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Sunday, 8 April, 2001, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Carey stands firm on gay marriage
Same-sex marriages are a contentious issue
Same-sex marriages are a contentious issue
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, has insisted the Church of England will not sanction gay marriages.

Dr Carey told the BBC that the Church should not "muddy the waters" over the nature of marriage.


People can have deep friendship, and call it friendship

Dr Carey
He told the Breakfast with Frost programme: "Marriage is a relationship between man and a woman. I don't think it actually helps to confuse terms."

He went on: "People can have deep friendship, and call it friendship, but we don't have to muddy the waters in terms of calling it marriage. So let's be clear about the language we use."

But in a wide-ranging interview, the spiritual leader of the Church of England signalled flexibility over the question of the church remarrying divorcees.

"We do send out a muddled signal to people," he said.

Dr Carey
Carey: Nearly 10 years as Archbishop of Canterbury
"I personally believe that marriage is such a major, major moment in anyone's life that we as a church should be generous and welcoming as far as we possibly can be.

"And that is why we are producing a report later this year, which the Church of England will discuss, which I hope actually will take us forward, because I'm concerned about this very thing."

Dr Carey was asked whether he could ever envisage his post being filled by a woman or by a homosexual.

He said a female Archbishop of Canterbury was a possibility, depending on the outcome of the deliberations of a working group examining the issue.

But he acknowledged the Church was still "grappling" with the homosexuality issue.

Non-practising homosexuals are allowed in the priesthood, but the Church "draws a line at practising homosexuals because the Church has a clear ruling on what kind of lifestyle we require in the ordained ministry", he said.

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See also:

17 Feb 00 | UK
Church gay sex row erupts
30 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Gay consent at 16 becomes law
18 Sep 00 | UK
Gay marriage: In the pink
01 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Livingstone pledges gay 'marriage'
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