Bishop’s balls-up adds to C of E’s divisions over gay marriage

Bishop’s balls-up adds to C of E’s divisions over gay marriage

The Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, above, has admitted a voting error that led him to reject a controversial report on sexuality.

Yesterday the General Synod, the Church of England’s governing body, voted down a report from Bishops which had broadly rejected the case to relax the Church’s anti-LGBT policies after three years of “conversations” on the issue.

The bishop admitted he hit the wrong button on an electronic voting pad, adding:

Much to my embarrassment, I have managed to give the impression that there was not complete agreement in the House of Bishops that the Report provided us with the best way forward.

Due to a moment of distraction and some confusion over the voting process, I pressed the wrong button on my handset, thus registering a vote against taking note rather than a vote for taking note of the report!

I have apologised to my colleagues in the House of Bishops and to the Archbishops for my mistake.

The report recommended that the bar on same-sex church marriages continue but that a more welcoming attitude towards homosexuals should be shown by congregations.

However, the motion was rejected by clergy at the General Synod who voted 100 to 93 against while the House of Bishops accepted it by a vote of 43-1.

Sources said they believed the recommendation had been rejected by the more liberal members of the clergy who thought the Church should ultimately drop its opposition to gay marriage.

Andrea Williams, from the conservative Christian Concern, said the report had tried:

To straddle positions that cannot be reconciled.

She added:

This shouldn’t be read as a victory for the LGBT activists within the Church. The reason why this happened was because there was no clarity in which direction the church will go.

Cocksworth said he is “disappointed” that the report had been rejected by clergy, adding:

I believed that the report was – as the Archbishop of Canterbury described it in his very good speech – a valuable ‘roadmap’ by which the Bishops could help the Church to attend to its multiple responsibilities in these matters.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, promised to rethink the report, saying Wednesday’s vote was:

Not the end of the story, nor was it intended to be. As bishops we will think again and go on thinking, and we will seek to do better. We could hardly fail to do so in the light of what was said.

LGBT Christians welcomed the rejection of the report, which means the Bishops will have to rethink proposals on the issue.

Singer and LGBT campaigner Vicky Beeching, who had been among those calling for reform, tweeted:

A happy day for all those wanting greater LGBT+ inclusion in the Church of England. What happens next? The Bishops will have to create a new Report. Hopefully, one that’s more LGBT-inclusive in tone and practice.

These are the small, incremental steps by which change comes to the Church of England. Nothing radical happens overnight. Takes patience.

Hat tip: Robert Stovold

14 responses to “Bishop’s balls-up adds to C of E’s divisions over gay marriage”

  1. barriejohn says:

    What a load of bollocks (I mean Bishop Cockup and co, not Barry’s report!).

  2. Angela_K says:

    How lovely to see the CofE priorities by spending so much time fretting over LGBT people. Who, in their right mind wants to be a member of club that hates them, if these so called Gay christians had any morals they’d leave their cult – bloody hypocrites.


  3. Gerhard says:

    As gravity will inevitably collapse a large star into cataclysmic supernovae destruction the CoE will implode soon. Just a question of time. The CoE is an irrelevance already and even though it has had to concede to lady bishops ( and I thought women were smarter than that) after a colossal internal rift, the gay marriage question is the gravitational analogue that will destroy the CoE. A small step but an unmistakable precursor to the eventual destruction of Catholicism and all mutations of the horror death cult called islam.

  4. AgentCormac says:


    Couldn’t agree more. It baffles me that anyone would want to be a member of a club which so despises them. But the CofE has become such a bunch of wet, dithering, ineffectual, do-gooding village fêters they are, on the ground at least, nothing better than irrelevant. (Yet there they are in the House of Lords!)

  5. StephenJP says:

    @AgentCormac, I understand what you are saying, but I think you underestimate the obduracy of the CofE in hanging on to what they hold. Their aggressive and uncompromising policy on “faith” schools is a case in point. We should not think they are likely to just roll over and give up any of the privileged positions they currently enjoy.

  6. Cocksworth. Such an unfortunate name. I wonder if Mr Cocksworth ever bashes the bishop? He probably does, poor thing. One of my classmates in school was called Mildred Cockaday. Her very religious parents later changed the family name to Day (rather than Cocka, for some reason). “A Cock a Day keeps the doctor away”. I would occasionally say this to poor Mildred. She would blush. So would I. Titter.

  7. 1859 says:

    We like to think that every sex scandal in the rc church and every debate in the Anglican ‘communion’, is bringing the inexorable death of these institutions a little closer. But are we not perhaps deluding ourselves? After all these befrocked numpties enjoy huge privileges, together these two christian institutions own vast tracts of land and numerous highly-valued property, they are hardly going to vote – or think – themselves out of existence. Even if every Sunday the churches stand empty, these churches would probably still exist as privileged religious clubs.

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    The moment the Church of England changes its current policies toward homosexuals, it will begin to bleat and shriek about what a champion of (secular) civil rights it is and how their new policy was their ‘real’ policy all along because it’s what Jesus and the Church ‘really’ wanted, merely restored. Never mind they are last to arrive at someone else’s party, they will repeat endlessly it is their party. Religion always opposes (secular) change until it supports it, then it claims it. Christianity supported slavery and opposed miscegenation until they didn’t, and now can’t shut up about Christian civil rights leaders.

  9. sailor1031 says:

    @gerhard: gender equality is essential to some folks no matter how irrelevant it may actually be. That said, I see no feminist groundswell to be equally represented on Texas’ deathrow!

  10. Robster says:

    This weird little bishop is too silly to figure out how to vote properly. Why is he, given his obvious intellectual shortcomings, in such a position to vote on such a thing? It’s not like it matters to anybody outside the diminishing CofE bubble but really. Did the twit remember where he parked the car after this?

  11. Matthew Carr says:

    I have noticed that the speed at which a religion can change is directly proportional to the money involved. Threaten their funding and they can be downright progressive.

  12. L.Long says:

    A load of BiShobs saying something is as I indicated BS! No matter the position. If gay is OK then they are hypocrites to the dogma, if gay is bad then their dogma is still BS. It is a loose-loose situation.

  13. Brian Jordan says:

    Voting handsets? Must be the only bit of the CofE that’s in the 21st century. It’s a wonder that they not still putting pebbles into urns, a la ancient Greece.

  14. gedediah says:

    I support the right of women and LGBT people to be equally self-deluded. I just wish they wouldn’t.