The Church of England is considering plans to stop asking its gay clergy whether they are living a celibate lifestyle.
Under the new proposal by Anglican bishops, gay priests are still expected to remain celibate, but they will no longer be asked about their personal lives when they join the church, Premier reported.
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who is in a civil partnership, criticized the proposal as it would still require the clergy to be celibate.
“It is progress for them to stop asking the celibacy question but it still leaves the Church of England policy based essentially on dishonesty and encouraging its clergy to lie,” Bradshaw said, according to the Daily Mail, citing Sunday Times.
Under the current rules, gay and lesbian clergy are required to vow celibacy when they seek ordination or promotion to positions such as a bishop.
The Church has been debating the subject of homosexuality since same-sex marriage was legalized by the Parliament in 2013. The clergy members are still forbidden from performing same-sex marriage services or marrying their same-sex partners.
The recommendation put forward by the House of Bishops will be considered by the General Synod next month.
Bradshaw suggested that the government could intervene in the affairs of the church if change does not come soon.
“There is a growing sense that if the church can’t sort this out for themselves, then parliament may have to do it for them,” he said.
The proposal came just a few months after the gay clerics alleged that 11 bishops were gay in September. That same month, Nicholas Chamberlain, the Bishop of Grantham, admitted that he was gay and in a celibate same-sex relationship. His admission came after a Sunday newspaper threatened to reveal his sexuality.
“It was not my decision to make a big thing about coming out. People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on,” Chamberlain told the Guardian.
An increasing number of priests have married or expressed plans to marry same-sex partners in defiance of the current policies of the Church.
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