The Equal Campaign issued the following statement today (1 March 2022).
Statement on YouGov Poll of Church of England members on Marriage Equality
The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England welcomes today’s news that the majority of members of the Church now support same-sex marriage, and calls on the bishops to respond.
The poll, run by YouGov for the Ozanne Foundation, repeats the same question asked in 2013, 2016 and 2020. The figures show an accelerating increase over time in the number of members of the Church of England believing same-sex marriage is right (from 38% in 2013 to 55% in 2022) and a marked decrease in numbers believing it is wrong (from 47% in 2013 to just 29% in 2022).
The current official teaching of the Church of England penalises faithful gay and lesbian members of the Church by refusing to bless or celebrate either marriage or civil partnerships in parish churches: clergy may only offer ‘informal prayers’. The bishops have refused to grant licenses or permissions to officiate to any member of the clergy who marries their same-sex partner. This means that some priests have been forced to leave the ministry, while gay and lesbian potential ordinands must choose between marriage and their calling to the ordained ministry.
This contrasts with other churches here in the UK, with the Church in Wales recently voting to allow blessings of marriage and civil partnerships in its churches and the Scottish Episcopal Church’s embrace of marriage equality in 2017. The Methodist Church in Great Britain has also recently voted to allow its clergy to offer same-sex marriage, and both the Quakers and the United Reformed Church have married same-sex couples for some years.
Currently the Church of England is undergoing a process of reflection and prayer on human sexuality and relationships called Living in Love and Faith, and the bishops will soon be considering how to proceed. They must recognise that the majority of members of the Church of England embrace and welcome LGBTQI+ people into the life of their local churches and want to be able to celebrate their marriages.
The bishops will be working on ways forward for the Church later this year, aiming to bring proposals to General Synod in February 2023. They must recognise the evolving conscience of the people of God in the Church of England on these issues. They must propose real change to allow same-sex couples to marry in our churches and to end the unjust penalties on clergy who have married their same-sex partner.
- The full set of results from YouGov can be viewed here for all respondents and here for Anglican respondents in England.
- Results from the 2013 Questionnaire, 2016 Questionnaire and 2020 Questionnaire.
- For more information on the questionnaires contact Jayne Ozanne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information on the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England see https://cofe-equal-marriage.org.uk/about/ or contact Nigel Pietroni at email@example.com.
A PDF of this statement can be viewed or downloaded here.