By Our Senior Staff Writer
A decision by the Church of England Synod to refuse to endorse the anti-LGBTI exclusion and discrimination advocated by the Church’s Bishops has been hailed as the biggest defeat for the Anglican leadership in many decades.
In a press release issued by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, a longtime gay and lesbian human rights defender and the foundations founder, Peter Tatchell accused the Bishops Report of defending ‘heterosexual superiority’ and opposing same-sex blessings and marriages. “This vote to reject the Bishops’ report is a triumph for love and equality. It is the biggest defeat for the Anglican leadership in many decades,” Mr Tatchell said. He added: “This report defends heterosexual superiority and opposes same-sex blessings and marriages. It totally ignored bisexual, transgender and intersex people.”
Tatchell, who for the last 50 years has vigorously campaigned against church homophobia, claimed that the Bishops recommendations had urged continued discrimination against LGBTI people and that their report had confirmed the church’s opposition to same-sex civil and religious marriages and that they had continued to refuse permission for same-sex civil partnership ceremonies being performed in church. He said: “The church blesses warships and pets but the Bishops refused to countenance the blessing of loving, committed same-sex couples. Their stand against LGBTI equality means that people in lawful same-sex civil marriages will be refused ordination as priests and those already ordained will be denied further appointments, even in secular jobs such as prison and hospital chaplains.”
“This outrageous discrimination is incompatible with the Christian gospel of love and compassion. The Bishops have treated LGBTI clergy and laity as second class, both within the church and the wider society,” added Mr Tatchell. He went on to say: “We are appalled by the church’s mistreatment of LGBTI people and the bishops’ unwillingness to remedy it. LGBTI people want full inclusion and equality, both inside and outside the church. LGBTI Christians are denied equality by the Anglican leadership. They are victims of religious homophobia and this homophobia must be opposed, irrespective of one’s personal views on religion and the church,” he said.