Sandi Toksvig warns Church of England against 'sacrificing LGBTQ+ people on the altar'

Sandi Toksvig is an outspoken defender of LGBTQ+ rights. Credit: PA

The Church of England must not hold itself together "by sacrificing the LGBTQ+ community on the altar," comedian Sandi Toksvig has told ITV's Peston show.

The comedian and outspoken defender of LGBTQ+ rights was critical of the Church of England (CoE) when she appeared on Peston.

Ms Toksvig said she had begun speaking out about the CoE last year, after Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reaffirmed the validity of a 1998 declaration by the church that gay sex was a sin.

Sandi Toksvig met with Justin Welby to discuss the issue. Credit: PA

This made her "angry" because she said Mr Welby and the CoE should be talking about the cost of living crisis and war rather than homosexuality.

Ms Toksvig said she met Mr Welby last month to discuss same-sex marriage in the CoE.

She said Mr Welby was a "well-intentioned man" but he was stuck between a "rock and a hard place".

Ms Toksvig said: "His overriding concern was holding the church together."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know

Speaking later she said: "You cannot decide to hold the Anglican communion together by sacrificing the LGBTQ+ community on the altar, it's not okay."

Ms Toksvig also told Peston she had been shocked by the way in which "those who do not see kindly towards the LGBTQ community choose to express themselves."

Ms Toksvig spoke to Peston on the eve of a key vote by the Church of England's Synod on whether the church should acknowledge its failure "to be welcoming to LGBTQI+ people" and the harm they have faced and still experience.

While the ban on gay marriage would remain, the CoE is prepared to bless civil unions. Under the proposed changes, clergy themselves would be able to decide whether or not to conduct such blessings.Mr Welby said he supported the proposals but would not personally carry them out if they passed.