International News Highlights — January 20, 2023

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Christian Gay rights protestors in Canterbury — Photo by Toby Melville / Reuters
Christian Gay rights protestors in Canterbury — Photo by Toby Melville / Reuters

Church of England drafts new proposals with old news
The Church of England has doubled down on its stance against same-sex marriage with a set of proposals that affirm, yet again, after five centuries of existence, that it will consider marriage a union between a man and a woman.

The proposals were drafted by bishops but have yet to be passed to the other two-thirds of the church's governing body in a gathering of its General Synod next month.

"Same-sex couples would still not be able to get married in a Church of England church," a statement from the bishops said.

And although the proposals would allow same-sex couples "prayers of dedication, [and] thanksgiving for God's blessings on the couple" in church after a civil marriage, it also allows bishops room to refuse giving such a service.

"I am under no illusions that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, but it is my hope that what we have agreed will be received in a spirit of generosity, seeking the common good," said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Welby also said that Church of England bishops will be issuing a formal apology later this week to LGBTQI+ people for the "rejection, exclusion, and hostility" they have faced in churches.

Indonesia law bans unwed roomies
Since last month, members of Indonesia's LGBTQ community have feared that they will suffer the brunt of a new law that bans not only sex outside of marriage but unwed people living together, with jail time as a penalty.

The law is slated to come into effect in three years, when unmarried couples will risk being reported to police. The law states that only a spouse, parent, or child can snitch in such a way, but experts and rights groups aren't convinced that will be true in practice.

Human Rights Watch said the law "will disproportionately impact LGBT people, who are more likely to be reported by families for relationships they disapprove of."

Hendrika Mayora Victoria Kelan, Indonesia's first openly Trans public official, said the law could cultivate the homophobia and transphobia already present in a country where same-sex marriage isn't illegal but isn't officially recognized either.

"The code does not break the chain of hate," she told Reuters. "The state rules over... people's bedrooms too much."