Sandi Toksvig will meet the Archbishop of Canterbury for a debate on same-sex marriage

Sandi Toksvig has said she will meet the Archbishop of Canterbury next week for a “long-promised coffee” as there is debate over whether same-sex couples should marry in the Church of England.

Justin Welby announced on Friday that he welcomes the Church of England’s proposals to bless same-sex couples, but said he would not personally implement them due to his “pastoral responsibility to the whole community”.

Plans to allow such blessings were first outlined earlier this week, but the stance on same-sex marriage will not change and same-sex couples will still not be able to marry in the church.

The Beatitudes have been welcomed by some as progress on a divisive issue, but others say they do not go far enough.

In August, TV presenter and comedian Toksvig, who is gay, criticized Mr Welby for affirming a resolution that marriage is “between a man and a woman” and that same-sex relationships are “unscriptural”.

In an open letter she tweeted, she said LGBTQ+ lives were “at risk” after a “terrible mistake” by a religious leader who reaffirmed a 1998 Anglican declaration rejecting same-sex marriage.

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

Mrs Toksvig also offered to speak to Mr Welby over coffee to discuss the matter.

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

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

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

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

The TV presenter did not reveal further details of the meeting.

This comes after the Church of England announced this week that it would allow same-sex couples to come to the church for services, including prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and God’s blessing after a legal marriage ceremony.

The pastoral letter written by the Church’s bishops and published on Friday also contained a formal apology for the Church of England’s historic rejection and exclusion of LGBTQI+ people.

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