Bishops urge new Church of England stance on gays, but not same-sex marriage


The Church of England should adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gay people but not change its opposition to same-sex marriage, a new report has recommended.

Church law and guidance in marriage should be interpreted in a way that provides "maximum freedom" for homosexuals, a document from the House of Bishops says.

New teachings on marriage and relationships should also be drawn up to replace those introduced in the 1990s, it suggests.

There was also "some support" in the House for the new document including "penitence for the treatment some lesbian and gay people have received at the hands of the Church".

Questioning of candidates for the priesthood should also change, as singling out their personal sexual conduct was seen as "pastorally unhelpful", the report says.

But the report, which will be discussed at the General Synod in February, also said there was still "little support for changing the Church of England's teaching on marriage" - that it is between one man and one woman.