The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin
Welby says that he's listening to both sides of the gay marriage
debate but refuses to discuss why he opposed such unions in the past.
Gay and lesbian couples started
marrying in Britain and Wales in March after a bill legalizing such
unions came into effect. The Church of England vocally opposed its
passage, with Welby saying that it could prove “catastrophic” for
Christians in other parts of the world.
Welby told BBC Radio 4's Desert
Island Discs he's “trying to bridge [a] gay marriage split”
in the Anglican Church.
“When I listen to people I know that
I'm listening to people for whom not just the issue of sexuality but
the whole way in which the Church lives and exists and reaches out to
people, what it looks like to be a holy church, is something on which
they feel passionately and are deeply, deeply, deeply disagreeing”
“If you love them you listen
carefully,” he said.
While the American arm of the Anglican
Church, the Episcopal Church, defines marriage as a heterosexual
union, two years ago it approved a blessing rite for gay couples who
wish to wed.
When asked about his previous
opposition, Welby responded: “I'm really not going to answer the
question very well because we're now into conversations within the
Church, both globally and locally, and I think if I weigh in at this
stage it's inappropriate.”