The Church of England has announced it will not allow gay marriages to be performed in its churches, but it will let priests bless same-sex couples who are in civil marriages.
The decision followed six years of debate and consultation on the church's position on sexuality. It is expected to be outlined in a report to the church's national assembly, the General Synod, which meets in London next month.
Under the proposals, the Church of England's stance that the sacrament of matrimony is restricted to unions between one man and one woman will not change.
However, same-sex couples would be able to have a church service with prayers of dedication, thanksgiving, or for God's blessing after they have a civil wedding or register a civil partnership.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2013. The church did not change its teaching when the law changed.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby acknowledged that the proposals "will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others."
"This response reflects the diversity of views in the Church of England on questions of sexuality, relationships, and marriage. I rejoice in that diversity and I welcome this way of reflecting it in the life of our church," Welby said.
The church said bishops plan to issue a formal apology to LGBTQ people on Friday for the "rejection, exclusion, and hostility" they have felt from within the church.
The bishops will urge all congregations in their care to welcome same-sex couples "unreservedly and joyfully" as they reaffirm their commitment to a "radical new Christian inclusion founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it – based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st Century understanding of being human and of being sexual," according to a church press release.
The proposals for the church follow a discussion at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops from around the world last year on topics including same-sex marriage and blessings.
Last summer, bishops from Nigeria, Uganda, and Rwanda—which represent an estimated 44 million of the world's 100 million Anglicans, according to the World Christian Database—boycotted the conference to protest the presence of churches with liberal teaching and practice on homosexuality, according to The Wall Street Journal.
As CBN News has reported, over the years the Church of England has made several doctrinal changes pitting the escalating global LGBT sexual agenda against the teachings of Biblical morality. It has led to friction between the church's leaders and members.
The Church of England instituted its "Living in Love and Faith" project in 2020, described as examining identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage within the centuries-old Anglican institution.
Unlike the Catholic Church, the Church of England does not exercise authority over other members of the Anglican Communion. Many Anglican churches in Africa oppose same-sex marriage because it goes against scriptures on marriage found in the Bible.