In the news - CofE opposes gay marriage

A rift has opened between church and state after the Church of England warned that introducing gay marriage may force the church out of conducting marriages for the state.

In the news - 12 June

Church of England claims gay marriage would ‘alter the intrinsic nature’ of the institution


A rift has opened between church and state after the Church of England warned that introducing gay marriage may force the church out of conducting marriages for the state.

The threat came as part of the CofE’s 13-page submission to the Home Office consultation on gay marriage, which states that passing measures to allow homosexual couples to marry would directly contradict canon law; namely that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman. While acknowledging that marriage has positive effects on society, the church adds that it cannot bring itself to fully support same sex civil marriages, arguing: “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.”

Although the government has promised that churches would not have to perform gay marriages if they did not wish to, the CofE argue that it is “very doubtful” that such a stand would succeed if challenged in the European court of human rights, which would therefore make the role of thechurch in performing marriages for the state impossible. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, accused the church of carrying out a “masterclass in melodramatic scaremongering”, and argued that over 60 per cent of British people of faith supported the right of gay people to get married.





Related resources


Homosexuality - Nature or Nurture?

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Christian Attitudes to Homosexuality

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Supporting lesbian, gay and bisexual young people

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