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ABY Sentamu: Government cannot allow same-sex marriage

ABY Sentamu: Government cannot allow same-sex marriage

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu says that if David Cameron’s government tries to redefine civil-partnerships into same-sex marriage then Cameron will be acting like any of dictator around the world. Sentamu insists that the State has no role in defining marriage.

““Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” says Dr Sentamu. “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.

“We’ve seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don’t want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way.

“It’s almost like somebody telling you that the Church, whose job is to worship God [will be] an arm of the Armed Forces. They must take arms and fight. You’re completely changing tradition.””

Sentamu is interviewed by the Telegraph while he is visiting Jamica for its Independence Anniversary.

The Telegraph posted a video to accompany the print article.

Sentamu seems to believe that there is broad resistance in the U.K. to any attempt to redefine civil-partnerships and claims that rebellion will come not only from the bishops but “from across the benches and in the Commons.”

His argument seems not to be theological. Rather its a push back against a sense that the culture is changing. It’s much the same argument you hear in the United States by people who blame the “Hollywood elite” against whom they feel powerless. The claim that the democratically elected government will act dictatorially if it moves in this direction is rather like the rhetoric of the present US primary debaters.

Thinking Anglicans has rather extensive coverage of the article. And as one of the comments points out there, “Gay marriage has majority support in the UK, according to every poll done in the subject in recent years, and it will probably pass the House of Commons by a majority of 500-100 or so.”


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How this looks to our mission field:


Kyrie eleison!

JC Fisher


What Gary Said. Missing the forest for the trees-with-nooses.

This is an inexcusable mix of obscenely misplaced priorities, with theocratic authoritarianism—threatening the moral authority of the entire CofE. ++Sentamu resign! >:-(

JC Fisher

Leslie Scoopmire

Well said, George. A point I overlooked.


The context of the interview was his visit to Jamaica, which has a history of violence against LGBTs. He could have done good by denouncing the government for its homophobia but instead he spread more homophobia by attacking civil marriage equality. He hath no moral authority.

Gary Paul Gilbert

George Clifford

The Archbishop contradicts himself. He says that the state does not have the right to dictate to a church want marriage is. Yet that is precisely what he wants to have happen: he wants the state to dictate that marriage is only between a man and a woman, i.e., institutionalize his definition of a marriage. A truly neutral policy on the part of the state would allow each religious group to establish its own definition of marriage. But the problem with that is then the Archbishop would not have the power of the state to enforce discrimination against people with whom he disagrees.

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