Church of England bishops apologised to LGBTQ+ people on Friday, January 20 for the rejection and hostility they have faced, with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby acknowledging that the religious body was still “very divided” on the subject.
The apology comes days after the Church of England set out proposals developed by the bishops that showed it would refuse to allow same-sex couples to get married in its churches but said priests could bless them in church.
In an open letter, the bishops said in an open letter: “We have not loved you as God loves you, and that is profoundly wrong.
“We affirm, publicly and unequivocally, that LGBTQ+ people are welcome and valued: we are all children of God.
“The occasions on which you have received a hostile and homophobic response in our churches are shameful and for this we repent.”
The Church of England, central to one of the world’s oldest Christian institutions, the Anglican communion, stood by its teaching that marriage is between “one man and one woman” in the proposals. Gay marriage is legal in Britain.
A spokesperson for LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall said the Church of England had “once again” fallen short on being inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ+ Christians.
“An apology only goes so far when so many LGBTQ+ Christians have faced hostility and discrimination for who they are.”