Future monarchs probed over gay marriage stance
The National Secular Society has pressed Prince Charles and Prince William to confirm their stance on homosexuality after the after the Church of England affirmed its opposition to gay sex and marriage.
The NSS has written to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge to ask if they agree with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s affirmation of a Church resolution which said same sex marriage was wrong and “homosexual practices” are incompatible with scripture.
As future sovereigns, the prince and the duke will be oath-bound to maintain and preserve the doctrine and worship of the Church of England.
Prince William has previously spoken up for the rights of LGBT people. In 2019 the duke told an LGBT youth charity he would “fully support” his children if they were gay, but would worry about the “discrimination that might come”.
The NSS asked Prince Charles and Prince William whether they agreed with the Church’s stance and for their messages to their “future gay, lesbian and bisexual subjects”.
No response has yet been received.
The British monarch, as well as being head of state, also holds the title ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’. Under current laws, the monarch is required to “join in communion” with the Church of England and take on the role of Supreme Governor, promoting Anglicanism in Britain.
Stephen Evans, chief executive of the National Secular Society, said: “A Sovereign that seeks to act as a focus for national identity, unity and pride cannot, at the same time, be the supreme governor of an officially homophobic institution.
“There is a clear tension between the issuing of declarations that gay sex is a sin and being the established church.
“That tension should be addressed by disestablishing the Church of England and ensuring our head of state has no constitutional entanglement with religion.”
The Lambeth Conference
Welby re-affirmed the resolution, known as Lambeth 1.10, during a speech at the Church’s 15th recent Lambeth Conference.
The Lambeth Conference is a meeting held every 10 years for Anglican bishops from around the world and is chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This year the conference was attended by more than 650 bishops from 165 countries.
Lambeth 1.10 was originally declared at the 1998 Lambeth Conference.
Welby said: “For the large majority of the Anglican Communion the traditional understanding of marriage is something that is understood, accepted and without question.
“For them, to question this teaching is unthinkable, and in many countries would make the church a victim of derision, contempt and even attack.”
Welby’s speech has attracted widespread criticism from both within and outside the Church. Broadcaster Sandi Toksvig said in an open letter to Welby that the lives of LGBT+ people are at stake, pointing to higher rates of suicide among LGBT+ young people and the death threats she had received from evangelical Christians.