In 1998 all the Bishops of the Anglican Communion agreed that we needed to listen to the experience of gay people. And over the last 15 years the Church of England has done that.
And it’s come to a view that civil partnerships are a just response to the needs of the gay community. But the question the church now has to answer is how can it then withhold the blessing of God from that which it believes to be just.
That’s a question the Church is wrestling with at the moment. The Church believes there is a difference between marriage and civil partnership, between heterosexual union and same gender intimacy.
While maintaining that difference I personally hope that the Church will find a way to offering the blessing of God on the love of gay people in a civil partnership and in a committed stable relationship.
James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, told ITV News that he would like to see the ban on same-sex blessings overturned.
He told Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall: "We’ve come to a time now that if we believe that civil partnerships are just then we can’t withhold the blessing of God from that which we believe to be just”.