The Church of England is making major overtures to affirm transgender and LGBT people and rejecting any notion that gender transition or same-sex sexual orientation could be understood as sin.
On Sunday, the church’s general synod voted 284 to 78 in favor of a motion to affirm transgender people in parish churches and offer special liturgy services to mark their gender transition.
Reverend Christopher Newlands opened the debate on the motion saying he hoped to make a powerful statement. “We believe that trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them and is present through all the twists and turns of their lives,” he said.
The synod also voted to denounce what it calls “conversion therapy” for those struggling with same-sex attraction.
The motion was moved by Jayne Ozanne who called the therapy “harmful” and “dangerous” saying “people may be able to alter their behavior but they can never alter their innate desire.”
Those who opposed the motion noted that it could limit ministry to those struggling with same-sex attraction. The Guardian reports that some synod members expressed concern that it would constrict those in the church seeking to provide pastoral care and prayer for sexual minorities.
Conservatives in the Church of England have been concerned about its pro-LGBT movement for years and started the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in 2008 to “retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.”