On 10th October 2017 the Second Church Estates Comissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered two written questions from Ben Bradshaw MP, about homophobic prejudice and violence and support for LGBT people:
Mr Ben Bradshaw:
(i) To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England has taken as a result of the Anglican Primates’ statement of January 2016 on homophobic prejudice and violence and the rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.
(ii) To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England has taken to prevent the imposition of (a) the death penalty and (b) other criminal sanctions on LGBT people on account of their sexuality.
(i) Dame Caroline Spelman: At their meeting in Canterbury in October 2017 the Anglican Primates reaffirmed their commitment to the statement made in 2016, specifically the Communion’s sorrow for previous failures to support LGBTI people and its condemnation of homophobic prejudice and violence. The full statement can be read here: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/311326/communiqu%C3%A9-primates-meeting-2017.pdf
The Primates also welcomed news that the Church of England has embarked on a major study of the cultural, scientific, scriptural and theological aspects of human sexuality.
In 2014 the Church started working closely with a variety of external organisations to develop a resource for its schools called ‘Valuing all God’s Children’, to combat homophobic bullying. The Education Division of the Church of England is currently updating this resource to include support for Trans and Bi students. The updated version of ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ should be published later this year.
At the July General Synod a motion was passed calling for a ban on the practice of Conversion Therapy aimed at altering sexual orientation.
(ii) Dame Caroline Spelman: The Communique that followed the January 2016 meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion stated that “the Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”
In the House of Lords bishops have recently raised concerns about persecution and detention of LGBT citizens in Chechnya and have supported the need to appoint an LGBT advocate at the UN.