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Church of England rejects report barring gay marriage

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The Church of England’s General Synod on Wednesday rejected a report which ruled out accepting homosexual marriage and had led to a gay rights protest outside the meeting of Anglican bishops.

The “Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations” report, released on January 27, had called for the traditional teaching that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman to be upheld.

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The report also reaffirmed the view that the clergy must remain celibate if in a same-sex relationship and that they should not be allowed to bless same-sex marriages.

But it did recommend “a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for the LGBT community.

Participants in the Synod, the Church of England’s legislative body, agreed overall to “take note” of the report, by 242 votes to 184.

But it was rejected under Synod rules because it failed to win a simple majority among clergy, despite being backed by bishops and laity.

After the vote, the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, said he hoped the Church of England would continue debating the topic.

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“The Synod has declined to take note and so the report in its present form cannot come back to Synod for discussion, though we will still have to find a way forward for the wider discussion,” he said.

The issue of same-sex unions has long strained ties within the estimated 85-million-member Anglican Communion, which includes more liberal members from countries such as the United States and Britain, and conservatives from countries such as Nigeria and Kenya.

Ahead of the vote 50 protesters, carrying placards reading “LGBT equality for people and priests” and “Synod should reject bigot’s report,” called on bishops not to acknowledge the report, saying the concessions offered were not enough.

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– ‘Unconditional love’ –

“A change in tone is such a superficial proposal,” Colin Coward, a minister and director of Changing Attitude, told AFP during the protest.

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“Christ talked about a God of infinite, unconditional love. I don’t think the Church — this is a shocking thing to say — really understands what that is,” he said.

Tracey Byrne, chief executive of the One Body One Faith charity, said: “I think what we’re looking for is not equal marriage at this stage, but just some really clear sign that the Church is going to bless and recognise our relationships in a formal way.”

Fourteen retired bishops have also criticised the report, penning a letter this week saying the call for a change of tone “does not carry conviction.”

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“Our perception is that while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice,” the letter said.

The report rejected on Wednesday has been seen as far more conservative than a previous set of proposals in 2013 that had argued that clergy should be allowed to bless same-sex marriages and welcomed the presence and ministry of LGBT people both lay and ordained.

The Anglican church last year suspended the Episcopal Church, its US branch, for three years after it approved ceremonies for same-sex marriages.

Declining church attendance in more liberal countries has put pressure on Anglican leaders to be more accommodating on issues such as same-sex marriage, but that has put them at loggerheads with conservatives.

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Homosexuality is either illegal or strongly taboo in several countries with large Anglican congregations.

In 2014, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and principal leader of the Church of England, said it would be “catastrophic” if the mother church of the Anglican Communion accepted gay marriage.

Welby argued that the association could lead to the slaughter of Christians in countries such as Pakistan, South Sudan and Nigeria.


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Doctor fighting fraud charge cites Donald Trump in his defense of doling out COVID-19 drug

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As President Donald Trump promoted the drug hydroxychloroquine, one California doctor took his recommendations to the bank.

According to the San Diego Tribune, Dr. Jennings Staley is being charged in what appears to be the first case involving the drug. The FBI is charing Staley with mail fraud as part of an effort hailing hydroxychloroquine as a "miracle cure" and the "magic bullet" to an undercover agent posing as a patient, court documents say.

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The few police willing to join in solidarity with protesters

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Reports of the protests across the country are focusing on the violence, clashes and property damage caused by a small few rather than the peaceful protest of those rallying against injustice and the police standing in solidarity with them.

A few captured positive moments of cities where officers support the protests and believe Black lives do actually matter.

There were moments of protesters fist-bumping police, hugs with police, and in one incident in New York City over the weekend, one officer was separated from his unit. Protesters surrounded him with locked arms to protect him from those being violent. In Miami, Florida and Seattle, Washington, police joined protesters in kneeling.

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2020 Election

Trump shows all the signs of being ‘rattled’ now that the White House is under siege from protesters: columnist

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In a column for the Atlantic, longtime political observer Peter Nicholas stated that Donald Trump is showing all the signs of a scared man as massive protests have broken out across the country over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four former Minneapolis cops -- and angry Americans are taking their case all the way up to the White House gates.

As Nicholas wrote, "Presidents live within a protective cocoon built and continually fortified for one purpose: keeping them alive. But inside the White House compound these days, Donald Trump seems rattled by what’s transpiring outside the windows of his historic residence."

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