Church Of England Will Let Partnered, Celibate Gay Men Be Bishops

WestminsterThe Anglican Church of England last night announced that after years of international debate, they will now allow gay men to become bishops. These gay men, however, must be in a civil partnership and also celibate.

"The House has confirmed that clergy in civil partnerships, and living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate," the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, said in a statement.

"The House believed it would be unjust to exclude from consideration for the episcopate anyone seeking to live fully in conformity with the Church's teaching on sexual ethics or other areas of personal life and discipline."

The New York Times offers more details:

The new policy was introduced in December, when the House of Bishops, a body within the church, published a list of recent decisions. One of those was to lift the ban on clergymen in civil partnerships becoming bishops. In 2005, the church ruled that people in civil partnerships could become clergy members, but the ruling did not apply to bishops.

The decision does not affect women in the church, who are not allowed to become bishops at all.

Baby steps?