A NEW guidance paper allowing gay clergymen to become bishops has got the support of the Bishop of Wakefield.
The document, published by the Church of England in response to last year’s Equality Act, says a gay clergyman in a civil partnership can be considered for appointment as a bishop – as long as they are celibate.
The Rt Rev Stephen Platten said it was a “good measured paper”.
He said: “The Equality Act makes it clear that people should not be discriminated against for gender, race or sexuality.
“The church should be allowed to make its own decisions about appointments.
“But what this paper is saying is that when a committee meets to appoint a bishop they need to look at the individual’s case, and that is a good thing.
“For people known to be gay or have admitted that they are gay, but now live a celibate life and are in a civil partnership with someone, there is no reason why they should not be ordained as ministers.”
The guidance paper, called Choosing Bishops – The Equality Act 2010, reaffirms that people in sexually active relationships outside of marriage are “not eligible for the episcopate or other ordained ministry”.
The Equality Act passed last year bans discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation but allows a difference of treatment where there is a “genuine occupational requirement” to do so.