When writing my book 'A Just Church' some folk said to me 'its OK to write about poverty, but why write about homosexuality?' The answer was clear to me. SoulSpace (Our local church in Bradford) is based on the notion that the Church needs to respond to areas of injustice and inequality. Gay Christians have faced massive discrimination within the wider church, and the persecution will only end when churches like SoulSpace stand alongside the LGBT community.
When the national church opposes legislation allowing for same sex marriage, it simply looks stupid and out of touch. But worse still, it is guilty of perpetuating injustice and failing to demonstrate God's love. Gay marriage is not a 'threat' to heterosexual marriage - if it is, then there are some severely insecure marriages out there.
Marriage is not simply about procreation. If so, the church should not marry those too old to have children or those medically unable to. Marriage is primarily about love.
Marriage is when two people declare their love for one another in the presence of God and this is witnessed by friends, family and the local community. The church is privileged to be able to solemnise weddings, but should not be allowed to abuse it's position of trust. We need to embrace those who find love, and apologise for the hurt we have caused in the past.
I know this situation will change. In my lifetime, the Church of England will allow those priests who are willing, to bless and marry same sex relationships in parish churches. We will look back at this period with shame, and we will regret the millions of people who will never have anything to do with the church because of its homophobic attitudes.
May God forgive the Church for it's refusal to endorse the love of others. Help us to grow in the Holy Spirit.