Bishop apologises for pressing wrong button in vote on same-sex marriage report
A Church of England bishop has apologised after accidentally pressing the wrong button during a vote on a controversial same-sex marriage report.
Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth put the blunder down to a "moment of distraction and some confusion" when casting his ballot on the electronic device.
The report by the House of Bishops was rejected on Wednesday after the House of Clergy voted against it by 100 votes to 93, with two abstentions.
For the report to be symbolically approved, it had to gain a majority in the House of Bishops, House of Clergy and House of Laity.
Dr Cocksworth said that, much to his embarrassment, he managed to "give the impression that there was not complete agreement in the House of Bishops", who voted 43 to one in favour of the report.
"Due to a moment of distraction and some confusion over the voting process, I pressed the wrong button on my handset, thus registering a vote against taking note rather than a vote for taking note of the report," he said in a statement.
"I have apologised to my colleagues in the House of Bishops and to the Archbishops for my mistake."
Dr Cocksworth said he was "disappointed" by the outcome of the vote, and that the report was a "valuable road map".
Presented to the General Synod, the report called for the Church to adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gay people - but not to change its opposition to same-sex marriage.
Under its recommendations, marriage would continue as "a union, permanent and lifelong, of one man with one woman".
It also urged the promotion of "maximum freedom" for gay couples within current laws and doctrines, without changing them.
The recommendations were the subject of a "take note" debate as more than 400 Church leaders gathered for the third day of the Synod at Church Hall in Westminster.
At the vote, there were 242 votes in favour of "taking note" of the report, 184 against - including one bishop - and six abstentions.
It means the vote is not a formal rejection of the proposals, but will be used to inform future work by the House of Bishops.
The report cannot come back to the Synod for discussion in its present form, and the group is likely to begin work on another document.