The Church of England was forced to re-state its opposition to same-sex marriage after its most senior cleric appeared to suggest that he thinks it is “great”.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was giving an interview to gay publication PinkNews when he made the comments, saying that the Church of England should accept that same-sex marriage is now the law in Britain.
He said that, given that parliament overwhelmingly approved the change, it was “right and proper” that same-sex marriage is now legal, adding “and that’s great.”
The Telegraph reports that Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop’s headquarters, were forced to clarify these comments, saying that he was simply speaking about the right of parliament to change the law when he used the word “great”, and that he remains opposed to same-sex marriage in principle.
They added: “The Archbishop has said numerous times that he accepts the right of Parliament to change the law and that the Church should continue to demonstrate the love of Christ for every person.
“The Archbishop voted against the Same-Sex Marriage Act in the House of Lords last year.”
When asked in the same interview what his message for gay people was, the Archbishop responded: “We are struggling with the issues across the Church globally.
“It’s complicated with ramifications that are very difficult to deal with in many parts of the world.”
“As you know I have said, and got a fair amount of flak for it within parts of the Church, we have to accept, and quite rightly, that the Same-Sex Marriage Act is law, and that it’s right and proper, it’s the law of the land, and that’s great,” he added.
The Church of England has issued new guidance on the issue, saying that gay relationships are “less than God’s ideal”, but declined to use the word “sinful”.