Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No weddings in the C of E: government to make them illegal

From the BBC:
THE Government's Bill to introduce same-sex marriage will make it clear that it is illegal for any Church of England minister to marry a same-sex couple.
The Government therefore assists the Church of England to make it official: the C of E will have no measurable relevance to the lives of modern people.

From Benny's Blog:
While the opportunity will be created for churches in general to ‘opt in’ to celebrating same-sex Marriages, Anglican churches will not have this provision. The statement today made it clear that one of the ‘quadruple locks’ to protect religious belief and practice, will be specific legislation making it illegal for the Church of England (and Church in Wales) to conduct same-sex marriages.

For me and many others this will be a safeguard too far.It will mean that even when (in years to come) the CofE changes its mind, it will require a change in primary legislation before same-sex marriages can take place in parish churches. Unlike other religious institutions, the CofE will not be able to vote to ‘opt in’ – it will have to ask the Government to change to law.

This has been presented as a further reassurance to the Church of England (& Wales) but it only reassures those who want to stop same-sex marriage in the first place. There are many others who have been appalled by the Church response to these issues. We do not want the CofE excluded from the ability to ‘opt in’ when that view achieves a majority. We do not want to be treated differently from other churches and religious groups. We do not want to see such discrimination cast into law.If the Church of England welcomes these new ‘safe-guards’ the real effect of the ‘quadruple lock’ announced today will be to ensure that LGB&T couples are left in no doubt that the Church of England is locking and bolting the door to them for as long as it possibly can. It will send out a clear message – “You are not welcome here.” 
....If the CofE welcomes these safeguards today, it will be demonstrating that the Church of England only now exists to protect itself against social change – in relation to women, in relation to LGB&T people, and in relation to the State.

The trouble with locked doors is that they tend of keeping everyone out who doesn’t have the right key. Is that really the kind of church we want to be?

1 comment:

Erp said...

From what I've gleaned the government may be trying to avoid a few legal quagmires in that the CoE and the CiW can still perform legal marriage by banns without the parties having to go to an government office (i.e., their ministers are acting as government officials when doing marriages via banns). The CoE is also required to marry eligible parishioners. By taking these two churches explicitly out of the running, these churches can't then complain they might be forced to perform same sex marriages because of their status as established (or semi-established in the case of the Church in Wales). Well established law fully protects the other religions from having to perform marriages they don't want to whether it be non-members of their religion, same-sex, divorced people, etc..

When and if the CoE decides to allow same-sex marriage, they would pass a measure in the Synod and Parliament would ratify which would override the ban in this measure. I assume something similar would happen with the Welsh church.

I suspect it is also a bit of you said you wanted this so we are going to give it to you and more, don't choke.