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Church of England says marriage equality one of biggest threats in 500 years

Church of England says marriage equality one of biggest threats in 500 years

The Church of England has responded in harsh terms to the British government’s plan to legalize same-gender marriage. The document will be found here when it appears.


Jerome Taylor in The Independent:

The Government’s plan to introduce same-sex marriage is one of the most serious threats to the Church of England in its 500-year history, senior clergy claim.

The Church today outlines its opposition to the Government’s proposals in scathing terms. Anxiety among Church leaders is so acute that they raise the spectre of disestablishment, warning that any attempt to alter the definition of marriage could fatally undermine the Church’s privileged position.

Ever since the reign of Henry VIII the Church of England has been the country’s official religion, facing down threats to its establishment as severe and varied as the Spanish Armada and the English Civil War. That senior clergy have raised concerns about same-sex marriage in a similar context indicates how seriously they view the Government’s attempt to redefine marriage – as a potential attack on the role of the Church itself.

Critics have dismissed the Church’s stance as overly dramatic and called on bishops to follow the lead of established religious bodies in Iceland, Sweden and Denmark who largely embraced gay marriage.

Ben Quinn in The Guardian:

The threat of an unprecedented clash between church and state over the issue of gay marriage has opened up after the Church of England delivered an uncompromising warning to the government against pressing ahead with controversial proposals.

Introducing same-sex marriage could lead to the church being forced out of its role of conducting weddings on behalf of the state, the church claimed in a potentially explosive submission in response to the government’s consultation on gay marriage, which closes on Thursday.

The submission’s warning of a potential clash between canon law – that marriage is between a man and a woman – and that of parliament is likely to put pressure on the prime minister, David Cameron, who has spoken out in support of gay marriage and already come under fire from supporters of the proposals for allowing a free vote amongst Tory MPs.

Thinking Anglicans has the Church of England’s media release as well as a round up.

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Mary Ann Hill

Sorry the AMIE - Anglican Mission in England - already has a head start. http://anglicanmissioninengland.org/

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Nicole Porter

If TEC can expand into England, then there should be no argument whatsoever about ACNA being part of the communion. The "no crossing borders" argument goes out the window.

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E B

After our recent experiences with the proposed Covenant, it is ironic indeed that the drafters of the CoE document frostily declare of the Consultation Exercise, "The document expresses the issues in prejudicial terms which pre-empt the principles on which it purports to consult."

The other amusing thing about the CoE document is the juxtaposition of the erudite phrasing with the endless string of illogical arguments and unsupported conclusions, including the early resort to the playground every-else-does-it argument, the invocation of the 1662 prayer book (the irony of which appears lost on the authors), the assertion that the "inherited understanding of marriage contributes a vast amount to the common good," or the references to biology as an argument in support of marriage.

In short, the CoE paper is a hot mess and a sorry case of prejudice hiding behind the mask of learning.

Eric Bonetti

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Richard Angelo

Perhaps this is one of those 500 year "rummage sale" moments that Phyllis Tickle talks about when the Church has a rummage sale to rid iteslf of old things and ideas.

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Elizabeth Pa

Marriage equality is the biggest threat to a church founded by an adulterer who wanted a divorce in 500 years? Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. Makes me a bit embarrassed to call myself Anglican.

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