The Archbishop of York has issued a lengthy statement: A response on Marriage and Civil Partnerships.
Following reports of my interview, in Jamaica, with Martin Beckford of the Daily Telegraph, I have received a number of letters and emails relating to the views which I shared in that interview, including an open letter from students in the JCR of my beloved college, Selwyn, Cambridge.
Media reports of long interviews are inevitably selective, and the full transcript is available here for clarification: (http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/2338/archbishops-interview-with-the- daily-telegraph).
A number of letters endorsed the points I made in that interview. Others challenged my views, raising a number of points on which my arguments differ from theirs.
I am therefore writing a general open reply to all the issues raised in these letters.
Let me start by setting out the areas where I believe there is agreement.
First, there is no question about the equality of all human beings, “heterosexual” or “homosexual”. None of us is of greater value than anyone else in the eyes of the God who made us and loves us. ‘At the deepest ontological level, therefore, there is no such thing as “a” homosexual or “a” heterosexual; there are human beings, male and female, called to redeemed humanity in Christ, endowed with a complex variety of emotional potentialities and threatened by a complex variety of forms of alienation.’
Second, I have pastorally supported people in same sex relationships even before Civil Partnerships came into being. And it is important to note one aspect of the remarks I made to the Telegraph. The interview took place in Jamaica, a country where homosexual relationships are still criminal acts. It was in this context that I said same sex relationships must not be diminished, condemned, criticised, or patronised in any sort of way.
Some people have expressed surprise that for me it is another thing entirely to say that there is no difference between civil partnerships and marriage. Explaining that difference is not a matter of simple, knock-down arguments or slogans, so I will try to set out my case clearly…