15/02/2017 11:23 GMT | Updated 16/02/2018 05:12 GMT

Why It's Time For The Church To Finally Accept Same-Sex Marriage

Should the Church of England continue to ban gay marriage?

This is the question on the minds of Anglicans across the UK as the Church's synod votes to decide whether to back the recommendations from Bishops that the Church should continue in its opposition to same-sex marriage.

The acceptance of homosexuality is the biggest event of social change in the past 50 years. There has been unprecedented progress on what was, for so long, a deeply toxic issue.

The vast majority of westerners now accept and embrace homosexuality as something natural and normal. People are finally recognising that discrimination, hatred and persecution towards those who are gay is both ridiculous and inexcusable.

Ever since the legalisation of gay-marriage in the UK back in 2014, the Church of England has been caught in a troubled situation. It can be no secret that within the Christian faith as a whole, there is deep turmoil with regards to sexuality and identity.

It goes without saying that there will be gay priests and bishops across both the UK and around the world, and it cannot be denied that there are LGBT individuals attending Churches week after week. These individuals deserve acceptance, love, respect and recognition within their communities.

And in the wider world, Church teaching is contributing to continued homophobia and hatred towards gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals. Seeing homosexuality as a 'sin' makes those who are gay feel ashamed, dirty, inferior and worthless.

Gay people are committing suicide and self harming every day. Gay people are being attacked, beaten, killed and imprisoned everyday. Gay people are being disowned by their families, mocked and bullied every single day.

As a force for good and love in the world, the Church cannot allow such suffering, persecution and discrimination to continue.

Christianity is not supposed to be about orthodoxy, rules and outdated regulations; Christianity should be about showing love and compassion to each individual.

By accepting same-sex marriage, the Church would be sending out a deeply loving, compassionate and ultimately Christ-like message to the World; all people deserve the right to marry who they love, all people should be accepted for who they are and all people are equal, normal and gifted in God's eyes.

The Church has a momentous opportunity to overcome decades of homophobia, hatred and persecution. By giving same-sex couples the equality they deserve, the Church would be sending this very clear message to the countries who continue to imprison and execute gay people and would finally put the message of love taught by Christ into action.

The scientific consensus is out - homosexuality is not an illness, a disease or a sin, but a natural and normal part of one's unique identity. In the same way the Church has accepted evolution, the Church must now be progressive and enlightened in its thinking on human sexuality.

There is simply no excuse for the continued persecution, discrimination and inequality gay people face. How can a religion that champions love and compassion continue to persecute the 1 in 10 people in this world who are gay?

This is the opportunity for the Church to be a force for good and a force for love in the world. Let us pray that the Church will finally make the right decision, and embrace all peoples, irrespective of their sexual orientation.