Wales politics

Gay marriage: MP Bryant says church stance 'wrong'

Chris Bryant
Image caption Chris Bryant condemned the church's 'love-empty' decision on sexuality

An MP and former Anglican cleric has said he is giving up on the church for taking action against its American arm for approving same-sex marriage.

The US Episcopal Church - which has an openly gay bishop - is to be barred from Anglican decision-making bodies.

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said the church's stance on homosexuality would one day be seen to be as wrong as its 19th Century support for slavery.

He said Jesus preached peace and understanding, not hatred and division.

'Fundamental departure'

Anglican leaders from all over the world have been meeting in Canterbury to try to heal deep rifts within the church over issues such as same-sex marriage and gay clerics.

Bishops in African countries such as Uganda and Kenya oppose the more liberal stance on homosexuality taken by some churches in the west.

A statement issued on Thursday acknowledged "deep differences" over the understanding of marriage, but said the Episcopal Church's approval of gay marriage was "a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching" of the majority of Anglicans.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The ordination of Gene Robinson as a bishop in 2003 angered many Anglicans

Before the meeting, more than 100 senior Anglicans had urged the Church of England to repent for "discriminating" against lesbian and gay Christians in an open letter.

'Behaved disgracefully'

Mr Bryant, a former curate and youth chaplain, later tweeted: "I've finally given up on Anglican church today after its love-empty decision on sexuality. One day it will seem wrong as supporting slavery."

Speaking to BBC Wales, he added: "The whole point of the Anglican communion is that we agree in the autonomy of its churches.

"I think we've behaved disgracefully to the American church.

"This is the established Church of England taking a stance against homosexuality.

"Ironically the Church in Wales is much more liberal on this issue.

"Church leaders should read the Bible - Jesus's message was not one of hatred and division, but one of peace and understanding."

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