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There is a fresh call for the Church of England to lose its exemption from conducting same-sex marriages, this time from one of its own bishops.
Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson the Bishop of Buckingham (pictured below) said removing exceptions for the Church under the Equality Act (2010) would help tackle homophobia.
Asked by The Times if the Act should be amended, he answered: " Yes. The Equality Act is used as an accountability standard in modern Britain.
"It describes how we understand public accountability in every institution except the church. That does seems quite extraordinary."
Under current law, it is illegal for the Church of England to conduct a same-sex marriage. Religious institutions are also allowed to discriminate on certain grounds when it comes to making job appointments.
Bishop Alan continued: "If the church were far more observant of the Equality Act, then deep structures of abuse, homophobia and sexism would not be embedded in the church in the way they are."
In urging that such exceptions be scrapped, Bishop Alan also claimed there were seven failings in how the Church tries to protect against abuse.
He said the Church should introduce mandatory reporting of abuse disclosures - where clergy who learn of abuse allegations are under a legal obligation to pass the information on to authorities.
Other recommendations include a new system where abuse can be reported anonymously and better pastoral support of people who say they were abused.
Premier has contacted the Church of England for a comment.
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