Bishops have instead proposed a blessing and will issue an apology later this week to LGBTQI+ people.
Church of England bishops have refused to back plans for changes that would allow clergy to conduct same-sex marriages.
Instead, they have proposed “prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and for God’s blessing for same-sex couples” and said that they plan to issue an apology later this week to LGBTQI+ people for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they have faced in churches and the impact this has had on their lives.
The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, said that what the Church is offering “is a pastoral, not a legislative way forward”.
However, bishops’ rejection of the recognition of same sex marriage has prompted fury and disappointment from equality campaigners who claim that “we’ve had a tonne of apologies, and no action” and that the Church of England is failing to modernise and keep pace with public opinion, while continuing to harm minority groups.
There had been speculation that the majority of bishops could endorse plans for same sex marriage after the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, became the most senior Church of England cleric to back the proposals, breaking ranks with the Church’s official view.
After he spoke out in November, a number of other serving bishops also spoke out in support of gay marriage.
The bishops met on Tuesday to finalise their recommendations, following six years of consultation and debate on the Church’s position on sexuality – and after decades of deep divisions within the institution on the subject.
Their proposals will be debated next month at General Synod, the Church’s legislative body. Once the proposals have been debated by Synod, the House of Bishops will refine the prayers and then commend them for use.
According to current canon law, no Church of England minister can bless or marry gay couples.
READ ON BELOW…Church of England bishops refuse to back same-sex marriage