Church of England bishops, meeting in advance of the church’s General Synod in February, indicated that they would continue to forbid priests to marry same-sex couples. The stance taken reflects five years of consultation and debate on the church’s position on sexuality. Several bishops said that the church’s teaching—that Holy Matrimony is only between one man and one woman—would not change and would not be put to a vote.

However, as reported by BBC News, the church confirmed that prayers of dedication, thanksgiving or for God’s blessing on same-sex couples will be offered following a civil marriage or partnership. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, stated that the position ‘reflects the diversity of views in the Church of England on questions of sexuality’. He said: ‘I am under no illusions that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, but it is my hope that what we have agreed will be received in a spirit of generosity, seeking the common good. Most of all, I hope it can offer a way for the Church of England, publicly and unequivocally, to say to all Christians and especially LGBTQI+ people that you are welcome and a valued and precious part of the body of Christ.’