Sandi Toksvig to meet Archbishop of Canterbury amid same-sex marriage debate

Sandi Toksvig has said she will be meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury next week for a “long-promised coffee” as a debate on whether same-sex couples should be married in the Church of England continues.

Justin Welby announced on Friday 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”.

Plans to allow such blessings for the first time were outlined earlier this week, but the position on gay marriage will not change and same-sex couples will still be unable to marry at church.

The blessings have been welcomed by some as progress on what is a divisive issue, but others have said they do not go far enough.

In August, TV presenter and comedian Toksvig, who is gay, criticised Mr Welby for reaffirming a resolution that states marriage is “between a man and a woman”, and that same-sex relationships are “incompatible with scripture”.

In the open letter which she published on Twitter, she said the lives of LGBTQ+ people were “at stake” following the religious leader’s “horrible mistake” in reaffirming a 1998 Anglican declaration rejecting same-sex marriage.

The former Great British Bake-Off host described the issue as a “serious matter” and recalled the “several credible death threats” she has received through the years from evangelical Christians.

Ms Toksvig also offered to talk to Mr Welby over coffee to discuss the matter.

The Archbishop of Canterbury later responded with his own letter shared on Twitter where he thanked Ms Toksvig for her correspondence and said he would “love to sit down over a coffee to talk with you about it”.

He wrote that the threats she and other LGBTQ+ people “have experienced in the name of Jesus Christ are a sin” and said the Church of England agrees with that view, and that it “vigorously opposes conversion therapy”.

Mr Welby added: “The Anglican Communion is a complicated group of churches. We can talk about this when we meet. There are deep differences in many areas.”

On Saturday, Toksvig updated her followers on Twitter that a date had finally been set for their chat, writing: “Quick update – I will be meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury for a long promised coffee next week.”

The TV presenter did not reveal any further details about the meeting.

This comes after 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 LGBTQI+ people.