The Church of England on Wednesday outlined proposals rejecting same-sex marriage in its churches, continuing to teach that marriage is between “one man and one woman for life”, according to a statement statement. The decision was made after five years of discussions.

As the bishops of the Church of England are set to issue a formal apology later this week to “LGBTQI+ people for the ‘rejection, exclusion and hostility’ they have faced in churches and the impact this has had on their lives,” read a statement. , a centuries-old institution still won’t allow same-sex couples to marry in a country where same-sex marriage is legal since 2013.

A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest outside the Church House
A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest outside Church House, the site of the General Synod of the Church of England, in London on February 15, 2017.

DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

Instead, the church will offer a service that will include “prayers of dedication, thanksgiving or for God’s blessing of the couple in the church after a civil marriage or partnership.” The use of the prayers will be voluntary for clergy, which the church says will reflect its “theological diversity.”

This is the first time that the Church will allow the blessing of same-sex civil marriages.

“Both personally and on behalf of my fellow bishops, I would like to express our deep sadness and grief at the way LGBTQI+ people and those they love are treated by the Church, which above all should recognize every person as valuable and created in the image of God,” said Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York.

“We are very sorry and ashamed, and we want to take this opportunity to start again in the spirit of repentance that our faith teaches us.”

Jane Ozan, a British LGBTQ+ activist, said the Church’s decision was “absolutely vile” and called Cottrell’s apology “hollow.”

“I can’t believe that five years of pain and injuries have brought us here,” Ozan said Twitter.

“Over the years, we have issued countless apologies but taken no action to stop harmful discrimination. It’s insulting to everyone who trusted the process.”

The General Synod will discuss these proposals during its meeting on February 6-9, and the main debate on the proposals will take place on February 8.

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