The Church of England has published this report: Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations and there is also a press release which is available here.
Scroll down in the press release to see the full text of the remarks made at this morning’s press conference by the Bishop of Norwich and the Bishop of Willesden. These are a valuable guide to the tone of the document.
The press release itself says:
The Church of England’s law and guidance on marriage should be interpreted to provide “maximum freedom” for gay and lesbian people without changing the Church’s doctrine of marriage itself, bishops are recommending.
A report from the House of Bishops to be discussed by the Church’s General Synod next month upholds the teaching, recognised by canon law, that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.
But it also concludes that the current advice on pastoral provision for same-sex couples – which allows clergy to provide informal prayers for those marrying or forming a civil partnership – is not clear enough and should be revisited.
It also calls for a “fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for lesbian and gay people and those attracted to people of the same sex throughout the Church of England.
The paper recommends that bishops prepare a substantial new teaching document on marriage and relationships to replace or expand upon documents drawn up in the 1990s.
And it calls for new guidance to be prepared about the kind of questions put to candidates for ordination – irrespective of their sexual orientation – about their lifestyle.
It also speaks of the need for the Church to repent of the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke and affirm the need to stand against homophobia wherever and whenever it is to be found.
But you should read carefully the whole of the official document to get the full flavour of it.