UNITED KINGDOM – The Church of England, on Thursday announced changes in marriage law.
In a statement issued by the House of Bishops, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, the bishops declared that Christians in gay or straight civil partnerships should be sexually abstinent.
According to him, sex is for straight married couples only, adding that a lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows remains the proper context for sexual activity.
The leaders of the Church, however, warned that churchgoers with civil partnerships should be treated ‘sensitively and pastorally’.
The statement published by the House of Bishops, which includes all 42 of the most senior diocesan bishops, read: ‘It would not be right to produce an authorised public liturgy in connection with the registering of civil partnerships.
“With opposite-sex civil partnerships, and with those for same-sex couples, the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics remains unchanged.
“For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.
“Because of the ambiguity about the place of sexual activity within civil partnerships of both sorts, and the church’s teaching that marriage between a man and a woman is the proper context for sexual intercourse, we do not believe that it is possible for the church unconditionally to accept civil partnerships as unequivocally reflecting the teaching of the church.”