Gay couples will be offered the chance to celebrate their
relationships in commitment ceremonies at Oxford’s second
annual Pride festival this Saturday. Same-sex couples may also have their relationships blessed in
a special ritual performed by Father John Hyde of the Open
Episcopal Church. Christians remain divided over the issue of homosexuality. The
Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries, supports moves to grant gay
couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals. His
appointment of a celibate homosexual, Jeffrey John, as Bishop of
Reading in 2003 provoked a backlash from evangelical Christians.
The President of Oxford’s Christian Union, John Aldis,
refused to comment directly on the blessing ceremonies, but
declared that evangelicals opposed sex outside “monogamous,
opposite sex, marriage relationships.” The May Day event, which will include live music and
entertainment, runs at Oxpens Park from noon until 7pm. The
festival chairman, Karl Andrews, told Cherwell that he hoped the
occasion would not only be fun, but also “bring
Oxford’s communities together.” Organisers are hoping
to repeat the success of last year’s event, which was
attended by two thousand people. Oxford Pride is the first of the ‘Fun in the Parks’
events run by Oxford City Council, which is flying the rainbow
Gay Pride flag over the Town Hall all week as part of the
celebrations.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004