It used to be said that the Church of England was the Tory party at prayer. Doubtless it remains the case that religious Britons are, all other matters being equal, more likely to vote Conservative. But as far as civil marriage is concerned, there is no need to pander to the objections of a faithful minority. Indeed, Britain is a largely secular society these days and, at least as far as same-sex relationships are concerned, a much more civilized place than was the case in years gone by.....Indeed. So we have the ludicrous and very insulting view of the C of E denying legal rights and refusing to perform legal ceremonies, and seeking to prevent marriage equality, which means that even denominations who approve are not allowed to perform such ceremonies. Moreover, the CofE are asking embarrassing questions of candidates for Bishop about sex. This is a fast track to true irrelevance, as can be seen in this recent poll of religious belief in the UK.
Moreover, civil partnerships—a step forward as they may once have been—still fall short of full equality. Eliminating this discrepancy—it seems likely that Cameron's commission will recommend scrapping civil partnerships—removes the stigma, however minor it may have seemed to some, of second-class status.
The churches may disagree. But there's no reason to grant them a veto over the civil definition of marriage. It is unlikely churches will be compelled to recognize gay marriages any more than a Roman Catholic priest must be cheerfully expected to officiate at a Protestant marriage ceremony. Though often conflated, the civil and religious stamps of approval are different, and the latter need not be expected for every brand of civil marriage.
40% of adults professed no religion, 55% were Christian and 5% of other faiths – age made a major difference, with only 38% of the 18-34s being Christian and 53% having no religion, whereas for the over-55s the figures were 70% and 26% respectively
11% of respondents claimed to attend a religious service once a month or more, 27% less often, and 59% never – non-attendance was higher among the young (62% for the 18-34s) than the old (54% for the over-55s) and among manual workers (62%) than non-manuals (56%), while London had the best figure for monthly or more attendance (16%)
72% agreed and 15% disagreed that religion is used as an excuse for bigotry and intolerance, with a high of 81% in Scotland where sectarianism has often been rife
40% agreed (rising to 46% of men and 44% of 18-34s) and 39% disagreed that religion is incompatible with modern scientific knowledge
I knew you could!