Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Church of England: No More Opposition to Gay Marriage Bill

With a statement on web, the Church of England (the official recognized church of England) has formally anounced that won't oppose to same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales. The main reason is the large majorities expressed by both Houses of Parliament.

Remember that the House of Commons passed easily the same-sex marriage bill last May 21, with 366 votes to 161. And this week, the House of Lords passed the bill with 390 votes to 148. After that, the gay marriage bill has gone on to committee in the Lords where it will be scrutinised line-by-line.

The Church admits now is time to sit in the Upper House and consider how this bill can be improved. For example, including in its approach to the question of fidelity in marriage and the rights of children. Always in a spirit of constructive engagement.

Here is the short official statement, signed by Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester:

Both Houses of Parliament have now expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales. It is now the duty and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to recognise the implications of this decision and to join with other Members in the task of considering how this legislation can be put into better shape. The concerns of many in the Church, and in the other denominations and faiths, about the wisdom of such a move have been expressed clearly and consistently in the Parliamentary debate. For the Bishops the issue now is not primarily one of protections and exemptions for people of faith, important though it is to get that right, not least where teaching in schools and freedom of speech are concerned. The Bill now requires improvement in a number of other key respects, including in its approach to the question of fidelity in marriage and the rights of children. If this Bill is to become law, it is crucial that marriage as newly defined is equipped to carry within it as many as possible of the virtues of the understanding of marriage it will replace. Our focus during Committee and Report stages in the coming weeks and months will be to address those points in a spirit of constructive engagement.

This compromise position of the Church of England makes it easier to the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England but she also took a vow to uphold the laws of the United Kingdom. But, it's not clear that all the Anglican Communion (over 80 million people worldwide) accept this change, the deep division on this issue could cause a schism or cause some conservative priests or congregations move over to Catholics.

In this case, I am not sure that no opposition can be considered as support, but seems marriage equality is closer in England and Wales.


  1. By Jörg Stolz:

    well then nothing more would be yes in your way ... if the palamente are a majority for or have I understood wrong what>?

  2. they could change all the bill in the House of Lords yet, when they scrutinise it line by line, but now the position of the Church of England is not to oppose to gay marriage, the main goal, but maybe to change some aspects or details, which seems positive

  3. By Jörg Stolz:

    I can imagine that it is up to the church. The Queen is the head of the church and it is in my opinion very old-fashioned.