Ben Bradshaw

Working Hard for Exeter

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Church of England and Equal Marriage

Oh dear. Who is running my poor old Church of England? I expect the answer is no-one, given we’re between Archbishops and given the Church’s clumsy and cack-handed demand for special protection from the Government’s Equal Marriage proposals.

Let’s be clear (and to be fair to the Government they have been clear on this) no faith group or religious organisation will or can be compelled to conduct same sex marriages under these proposals, but those faiths and denominations that wish to will be allowed to.

That is the sensible position. It commands widespread public, parliamentary and Church support. Along comes the Church of England and says it wants a special extra bit of law, exclusive to it (and our sister Church in Wales), that will explicitly ban same sex weddings in Anglican churches for ever (or until that primary legislation is repealed).

Doesn’t the Church of England trust itself? The Roman Catholic Church isn’t asking for this special protection from itself. Neither are the Muslims. They appear perfectly capable of making the decision not to have same sex weddings themselves.

What is it about the Church of England that it needs its own special legislative straight jacket which means that if, one day, it changes its mind about same sex relationships it will have to come back to Parliament and ask us to amend the primary legislation it quite unnecessarily demanded in the first place?

Doesn’t my Church realise how ridiculous it looks? As it pleads for Parliament to legislate to stop it making a decision (not to conduct same sex marriages) that it is perfectly capable of making itself, it is trying to dissuade Parliament from legislating to allow women bishops – something the Church says it wants but has proven incapable of delivering itself. I hope the new Archbishop can rescue us Anglicans from this madness. 

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