Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby conceded that progress on the issue of same-sex marriage in the Church of England would be “glacial”, Sandi Toksvig has said.
The comedian revealed she had met Welby for their “long-promised coffee” and that the meeting had been “calm and considered”, but that the Church’s current position was “untenable”.
In a video released online following their chat, Toksvig said it was clear the “Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step”.
Their meeting comes after she expressed her dismay last year that Welby had reaffirmed the validity of a 1998 declaration by the church that gay sex was a sin.
The Archbishop recently said he welcomed the Church of England’s proposals to bless same-sex married couples but said he will not personally carry them out due to his “pastoral responsibility for the whole communion”.
“Yesterday I went to have coffee, tea, actually, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not a sentence I thought would ever come out of my mouth,” Toksvig said in her video.
“From our very calm and considered conversation yesterday, it is very clear that the State’s Church of England and the society it purports to represent are not remotely in step.
“Justin was keen for me to see that they are moving forward, but conceded that any progress, as I would see it, if it happens at all, will be glacial.”
Toksvig said it was also “very clear” that opposing factions of the worldwide Anglican Communion were being “in part held together at the expense of the human rights of the LGBT+ community”.
“It’s not okay. And I said so,” she said.
She continued: “I asked Justin if he could just come out. I don’t mean to make a surprise announcement about his sexuality, but come out as a gay ally.
“Basically, to come up for love, love for all without exceptions, and not the current Orwellian position, where it would seem we are all created equal, but some are more equal than others.
“I hope that will happen, but I do not intend to wait upon the church.
“In the next few weeks, I will be reaching out to the LGBT+ community and all our allies to see what can be done.
“The present position is untenable. In the meantime, please. Let’s all come out for love.”
Last week the Church of England said this week it will allow same-sex couples to come to church for services including prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and God’s blessing following a legal marriage ceremony.
A pastoral letter penned by Bishops of the Church and published on Friday also issued a formal apology for the Church of England’s historic rejection and exclusion of LGBT+ people.