A Church of England bishop is set to become a patron of his local gay pride event. Rt Rev Paul Bayes is the Bishop of Liverpool and has been an increasingly vocal supporter of gay rights and the inclusion of LGBT people in the Church.
'As a Christian, I really believe that Jesus wants a community where all are included and free from fear,' he told the Liverpool Echo. 'I myself have been advocating in the church for LGBTI+ inclusion and all Christians have to agree that homophobia and hate crime are evil and to be resisted.'
Bayes is from the evangelical wing of the Church so his support is seen as significant. The Pride event takes place later this month in Liverpool. Lucy Day of Liverpool Pride said: 'We are delighted that the bishop is to be a patron of Liverpool Pride and we welcome him to the family.'
Last week the Church of England Synod voted to ban so-called gay conversion therapy and to provide services welcoming trans people into churches after they have transitioned. These moves have been met with delight from LGBT campaigners but some conservative voices said they were dismayed at the lack of theological rigour applied to the debates.
The Church of England currently allows gay clergy to be in celibate civil partnerships but doesn't allow same sex marriages for either clergy or lay people.