CofE report highlights ‘diversity’ of views on same-sex marriage

The Church of England remains deeply divided on the issue of same-sex marriage, a report on the highly controversial resource Living in Love and Faith (LLF) has revealed.

The report’s authors said feedback on LLF had revealed a “diversity of views” within the church, with same-sex marriage a “persistent theme” in consultation responses.

Currently the law prevents CofE churches from performing same-sex weddings, due to the strong protections under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

Differing views

The report claimed that most of the comments on same-sex marriage expressed the hope that the LLF Course “might contribute to the ‘acceptance of same sex marriage’ or ‘blessing of same sex partnerships’.”

But it accepted that a number “presented the opposing view, speaking against such a change in doctrine”.

One respondent said: “I hope it will lead to greater empathy and inclusion and that the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman till death us do part will be upheld.”

Another submitted: “I hope that the national Church will make a firm resolution to confirm the present situation. I also hope that there will not be any change to the form of marriage or any blessing of same sex relationships”.

Biblical authority

Over 6,400 people responded to an LLF Course questionnaire and discussion groups were formed from these individuals.

In its findings, the report stated: “the use of the Bible in the LLF Course was one of the most discussed topics in the focus groups”.

“There were strong views expressed by many participants that important parts of Scripture were not included or not handled appropriately.”

Comments included: “The Bible was not treated as the main authority” and “there was not enough biblical content”.


Revd Dr Ian Paul, a member of the Church of England Evangelical Council, told Premier Christian News that the report exposed “two completely opposite views” in the Church of England.

There are those in the report who say “we must recognise and bless same sex relationships”, and there are others who advocate upholding “the biblical view, the teaching of Jesus, that marriage is between one man and one woman”.

He added: “And I think there you have the problem we’ve got in the Church of England. You’ve got two entirely different, and I would say, entirely irreconcilable ideas.”

Road map

According to the LLF roadmap, “the whole Church” is currently meant to be “listening” to what is emerging from “learning together about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage”.

At General Synod in February next year the Church’s Bishops are expected to give “a clear sense of direction about the way forward for the Church regarding matters of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage”.

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