Same-Sex Civil Marriage and the Established Religious Lobby

Friday, 22 June 2012

Iain McLean and Scot Peterson have written at Politics in Spires about Same-Sex Civil Marriage and the Established Religious Lobby: Providing the Government with Good Information?

On Tuesday 12 June, two days before the end of the consultation by the Government Equalities Office (GEO) on same-sex civil marriage, the Church of England submitted an unsigned response. The response contains a number of arguments, which we feel are deeply flawed or simply inaccurate:

  • Same-sex civil marriage violates the fundamental principle of marriage: complementarity, which arises from the difference between the sexes. If this argument does not depend upon the importance of procreation, and it cannot, then the argument is circular.
  • Legislation on civil marriage will impact religious marriage because the institution of marriage is one and the same for both. But one of the foremost Christian apologists in the Church of England has argued that they should be different, and the Church of England has fought successfully to maintain the distinction between the two.
  • The Church of England’s bishops have supported civil partnership policy in the UKIn fact, they have not.
  • European law may force churches to perform same-sex marriages if the government does so. In fact, the authority that the church relies on leads to exactly the opposite conclusion.
  • Nothing is gained by giving same-sex partners the option of a civil marriage when they already have civil partnership. This argument is wrong, because (a) important benefits obtain in marriage, which do not in civil partnerships; and (b) separate is not equal.

On Thursday 14 June, the consultation deadline, seven Oxford academics, including the authors, Professors Leslie Green (Philosophy of Law) and Diarmaid MacCulloch (History of the Church); the Rev Canon Dr Judith Maltby, Dr Adrian Kelly, and Will Jones, M.Phil., submitted a response to the church’s position, addressing each of these arguments in turn…


This is a timely rebuttal of the official Church of England response to the proposal by the British Government to bring in legislation that would allow Same-Sex Marriage to happen.

Quite apart from the answers to various mis-statements made by the Church of England’s response, above-mentioned, it is worth reading the whole article made by some well-known British  (pro-legislation)  academics in this link:-  response 

The obvious misinformation that has been provided by the un-named authority which provided the official Church of England statement; would seem to demand an explanation that seems, in all probability, will not be forthcoming from official channels. This makes this ‘response’ from the academics all the more necessary.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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