During a recent debate about marriage equality at St. John’s Church in Kidlington, England, Bishop Alan Wilson criticized Christian homophobia and reiterated his support for same-sex marriage, reports Gay Star News.
“The root of marriage is not sex, but companionship,” he said before a group of worshippers at the church. Then, pointing out the need for the Christians to align themselves with evolving attitudes on marriage equality he added, “The idea that marriage is about friendship has become extremely powerful in England.”
The Bishop of Buckingham also took aim at Christians who have mistreated LGBT people in the name of God. “One of the really painful things I have had to learn is how the Church can be really bad news to people,” he said before restating his belief that LGBT do not choose to be who they are, they are born that way. “God has made us like that. If he wanted to make us another way he would, but he didn’t.”
Wilson has been an avid supporter of marriage equality and frequently speaks up on behalf of LGBT civil rights.
In March, he encouraged gay bishops to come out saying he believes closeted clergy “would be happier out,” and before marriage equality was realized in the U.K. Wilson was relentless in his efforts to help Church of England evolve on LGBT issues. “It all comes down to how we see gay people and how we see God,” Wilson said in a 2012 video he recorded endorsing marriage equality. “We don’t actually believe gay people are sick or stunted or criminal. We don’t believe God is an angry old man out to get us. Let us stop behaving as though we did. Recognizing gay people are equal means they won’t dilute or spoil marriage but potentially enrich it.”
Currently, the Church of England does not perform same-sex weddings, per the compromise struck with lawmakers to pass marriage equality there.