In a nod to conservatives, the Church of England has issued guidance reaffirming its stance that sex belongs only within heterosexual marriages.
More specifically, the Anglican church clarified that gay or straight members who enter civil partnerships instead of marriages should remain celibate. The guidance comes following the introduction of opposite-sex civil partnerships in England.
Both same-sex civil partnerships and same-sex marriage were already legal in England. However, the Church of England doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, and requires clergy in same-sex civil partnerships to remain celibate.
The Independent reports: Bishops from the institution have released new pastoral guidance confirming their stance on marriage and sex outside of marriage after mixed-sex civil partnerships were introduced last year. The statement from the House of Bishops says the church’s teaching on marriage “remains unchanged”, claiming sex outside of marriage is “falling short of God’s purpose for human beings.” It adds: “For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.”
More from the Guardian: The church has been racked by divisions for decades on what it says about and how it deals with LGBT issues. It has embarked on a large study of human sexuality, Living in Love and Faith, which is due to be completed this year. Many LGBT people within the church say they have been made to feel unwelcome, and activists have campaigned for the church to allow same-sex marriage and bless same-sex civil partnerships. Many observers have attributed the church’s stark decline among young people to its stance on LGBT issues.
In related news, BBC published an investigative report Thursday about a sex-abuse scandal and cover-up that reached the highest levels of the Anglican Church. Watch the video below.