In light of yesterday’s announcement, it may be helpful to reprise what the Church of England has said in the recent past about the government’s proposals concerning same-sex marriage.
Here is the original consultation document. Among other things it said:
We have listened to those religious organisations that raised concerns about the redefinition of religious marriage. We are aware that some religious organisations that solemnize marriages through a religious ceremony believe that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
That is why this consultation is limited to consideration of civil marriage and makes no proposals to change the way that religious marriages are solemnized. It will not be legally possible under these proposals for religious organisations to solemnize religious marriages for same-sex couples. There will therefore be no obligation or requirement for religious organisations or ministers of religion to do this. It will also not be possible for a same-sex couple to have a civil marriage ceremony on religious premises. Marriages of any sort on religious premises would still only be legally possible between a man and a woman.
Here is the press release issued on 12 June about the CofE’s response: A Response to the Government Equalities Office Consultation -“Equal Civil Marriage”- [from the Church of England].
And here is the actual response made by the CofE published that day: A Response to the Government Equalities Office Consultation -“Equal Civil Marriage”- from the Church of England
You can follow Thinking Anglicans reporting of the ensuing news coverage by following this link and scrolling to June 2012.
Then in July, at General Synod, a lot of Questions were asked about this response. Here is a copy of the official transcript of the Questions with Answers.
Yesterday, the following further press release was published in response to what has been described as a U-turn by the government on the issue of religious participation in same-sex marriages. Like the official response it is totally anonymous. Unlike the first one, it makes not even a small attempt to mention that there is a wide range of views on this topic held by members of the Church of England.