ITV News Meridian presenter Sangeeta Bhabra spoke to Bishop Steven about why he decided to speak out about his views on same-sex marriage now
The Bishop of Oxford says Church of England clergy should have the freedom to bless and marry same-sex couples.
In a 52-page essay, the Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft says he believes it is time for the legal barriers to be removed and to "acknowledge the acute pain and distress of LGBTQ+ people in the life of the church".
The Bishop also said that members of the clergy should be allowed to marry a same-sex partner.
Bishop Steven used the essay, titled 'Together in Love and Faith' to apologise for the time it took for his own views to change and the lack of action from the church.
He wrote: "I need to acknowledge the acute pain and distress of LGBTQ+ people in the life of the Church.
"I am sorry that, corporately, we have been so slow as a Church to reach better decisions and practice on these matters.
"I am sorry that my own views were slow to change and that my actions, and lack of action, have caused genuine hurt, disagreement and pain."
Bishop Steven also said many Christians in the Church of England hold and will continue to hold a traditional view of marriage and that those views should be honoured and respected.
He added: "Any settlement must be founded on love and respect. Love and respect for LGBTQ+ people and their families within and beyond the Church, love and respect for those who take different views.
"This love must be the hallmark of our debates and conduct through this season."
Currently same-sex couples cannot legally marry in the Church of England.
They can have a civil partnership which is not recognised as marriage but a legal means, not involving a church.
Church of England clergy are currently banned from blessing a civil partnership in church and cannot conduct a marriage service for a same-sex couple.
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