The Church of England has issued legal guidance confirming that homosexuality should not be a barrier to becoming a bishop.
The guidance, called Choosing Bishops, seeks to bring church policy up to speed with the Equality Act.
It sets down in writing what has been church practice for some years
by stating that openly gay clergy can become bishops so long as they are
“A person’s sexual orientation is, in itself, irrelevant to their
suitability for episcopal office or indeed ordained ministry more
generally,” it reads.
“It would be wrong if account were taken of the fact that a candidate had identified himself as of gay sexual orientation.
“As a matter of law, however, the [Equality] Act allows Churches and
religious organizations to impose a requirement that someone should not
be in a civil partnership or impose a requirement related to sexual
orientation [according to the nature of the office].”
It then reiterates previous guidelines issued by the Church of
England which draw a distinction between homosexual activity and