreword, despite all the care we exercise—may cause pain. We have caused, and continue to cause, hurt and unnecessary suffering. For such acts, each of us, and the Church collectively, should be deeply ashamed and repentant. As archbishops, we are personally very sorry where we have contributed to this."
The book was produced with the help of The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Christopher Cocksworth. "There is no doubt that there are certain decisions in 2022 that the Church will have to face," he stated. "There are some who feel this doctrine of marriage is ripe for development." The "doctrine" in question is expected to be completed in the next two years, following discussions concluding next year. This will hopefully lead to "a timely conclusion in 2022 which would then be put before Synod." The Synod has the power to enact legally-binding rules, through the process of doing so is quite complex and tedious. Nonetheless, should the deliberations go well, the Church of England could be the first to solemnize same-sex marriage in 2025.
To all those who say we must 'listen & learn' to the 'other side', may I respectfully remind them that some of us lived under the teachings of the 'other side' and it nearly killed us.— Jayne Ozanne (@JayneOzanne) November 9, 2020
Homophobic teaching, no matter how civilly expressed, is both dangerous & harmful. Full stop! pic.twitter.com/lSvdFx7TxM
The Church has been divided on the issue since 1987, when its parliament, the General Synod, first voted to maintain the conservative idea that same-sex relationships were sinful. The Church has since been fraught with intense debate on the matter. Therefore, many have celebrated the recent development. Jayne Ozanne, a prominent LGBTQ+ campaigner and former member of the Archbishop's Council, welcomed the apology but reminded everyone: "Listening and learning [are] not enough. We need to act now to ensure that safeguards are put in place to protect LGBTQ+ people."
It is indeed ground breaking - so grateful to all those who have spoken out in Catholic Church, including @JamesMartinSJ— Jayne Ozanne (@JayneOzanne) October 21, 2020
Today is a wonderful day that will bring hope to millions, and provide a challenge to all who see their faith as a reason to discriminate against LGBT people pic.twitter.com/jigZ55Z96Z