Church Society welcomes the Church of England’s official submission
to the government’s ‘consultation’ on sex-same marriage, which argues strongly in favour of retaining the current definition of marriage as “the voluntary union for life of one man with one woman to the exclusion of all others”.
The submission helpfully points out the confusion at the heart of the government’s proposals: observing that there is no such thing as “religious marriage” or “civil marriage”, but only civil and religious weddings, which provide different doors into an identical legal relationship.
It also highlights the way in which the far-reaching legal and constitutional implications of the proposed redefinition of marriage appear not to have been worked through by the government – with, for example, the worrying possibility of Church of England clergy being exposed to legal challenge in the courts.
The submission restates the Church of England’s teaching embodied in Canon B30: “The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union, permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side….” Since this is on the basis of “our Lord’s teaching” this is not something that can be redefined – whether by the government or by the church.
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