BLESSINGS for same-sex couples is the “best we can do” in the current context, the Archbishop of Canterbury told protesters on Monday evening, in an impromptu conversation outside Lambeth Palace.
Archbishop Welby emerged from the Lambeth Palace gatehouse to defend the proposals made by the College of Bishops last week. LGBTQ+ groups have criticised the Bishops for not recommending the legalisation of same-sex marriage in church (News, 18 January).
FRANCIS MARTIN/CHURCH TIMESThe Archbishop of Canterbury (left) watches Ben Bradshaw MP address demonstrators outside Lambeth Palace
“Let’s do what we can now, and see what happens,” Archbishop Welby said on Monday. “To get something through for equal marriage would require legislation. And legislation has to carry by two-thirds in each house of Synod. . .
“If we go any further [than blessings], it’s three years of legislative fighting, and quite possibly a defeat at the end of it. . . The Bishops together want to do something that avoids that — and the discussion continues.”
About 50 people attended the candlelit vigil, which was organised by Jayne Ozanne, an LGBTQ+ campaigner and member of the General Synod. It was timed to coincide with the arrival of about 90 parliamentarians for a Candlemas service in the chapel at Lambeth Palace.
Protesters sang hymns and prayed together, and held posters and placards calling for same-sex marriage to be permitted within the Church of England. “We just want to know that we’re the same as everybody else,” Ms Ozanne told Archbishop Welby.
The Labour MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw, joined the protest before going to the service, and was among several who challenged the Archbishop to show leadership on the issue.
“I have been very instrumental carrying it as far as I could, to get things to where we are today. I don’t have the votes to go further,” Archbishop Welby replied.
READ ON BELOW…Welby joins protesters outside Lambeth Palace to defend Bishops’ same-sex stance