A senior Anglican minister is facing backlash after urging people to pray for Prince George to be gay and to "bless" him the love "of a fine young gentleman" when he grows up.
Prince George is the 4-year-old son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. He is third in line to the throne in England.
What's the story?
The Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth wrote in a blog post that he believes that if Prince George is gay, it could help the Church of England become more inclusive of gay rights. Anglican churches in Wales and England do not allow same-sex marriages.
Holdsworth, the provost of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church. It is a separate province of the Anglican Communion that voted earlier this year to allow priests to solemnize same-sex marriages, The New York Times reported.
The minister noted he wrote the blog post a year ago, but he retweeted it after the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's upcoming nuptials.
What's the reaction?
The post has led to an outcry from church leaders throughout the United Kingdom.
"To use prayer as a mechanism for wishing this on Prince George is an unkind and destructive thing to do," Gavin Ashenden told the BBC. "It doesn't have the prince's best interests at heart, but uses him as a gender-political football to please 1.7 percent of the population."
Ashenden, a former chaplain to the Queen and a Christian Episcopal Church missionary bishop, called the request "not only contradictory but hypocritical."
"What is especially odd and incongruous is the fact that it is suddenly OK to pray for someone to be gay, but totally unacceptable to pray for them to be free from being gay and to resume a sexuality that was in tune with their biology," Ashenden added.
Susie Leafe, the director of the conservative evangelical group Reform told the BBC she was disappointed that Holdsworth introduced a child into the same-sex marriage debate.
"As a Christian minister, he should pray for all people to come to know the love of Christ, rather than a fine young gentleman," Leafe said.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Gregor Duncan, bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, told BBC News that the blog post expresses Holdsworth's personal views and don't "represent an official view of the Scottish Episcopal Church nor are they ones with which I would concur."
"I will be discussing this matter with Provost Holdsworth," Duncan said.