Test 2

Please select your preferred language.





Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile


More About Us

7 Aug 2008

Gay relationships ''comparable to marriage,'' says Anglican leader

Gay relationships can "reflect the love of God" in a way that is comparable to marriage, wrote Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams eight years ago in private letters that have been leaked to the media.

A faithful and "active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex" is "in a way comparable to marriage," Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is said to have written in a private correspondence before he was appointed leader of the global Anglican church in 2002.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
According to media reports, the Archbishop and Dr Deborah Pitt, a psychiatrist and evangelical Christian - who had written challenging him on the issue - had exchanged letters in 2000 and 2001.

The UK Independent newspaper say the leak is now "seen as a last-ditch attack on Dr Williams's authority" and is expected to spark a fresh row.

In the letters, he described how his view began to change from that of opposing gay relationships in 1980 to believing that biblical prohibitions on homosexuality were targeted at "heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience" and that the Bible did not denounce faithful relationships between people who happened to be gay.

"By the end of the 1980s I had definitely come to the conclusion that scripture was not dealing with the predicament of persons whom we should recognise as homosexual by nature. I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness," he wrote.

His position on same-sex relationships is however not new as he had told BBC in a 2002 interview that "faithful" homosexual relationships do not conflict with the teachings of the Bible. "If the Bible is very clear - as I think it is - that a heterosexual indulging in homosexual activity for the sake of variety and gratification is not following the will of God, does that automatically say that that is the only sort of homosexual activity there could ever be? ...My own personal conclusion is that I can see a case for acknowledging faithful same sex relationships."

On Aug 3, Dr Williams closed the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference attended by 650 Anglican leaders by urging the Church's hierarchy not to consecrate any more openly gay bishops or perform same-sex blessings failing which, the 77-million-member church would be "in grave peril."

At the last Lambeth Conference held in 1998, the conference passed resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality which declared "homosexual practice as (being) incompatible with scripture" and advised against "legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions."

Dr Williams further appealed to some 200 bishops who had boycotted the gathering over the consecration of the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in the US in 2003 to re-engage with the church. Robinson was not invited to the conference but he was in Canterbury to attend events on the conference fringes.

Conservative leadership from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda as well as Australia and the US had threatened to form a breakaway fellowship over the appointment of gay and bishops by organising a separate conference in Jerusalem in June this year.

Reader's Comments

1. 2008-08-07 20:01  
When is the world going to learn that admonitions written 3000 years ago have no relevance to modern society?
The same people said it was an abomination to eat pork!
Or shellfish! The ancient Greeks had a much healthier perspective on human sexuality. Too bad their perspective was lost for 2000 years, courtesy of the Christian church! Plus Islam.
2. 2008-08-07 20:27  
And so the good Archbishop will be forced to wriggle...as are all who build moral edifices on rigid foundations which cannot flex on the changing sands of time.

Why choose the science (as it were) of 6000 yrs ago (when the "abomination" declaration was pronounced) over the science of today? Those guys couldn't even use cellphones!

Then how do we get to pick and choose which parts of the contradictory dogma to follow? Pity the poor flock.

Let's OK alcohol and inter racial marriage, disapprove of slavery, and stop cruelty to lepers by taking two tablets - which work unlike the drivel put out by an omniscient being. My, my...the church she is a changing...

But let's keep one group morally lower - that ought to help our flock feel good...

And so the love of gay folk is still on the condemned list - not endangered mind you, for it practiced in every church on the planet.
3. 2008-08-07 22:03  
religion used to bring people together ... now ... its often politicised and used as a form of control ... divide and conquer ?
4. 2008-08-07 23:23  
Religion can be view negatively.
From a Marxist point of view, they sees religion that is highly addictive, people depends on them to have constant exploitation / oppression and is treated as a type of comfort. Therefore, Religion is used as a cover up to the problems of society inequalities and it masked the oppression & exploitation because it does not address the real structural problem of the society.

5. 2008-08-08 02:07  
Oh really?

Why does Fridae think gays are constantly seeking to be conventionally accepted anyway?

What next? Why the f does Fridae assume we give a sh't about christianity? Why don't they also publish the opinions of Islamic Imams condemning gay relationships as unacceptable?

It'll be hell more interesting if Ronaldinho came out and say A gay couple relationship is like Teammates on a football club.
6. 2008-08-08 07:50  
All these people who declare themselves as God's children has no love for others and accept others as individuals... then how can they ever be God's children and go into the gates of heaven when they themselves do not walk in God's footsteps .. sigh... double standards.
Comment #7 was deleted by its author
8. 2008-08-08 10:35  
A faithful and "active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex" is "in a way comparable to marriage," Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is said to have written in a private correspondence before he was appointed leader of the global Anglican church in 2002 . . .

gosh, this is so apparent and everyone knows it already . ..

I am still struggling to plan the perfect gay bachelor party, so much pressure right now, I can't bear it, all my brother's high gay friends have such high expectations . . . haven't worred this much since my high school bar mitzah!! Rowan forget worrying about whether gay marriage is good or bad, its here and possible already . .. please pray for me as I go about executing the perfect Bachelor Party. . .I am so nervous and it must be flawless or a lot of my brother's powerful gay friends will be disappointed . . . only three weeks away ... I don't think my brother appreciates all the work I am doing to prepare for this thing! where are all the gay wedding planners and party planners when you need them?
9. 2008-08-08 10:38  
opps the correct spelling should be bar mitzvah! see i can't even spell anymore and not a very good Jewish boy these days by misspelling it . . .
10. 2008-08-08 14:30  
The theology of the Judaic tradition, i.e Judaisim, Christianity and Islam, was written by self-righteous, homophobic bigots (with baggage and issues you can't even begin to imagine) who had, in effect, set in stone gender and orientation based discrimination and the condemnation of anything that did not sing the "sex-is-for-procreation" anthem.

Honestly ask yourself, "Who needs that kind of theology?" If you can honestly say that you don't, then walk away from it and the issues haunting the Anglican Communion today will NEVER be YOUR issues :-) !
11. 2008-08-08 19:01  
do we need people to tell us what is right and what is wrong ? There is a reason why the head is placed higher than the heart ....someone said ...it all boils down to power ....to control how many ? 77 million disciples ? No way people can think rationally ...
12. 2008-08-09 12:04  
us humans do seem to possess a mysterious, perhaps DNA-programmed spiritual need. A topic of research, thought, and discussion theologans and scientists have explored for centuries, and will continue. Early on as civilisation grew and expanded, power-mongers, sensing this need, also realized that organizing a "religion" based on fear, mysticism, the possibility of magic with just enough "truth" woven into the fabrication was an effective means of control, manipulation, and provided a source of immense power and wealth. I hope that someday, probably long after we're all dead and gone, the big lie called Christianity will be revealed, and humans can turn to true spirituality.
13. 2008-08-10 04:50  
Dinosaurs 200 million years ago.
Humans a few thousand.
Religions a few hundred.

Go figure.

God made it all. I'm sure there were gay dinosaurs, and I'm sure they couldn't give a f@ck about marriage.

So why does it matter what some old boy said, and whether it's similar or totally different to straight marriage?
14. 2008-08-12 09:05  
In the word "Archbishop" i can't help seeing the word "shop".
Christian churches (shops?) have been steadily losing "customers" in European countries over the past decades and now rely heavily on their african and south american flock.
But hey, if they suddenly figured that, by accepting gay marriage and gays in general they might attract a whole new "segment of the market" that could change things.
Lol... yes, i'm joking but yes, I do believe it's all about power, money and politics. Nothing to do with God, moral and/or spiritual thirst.
I've said it before and i'll say it again, when i hear that "human beings would be better off without religions" I can't help but think it's quite the other way round, in fact, and religions would be better off without human beings :-))
15. 2008-08-18 01:09  
16. 2008-09-28 06:36  
I find some of the tone of the responses here disturbing and a bit offensive. when Christian leaders come to a more positive view on homosexual issues, even non believers could welcome it or at least give credit where credit is due. but instead it is met by negative and sarcastic comments which if directed to any other religion, would be criticized with that favourite buzzword of our era "intolerant"

and to those who question why gays would care what churches think of them ... if you are not a christian yourself, then the article is obviously not written for you. simple as that. there may be some of us who do welcome it. you don't have to spoil it for us merely because it has no resonance with you.

and as always, the simplistic commonly held views of history often held by the majority reveal a startling lack of real historical knowledge. Those who contrast Christianity with the supposedly "superior" Greco-Roman civilization preceding it, demonstrate their ignorance of the fact that much Classical thinking went into Christianity and much earlier Judaic thought heavily influenced Greek thought and vice versa. So the two are much more entwined than many realize. Much of the anti-sexual strain in early Christianity already had its origins in late Greco-Romans chools of thought such as the Stoics. And the entry that stated that the ancients had a "healthier" attitude to homosexuality than the Chrisitans also displays a lack of understanding. Classical culture only viewed the "penetrator - or the "top" in a positive light. The penetrated (or the bottom) was viewed highly negatively - as effeminate and on the same level as women - in other words as highly inferior.

No doubt I will hear from those who will resent my views and have to have the last word. There is not enough space here to get into the subtleties and complexities of the issues. I am as highly critical as anyone else of simplistic and erroneous Fundamentalist Christianity ... but find simplistic thinking from opposing camps every bit as disturbing.

Please log in to use this feature.


This article was recently read by

Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!


View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook


 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia