Updated again Saturday
The Archbishop of Canterbury will have two separate meetings today relating to LGBT issues:
A meeting between the LGB&T Anglican Coalition and the Archbishop has been arranged for the 18th April. Major points which the Coalition wishes to put to the Archbishop are as follows:
How does the Archbishop intend to get a better understanding and appreciation of the frustration LGBT Christians are experiencing in the Church of England and what plans does he have to address this? How aware is the Archbishop that some parishes are inhospitable places for LGB&T people? Will he take a lead in helping to make it a safer place for them? If so, how and when does he propose to do this? How much experience does the Archbishop have of transgender people, and what are his thoughts and plans for greater transgender inclusion in the Church of England. What are the Archbishop’s views on the Church of England permitting churches to offer prayer and dedication (or prayer and thanksgiving) for couples who have had a civil partnership (or civil marriage) ceremony? What are the Archbishop’s views on liturgies of blessing for same sex couples? What protection can clergy who are in Civil Partnerships expect from diocesan bishops who are openly hostile to such couples and are perceived as deeply homophobic? What opportunities might there be for the care of LGB&T ordinands at theological colleges? The Archbishop’s views on the need for greater education on LGB&T issues within the Church of England. The Archbishop’s views on the House of Bishops reports on Civil Partnerships and Human Sexuality.
Second in the afternoon he will meet Peter Tatchell. There is a press statement about that also: Archbishop Welby to meet Peter Tatchell. This follows the open letter he sent to the archbishop which TA reported here.
There are several reports of the second meeting in the media; the press release from Peter Tatchell is here: Archbishop Welby struggles to support gay equality.
Telegraph Archbishop backs law change to allow straight civil partnerships
Independent New Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, backs civil partnerships for heterosexual couples
Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury ‘supports civil partnerships for heterosexuals’
Reuters Anglican head holds talks on gay marriage with activist
Peter Tatchell has written this further article: Discrimination is unchristian. The church must stop it.
…Archbishop Welby is clearly struggling to reconcile his support for loving, stable same-sex relationships with his opposition to same-sex marriage. I got the impression that he wants to support gay equality but feels bound by church tradition. He accepts that discrimination is not a Christian value but can’t bring himself to state publicly that banning gay couples from getting married is discrimination and wrong.
The Archbishop told me “gay people are not intrinsically different from straight people” but there is an “intrinsic difference in the nature of same-sex relationships” and this is a sufficient reason to deny gay couples the right to marry, even in civil ceremonies in register offices. When pressed to say why this “intrinsic difference” justified banning same-sex marriage he merely replied: “They are just different.”
I’m an optimist. I want to believe the best in people. That’s why I am hopeful that in time the Archbishop will resolve his moral dilemmas and encourage the church to move closer to gay equality. He struck me as a genuine, sincere, open-minded person, willing to listen and rethink his position. I’m ready to give him a chance. Time will tell…