Petitioning Governments

Anglicans for Decriminalization of Private Consensual Same-Gender Intimacy

We, the undersigned, as members of the global Anglican Communion:

APPLYING our faith’s approach of discerning God’s wisdom, truth and justice through an appeal to Scripture, reason, and tradition, to the ongoing criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people in more than forty countries within the Commonwealth of Nations; and

ACKNOWLEDGING that such laws criminalizing private acts of intimacy between consenting same-gender adults were imposed on most Commonwealth states during the period of British colonization;

And that numerous national, regional, and international bodies have found that these laws contribute to horrendous human rights violations against LGBT people by state and non-state actors;

And that these violations include blackmail, home invasions, lifetime incarceration, murder, and the spread of HIV by driving vulnerable LGBT people underground, away from effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; and

RECALLING that in 1954, the Moral Welfare Committee of the Church of England prepared the first report calling for the repeal of anti-sodomy laws in England and Wales;

And that in 1957, the Wolfenden Committee, which recommended decriminalization of sodomy in England and Wales, included several Anglican members;

And that in 1967, the Wolfenden Committee report was relied on to successfully repeal the anti-sodomy laws in England and Wales, but not in the rest of the Commonwealth;

And that in 1998, the Primates of the Anglican Communion condemned the irrational fear of homosexuals;

And that in 2005, the Primates condemned the victimization of homosexuals and begun a process of listening to the experiences of homosexual persons (the Continuing Indaba Project);

And that in 2016, the Primates agreed that despite differences on same-gender unions, they reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted persons; and

REALIZING the significant benefits to societies from the repeal of such laws, including greater social cohesion, improved public health, and greater access to social justice for all citizens;

WE THEREFORE,

ENDORSE the 2016 call made by the Primates on behalf of the global Anglican Communion to decriminalize private acts of intimacy between consenting same-gender adults;

AND ENCOURAGE Anglican bishops, synods and governing bodies to work through relationships and networks within the Anglican Communion towards a goal of global decriminalisation of homosexuality; and

INVITE member countries of the Commonwealth and other states with anti-sodomy laws to decriminalize homosexuality immediately as we seek to live the universally good and prophetic mandate “To do justice and love mercy” (Micah 6:8) while upholding the dignity of every human being.

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