Tuesday, February 5, 2013


The good news:
Parliament took a historic step towards embracing full equality for gay people when MPs voted on Tuesday overwhelmingly in favour of equal marriage at the end of a charged Commons debate that exposed the deep rift over David Cameron's modernising agenda at the heart of the Conservative party.

The 225-vote majority, greeted with rare applause in the public gallery, was marred for the prime minister, who suffered a humiliating rebuff when more than half of the Conservative parliamentary party declined to support the government on an issue he has personally invested in.
The Church of England lags behind the secular government and the people of the country in its response to "Equal Civil Marriage". 
The Church of England cannot support the proposal to enable ―all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony.

Such a move would alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history.
Note that the church's response is to civil marriage.  If, as is likely, the bill passes in the House of Lords and goes to the PM, no authority will force any church or clergy to officiate at same-sex marriages, but churches that wish to do so may move forward.  In fact, as an added protection, the law would ban the Church of England and the Church in Wales from performing same-sex marriages.

The statement that "the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman" is "enshrined in human institutions throughout history" is nonsense.  Throughout history, marriage has had many different expressions, even in the Scriptures.

The further explanation of the church's position includes the following:
The Church‟s understanding of marriage

1. In common with almost all other Churches, the Church of England holds, as a matter of  doctrine and derived from the teaching of Christ himself, that marriage in general – and not just the marriage of Christians – is, in its nature, a lifelong union of one man with one woman.
As Molly Ivins would say, "You can't make this stuff up!"  The church allows divorce.  Maybe the explanation should be corrected to only one man and one woman at a time.  I favor the acceptance by the church of divorce and remarriage in certain circumstances for pastoral reasons, but to use the teaching of Jesus on marriage as a "lifelong union of one man with one woman" in order to condemn same-sex marriage, about which Jesus never said a word, is less than honest and not at all pastoral.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby weighed in with his opinion:
Speaking about the vote, the 57-year-old archbishop said: "I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England's position on this.

"We have made many statements about this and I stick with that."
What else could he say?  I guess...  Archbishop Justin said earlier, he will "listen to the voice of the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking."  One can only hope he has not given up on the plan.  The position of Archbishop of Canterbury is a bully pulpit.