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Tackle gay disgust — Williams

29 June 2012

THE Church is sometimes guilty of sending out a message of "un­welcome" and "lack of patience" to gay people, the Archbishop of Canter­bury said last Saturday.

Addressing teenagers at Lambeth Palace, Dr Williams said that the Church was "scratching its head and trying to work out where it is . . . and what to think about" same-sex mar­riage and homosexuality.

"What's frustrating is that we still have Christian people whose feelings about it are so strong, and some­times so embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted, that that just sends out a message of unwelcome, of lack of understanding, of lack of patience. So, whatever we think about it, we need, as a Church, to be tackling what we feel about it."

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, sought to reassure supporters of same-sex marriage of his party's support last week, in the face of "heated debate" over the proposals.

In a video recording, posted on the website of the Out 4 Marriage cam­paign, Mr Clegg said that the introduction of same-sex marriage was "not a matter of 'if' any more".

The Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, this week criticised a response by church officials to the Government's consultation on same-sex marriage, which closed on 14 June (News, 15 June).

Dr Wilson told The Sunday Telegraph that the submission, which argues that to permit same-sex marriage would "dilute" marriage for everybody, was "narrow and legalistic. . . The statement doesn't speak for me at all. There is a groundswell of opinion that says, 'This does not speak for us.'"

Writing on his blog on 13 June, the Bishop of Grantham, the Rt Revd Tim Ellis, said that bishops who had defended the submission in the media "have not spoken for me or the way in which I understand this thorny matter and, I suspect, they do not speak for a sizeable minority or even majority within the life of the Church".

Seventy-five per cent of the 646 respondents to a Church Times online poll said that the official submission did not reflect their views on same-sex marriage.

A petition on the website www. change.org, objecting to the views in the response paper, has attracted nearly 3500 signatures.

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