Changing Attitude England is disappointed by the message communicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) members of our society and the Church of England in the letter to the Prime Minister sent by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
A polarised atmosphere was created last week by the vociferous opposition to the Goods and Services legislation organised by Christian lobby groups. Their protests provoked comment from government ministers and created an atmosphere of mistrust.
The life chances of vulnerable children can be adversely, and possibly irrevocably, affected by the prejudice which believes children should not be placed with lesbian and gay couples.
This government has legislated to create appropriate rights for LGBT people. The legislation was needed to create a more equal status for LGBT people in our society. Some Church leaders have supported the legislation while the majority have opposed it, thus continuing to create a climate of anxiety for LGBT Christians in the church.
The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said:
“I welcome the Archbishops’ recognition that the government has been right to legislate to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of our society from discrimination.
“The Archbishops’ letter sends an unfortunate message to LGBT people in general and to LGBT members of the Church of England in particular:
It reinforces the idea that we are a problem for the church rather than a blessing.
It gives the impression of a Church at odds with the moral and ethical values of our society, in which LGBT are understood to have the same ability as heterosexuals to create stable relationships and parent children.
It implies a tension between the rights of particular groups in which there can be winners and losers.
“The first group of people to lose out if the Roman Catholic Church is allowed an exemption will be the children who might have been happily placed with a lesbian or gay adoptive couple. It is vitally important that the interests of vulnerable children are not relegated to the doctrinal or Biblical interpretation or prejudice of any Christian churches.
“The second group of people to lose out will be lesbian and gay couples who long to be able to adopt children.
“The third group to lose out will be LGBT people in general, who have once again been given a message from the Church implying that they are not to be trusted with children and must sacrifice certain rights because the personal conscience of certain Christians might be put at risk.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Christians also have deeply held convictions. We wish to be able to marry and adopt like other members of society.
“The challenge for all of us is to ensure that any group in our society which is under threat or exposed to prejudice is protected by appropriate legislation and by the moral and spiritual authority of the Church. No-one‘s rights need to be ignored or sacrificed here, and the Archbishops need to ensure that children, young people and LGBT people in our society are properly respected and protected.”