Christians hoping to remain on God's good side should avoid sex unless in a heterosexual marriage, according to the Church of England. "Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purpose for human beings," reads a statement issued by the House of Bishops on Wednesday, per Christian Today. The church has already made clear its feelings on same-sex relationships. It doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, which is legal in the UK, and only admits clergy in same-sex civil partnerships if they are abstinent, per the Guardian. This latest advice follows a 2018 court decision to grant mixed-sex couples the same rights attributed to same-sex couples in civil partnerships, first allowed in 2005.
The problem with straight civil partnerships, according to the church, is that "the nature of the commitment" isn't made clear. "In particular, it is not predicated on the intention to engage in a sexual relationship" as it might simply be a bond "of friendship." Marriage, on the other hand, is namely "for the procreation of children … for a remedy against sin [and] ... for the mutual society, help, and comfort that the one ought to have of the other," and cemented with vows. Jayne Ozanne, an LGBT activist and member of the church's ruling body, wasn't surprised by the statement, but she was left "deeply saddened." "It will appear far from 'pastoral' to those it discusses and shows little evidence of the 'radical new Christian inclusion' that we have been promised," she tells the Guardian. (Read more Church of England stories.)