Major Church of England research clarifies attitudes about same-sex unions

An extensive research commissioned by the Church of England provides new insight into its stance on same-sex marriage.

Insights about the extent of Anglicans’ acceptance of same-sex marriage have been provided through a recent research of substantial scope conducted by the Church of England.

Two new studies on Living in Love and Faith (LLF), a process of discussion and reflection surrounding human sexuality, identity, marriage, and gender, begun at the end of 2020, have been published with the results of a comprehensive survey reflecting the views of 6,448 people of the Church of England.

Although the data from the LLF focus groups and creative submissions is not quantifiable, it is included in the reports.

“A constant topic in the poll answers was same-sex marriage,” the Findings Report showed.

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“The majority of responses on this topic hoped that the LLF Course may help with the “acceptance of same sex marriage” or the “blessing of same sex couples.” This was a topic of conversation in our focus groups as well.

“A smaller number presented the opposing position, speaking against such a change in theology.”

Members of the Church of England, according to the results, are tired of the debate and want bishops to make “a clear judgment quickly” on sexuality.

“Most, but not all, accepted that the episcopate should lead the way of moving forward in love and faith,” the report stated.

Asked what message they had for bishops, the broad agreement among responders was for them to be “strong, daring and sincere”.

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The majority of respondents in focus groups “recognized that, overall, the House of Bishops had a tough but vital responsibility, and that a decision on moving forward needs to be taken soon,” according to the report.

“Members of the House of Bishops were urged to make decisions that were “bold, courageous, straightforward, and honest” by participants in the focus groups.

“While some campaigned forcefully for change and some to maintain the Church’s position on problems of sexuality, all recognized that coming to a clear decision soon is crucial.”

Consistent with prior findings, there was a widespread need for the Church to “welcoming to all”: “This wish for welcome is shared by individuals with otherwise divergent opinions. Some responded that they aspire for improved ‘acceptance’ and others spoke in terms of ‘active inclusion’.”

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“the diversity of ideas that exist and their complicated relationships,” the Church of England said of the survey’s findings.

In the fall, we will reach the penultimate phase of LLF deliberations. The bishops will begin formulating suggestions for moving forward in October, with the goal of presenting them to the General Synod in February 2023.

To help them figure out what God could be trying to tell the Church of England right now, the Anglican communion has released a statement saying,

“These and the LLF tools will support the bishops in their ongoing discernment process.”

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