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  1. ITV Report

Church of England vote overwhelmingly in favour of welcoming transgender people

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (second left) during the Eucharist at York Minster in York. Credit: PA

The Church of England's ruling body has voted overwhelming in favour of welcoming transgender people.

The General Synod backed a motion which said there was a need for transgender people to be "welcomed and affirmed in their parish church" as part of the "long and often complex process" of transition.

Bishops voted 30 to two in favour, while 127 lay members voted for and 48 against, and clergy backed the motion 127 to 28.

The motion called on the House of Bishops "to consider providing some nationally commended liturgical materials which may be used in parish churches and chaplaincies to provide a pastoral response to the need of transgender people to be affirmed following their long, distressing, and often complex process of transition".

Rev Chris Newlands' motion also called for the church to provide guidance to help clergy provide services for transgender people to mark their transition.

Opening the debate, Rev Newlands, of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod, said: "I hope that we can make a powerful statement to say that we believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them, and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives."

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, said: "Our response needs to be loving and open and welcoming and the passing of this motion would be a very important factor in that."

Synod rejected an amendment proposed by Dr Nick Land of the Diocese of York, which asked for the Church to determine the theological arguments before any liturgy, or customs, are adopted.

The vote came after bishops overwhelmingly backed a motion calling for a ban on "unethical" conversion therapy for gay Christians.