The Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed it is not up to him to judge gay people for their “sins”.

Archbishop Justin Welby made the comments while visiting St Alban’s Academy in Highgate.

Of his views on sexuality, he told the Birmingham Mail: “I’m listening very, very closely to try to discern what the spirit of God is trying to tell us.”

Echoing comments from the Pope – who expressed a similar sentiment in 2013 – he said: “I see my own selfishness and weakness and think, who am I judge them for their sins, if they have sins. We shouldn’t demonise and dismiss and hate each other as that is so dangerous.”

When he was asked about same-sex marriage, he said: “Marriage is between one man and one woman for life and sexual activity should be confined to marriage, that’s in the Church of England’s laws. I’m equally aware I have a lot of gay friends and I know gay clergy and they are doing incredible work.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury previously stepped in to defend Stephen Fry, after he labeled God a “maniac”. He said: “We must speak out for others persecuted for their beliefs, whether it be religious or atheistic: taking responsibility for someone else’s freedom is as important as protecting my own.

“It is as much the right of Stephen Fry to say what he said and not to be abused by Christians who are affronted, as it is the right of Christians to proclaim Jesus Christ as their Saviour: that is his freedom to choose, that is given to us in creation.”

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