Bishop presses wrong button in gay marriage report vote

Christopher Cocksworth Image copyright The Bishop of Coventry

A Church of England bishop has apologised after accidentally voting against a controversial report on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

The Bishop of Coventry said he had pressed the wrong button - giving the impression "that there was not complete agreement in the House of Bishops".

The Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth said the mistake had been a "moment of distraction and some confusion".

Overall, the church's ruling body voted not to take note of the report.

Last month, the House of Bishops had published an official report for the Church on sexuality, after three years of "shared conversations" with the LGBT community and other Christians.

It called for a "culture of welcome and support" for gay Christians.

But the report maintained the position that marriage in church should remain the lifelong union of a man and a woman, and services should not be held to bless same-sex relationships.

'Valuable road map'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who supported the report, concluded Wednesday's debate at the Church's ruling general synod by calling for a "radical new Christian inclusion".

Dr Cocksworth said he had apologised to his colleagues in the House of Bishops and to the archbishops for his mistake.

In a statement, he said: "Due to a moment of distraction and some confusion over the voting process, I pressed the wrong button on my handset, thus registering a vote against taking note rather than a vote for taking note of the report."

The House of Bishops voted overwhelmingly (43-1) in favour of the report - with Dr Cocksworth's vote the one against - and the House of Laity backed it by 106 votes to 83.

But to win approval, the report had to win backing in all three houses of the general synod and the House of Clergy rejected it by 100 votes to 93, with two abstentions.

Dr Cocksworth added that the report was a "valuable road map" and he was "disappointed" by the vote's outcome.

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