Sandi Toksvig to meet Archbishop of Canterbury over same-sex marriage

Move follows bishops’ refusal to back gay marriage while blessings to be on voluntary basis for clergy

Sandi Toksvig has said she will be meeting the archbishop of Canterbury for coffee, after bishops this week refused to back gay marriage but said civil partnerships could be blessed in church.

“Quick update – I will be meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury for a long promised coffee next week,” the broadcaster and author, who is gay, tweeted on Saturday.

Quick update - I will be meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury for a long promised coffee next week.

— Sandi Toksvig (@sanditoksvig) January 21, 2023

The Church of England on Wednesday shared a public apology from its bishops “for the ways in which the Church of England has treated LGBTQI+ people”.

The Church of England also outlined plans to bless same-sex couples who are legally married, which will be up for debate at the General Synod.

However, same-sex couples still cannot marry in the church and blessings for civil gay marriages will be on a voluntary basis for clergy. The church will not change its stance that marriage is solely between a man and a woman.

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said he was “extremely joyful” at the church’s change of stance. However, Welby said he had pastoral responsibility for the global Anglican church and would not personally bless same-sex marriages “in order not to compromise that pastoral care”.

A meeting between Toksvig and Welby had long been in the works. Toksvig – who hosted shows such as QI and The Great British Bake Off – shared an open letter to Welby in August after he reaffirmed a 1998 resolution that gay sex is sinful.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said he will not personally bless civil same-sex marriages. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

“Seriously, with the state the world is in, that is what you wanted to focus on?” she wrote. “You didn’t have other more pressing matters like, I don’t know, war or poverty?”

“This is a serious matter,” she continued. “The lives of LGBTQ+ people are at stake here.

“I have had several credible death threats over the years sometimes requiring the very kind assistance of the police hate crime squad. Each and every one of those threats has come from an evangelical Christian.

“Call me, Justin,” Toksvig wrote in closing. “Let’s have coffee. Let me talk you round. You never know, I might even forgive you.”

Welby responded with an open letter of his own, saying he “would love to sit down over coffee and talk” with Toksvig.

“The hatred and threats that you – and so many other LGBTQI+ people – have experienced in the name of Jesus Christ are a sin,” the archbishop wrote. “I have absolutely no doubt about that and want to be in no doubt of my position. The Church of England agrees with this view and vigorously opposes conversion therapy.

“There is much more to say about Christianity being based and founded and lived in love, and we can talk about that more in depth later.”


Danya Hajjaji

The GuardianTramp

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