Post submitted by Diane Martin, HRC Religion and Faith Program Assistant  

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is making waves this week, following his response on a British radio show to a caller who asked why the Church of England's clergy are still not permitted to officiate civil same-sex marriages. Marriage equality took full effect in England and Wales on March 28, 2014. 

According to The Guardian, Archbishop Welby condemned homophobia in England, but warned the caller that Church of England must be cautious about supporting marriage equality because it could lead to violence against Christians internationally.

“I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact,” Welby said.

Shortly after Welby's comments were released, Bishop Gene Robinson, a longtime advocate for LGBT equality and member of HRC’s Religion Advisory Council, issued a thoughtful and compelling response via The Daily Beast

Bishop Robinson's nuanced critique challenges the Archbishop to examine the impact his own words can have on LGBT Anglicans, as well as LGBT communities globally.

Robinson wrote, "It is absurd to buy into a group of murderers’ rationalizations for their actions, unintentionally giving legitimacy to the perpetrators’ reasons for murder. The Archbishop certainly knows that the reasons behind such violence are complicated and numerous, including both religious and long-standing cultural conflicts. Surely, these Muslim extremists were looking for a “reason” to murder their Christian countrymen, and as is so often the case, they used 'let’s blame the gays!'"

Read Robinson's article in its entirety here.

HRC’s Religion and Faith Program seeks to engage all faith traditions in a deeper dialogue on questions of fairness and equality for LGBT Americans. For more resources from HRC’s Religion and Faith program, visit

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