Thinking Anglicans

Religious leaders express support for same-sex marriage

The Cutting Edge Consortium and the LGBTI Anglican Coalition have issued a joint press release and are holding a press conference today to announce a statement signed by a number of religious leaders expressing support for same-sex marriage.

The full press release is copied below the fold. The statement itself is quite short:

We rejoice that from tomorrow same-sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales.

As persons of faith, we welcome this further development in our marriage law, which has evolved over the centuries in response to changes in society and in scientific knowledge.

We acknowledge that some (though not all) of the faith organisations to which we belong do not share our joy, and continue to express opposition in principle to such marriages. We look forward to the time, sooner rather than later, when all people of faith will feel able to welcome this development.

Press Release EMBARGOED until 11 am Friday 28 March 2014

CUTTING EDGE CONSORTIUM
LGBTI ANGLICAN COALITION

Religious Leaders Support Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

A number of religious leaders have signed the statement below. A press conference and photo-call will be held at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ at 11 am on Friday 28 March 2014.

We rejoice that from tomorrow same-sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales.

As persons of faith, we welcome this further development in our marriage law, which has evolved over the centuries in response to changes in society and in scientific knowledge.

We acknowledge that some (though not all) of the faith organisations to which we belong do not share our joy, and continue to express opposition in principle to such marriages. We look forward to the time, sooner rather than later, when all people of faith will feel able to welcome this development.

List of Signatories
* denotes Friday attendance expected

Revd Steve Chalke
Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism*
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches*
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain *
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism*
Revd Sharon Ferguson, Senior Pastor, MCC North London*

Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham*
Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth, former Bishop of Oxford
Rt Revd Richard Lewis, former Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich*
Rt Revd Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester
Rt Revd John Saxbee, former Bishop of Lincoln
Rt Revd Michael Doe, Preacher to Gray’s Inn, former Bishop of Swindon*
Rt Revd David Gillett, former Bishop of Bolton
Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, former Bishop of Hulme
Very Revd Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans
Very Revd Jonathan Draper, Dean of Exeter
Very Revd Mark Bonney, Dean of Ely
Very Revd Lister Tonge, Dean of Monmouth
Very Revd Mark Beach, Dean of Rochester

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The Cutting Edge Consortium is an alliance of faith-based LGBTI-supporting organisations, trade unions, and others united in challenging faith-based groups to promote equality and human rights.
More information at https://sites.google.com/site/cuttingedgeconsortium1/about-us

2. The LGBTI Anglican Coalition provides UK-based Christian LGBTI organisations with opportunities to create resources for the Anglican community and to develop a shared voice for the full acceptance of LGBTI people.
More information at
http://www.lgbtac.org.uk/

3. If you are planning to attend the press conference on Friday it would be helpful to let Anne van Staveren at Friends House know. Annev@quaker.org.uk.

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Susan Cooper
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Susan Cooper

Wow! Especially to those still in post in C of E!

Jean Mayland
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Jean Mayland

A splendid list of signatures. I just wish a serving Bishop or two would add their names to the ‘former bishops’!

Jean Mayland
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Jean Mayland

PS I know Alan Wilson has and we rejoice in his support but he must feel lonely

Fr John E. Harris-White
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Fr John E. Harris-White

Thank you dear friends.

God Bless you all.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Respect to Steve Chalke for signing this. With his constituency, it takes guts.

Always a pleasure to see Alan Wilson.

But where, oh where, is the signature of self-professed equal marriage supporter Nicholas Holtam?

Tim Newcombe
Guest
Tim Newcombe

If you go to the Bishop of Salisbury’s website and look up Media you will see that he issued a statement yesterday congratulating those who will enter into same sex marriages.

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

The signature of every member of the House of Bishops is on their infamous letter. Unless they publicly and unequivocally say otherwise.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Two reps from Wales!
Diolch!

The Welsh bishops have welcomed equal marriage without a comment, not even a whisper, and certainly no guidance. Of course our Canons do not have the force of law…

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

Well done, Richard Lewis! He was always a top bishop!

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

The notes on the media release by the Bishop of Salisbury congratulating same-sex couples who will get married are longer than the text itself. One must read the fine print. The C of E has not changed its homophobic and sexist teaching on marriage being between one man and one woman, again not seeming to recognize the difference between civil and religious marriage. (There is no mention of transgender. It might take the church a few more decades to recognize transgender.) Lay same-sex couples who get married can only be offered blessings. Marriage is forbidden in the church. The third… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Sarum 4 Manchester Nil

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

Describing the conscientious views of others as e.g. “infamous” does not help the discussion – a discussion I hope those on either side, not least the extremes on either side, might allow to be courteously continued. In this respect I very much stand with the Archbishop of Canterbury. A liberal Anglican, I welcome civil unions when as intended also in the marriage of a man and a woman, there is “mutual society, help, and comfort…both in prosperity and adversity”, faithfulness and commitment. However, I believe (as does the Book of Common Prayer, our standard) that the marriage of a man… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Tomorrow is a special and precious day, and may God bless those who are dedicating their continuing lives together, and bless their precious love. In the end, that’s at the heart of it all: love, and dedication. It seems like our society has matured enough to celebrate that love, and its public and social recognition in marriage, regardless of gender. Welcome to the new norm, which is actually the old norm, extended and enriched, in a generosity and acceptance. Hopefully the Church will come to understand and embrace this new norm as well, as it already does in various places,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

What a wonderful display of Christian solidarity with the outcast and marginalised of the Church!
The spiritual leadership given by serving Deans, Bishops and former Bishops of the Church of England must give heart to the LGBT community of Faith that has longed for ecclesial recognition of their acceptance by God and God’s Church.

May their sterling efforts be rewarded with a positive response from both Church and Society.
(And may Dean Jeffrey John soon be accorded episcopal responsibility – together with those women of the Church who have been overlooked.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Very Revd Lister Tonge, Dean of Monmouth” Good heavens! When “Lister Tonge” has been w/ us here at TA, I always thought it was pseudonym! [I, the Ignorant Yank, thought it sounded so Dickensian. My bad! :-X] Many thanks to the signatories (esp. Very Revd Tonge): may their numbers increase! Mazel Tov to all the marrying couples…right about now! πŸ˜€ [@John Bunyan: your post was both most unexpected (from you) and very sad (to me personally). I guess the lesbian couple I know, where one woman carried the child created from her wife’s egg doesn’t count as “marriage…’for the procreation… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I’m up early this morning, partly to watch the qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, partly because I slept badly owing to a nagging worry that my marriage had been undermined overnight by Sandy Toksvig, and somehow nothing will ever be the same between my wife and I. I shall listen to the lunchtime repeat of The News Quiz with some trepidation, as her voice is but a sign of the end times in which we are now living. We must think today of Andrew and Camilla Symes, whose marriage will need our support and sympathy to survive in its… Read more »

Stephen
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Stephen

Well said John Bunyan, you absolutely nailed it for me

Father Ron Smith
Guest

What worries me about John Bunyan’s definition of Marriage (above) is when, at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, there will be no sex or gender agenda anymore. Whatever will heterosexual couples do? Maybe, as St Paul advised, it would be better for all of us to remain single.

Tim Moore
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Tim Moore

Today is a happy day for human rights; Archbishop Justin and Bishop Nicholas both recognise this, yet as long as their own clergy are not counted in their congratulations, their good wishes for same-sex couples are disingenuous and hypocritical. Now the bishops need to publicly rescind the brutal Valentine’s Day Pastoral Guidance and ensure that no clergy will be disciplined or intimidated for entering into a same-sex marriage.

Possibly too much to ask, but it’s a demand that needs to be made.

sjh
Guest
sjh

The bishop of Salisbury’s statement is bizarre – the notes undo whatever goodwill it might have encouraged. Meanwhile +Welby also plays his game of double speak – say one thing and do another. I am still waiting for the deeds towards LGBT folk which will show how the church has repented its homophobia, though I am not holding my breath. I would like to feel enthusiastic about these small steps towards LGBT people but until I see something concrete I will remain sceptical and just see it as a PR game.

Michael Ardern Mason
Guest
Michael Ardern Mason

As a gay Anglican, I have been with my partner one for 38 years. Thank God that the Anglican hierarchy still has bishops, priests and deacons who have the courage of their convictions, and are willing to add their signatures to this statement. I sincerely hope and pray that it will not be long until the Anglican Church feels able to bless gay relationships.

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

Today is a wonderful day of realisation of many years of prayers and labours. The supportive statements are a wonderful antidote to the negativity down the years that Churches have seen fit to throw the way of gay people without much of a thought as to whether that was a good idea or of the impact it had but I think those attitudes are, ever so slowly, slipping away. And that’s a very good thing.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Bishop Alan could be in trouble… is this another David Jenkins moment?

Alan is under oath to defend the whole doctrine of the Church, not just pick and choose the theological and moral beliefs he teaches: “Will you teach the doctrine of Christ as the Church of England has received it, will you refute error, and will you hand on entire the faith that is entrusted to you?”

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

sjh, I believe Nicholas Holtam wanted to make clear his support for equal marriage again without pretending that this represents the official position of the House of Bishops. I think more bishops should be encouraged to speak out in this way.

Geoff
Guest

John Bunyan writes: “However, I believe … that the marriage of a man and woman is also ‘for the procreation of children’ (even though, of course, some marriages will be childless).” So procreation is foundational to marriage – except when it isn’t. Well, thanks for sorting that out -_- “It seems to me that therefore a civil union and a marriage cannot be equivalent.” This “therefore” is misplaced. What does procreation have to do with sexual orientation? Are you confusing homosexuality with sterility? As JCF says, some lesbian couples do indeed marry “for the procreation of children”. So, too, do… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Are you saying that using technology to fertilise an egg is the same as what used to be called a good of the estate of marriage, the result of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who made vows before God? This sounds close to Brave New World logic.

JCF
Guest
JCF

@ cseitz. My friends’ son’s name is Cameron.

And Yes.

Geoff
Guest

“Are you saying that using technology to fertilise an egg is the same as what used to be called a good of the estate of marriage, the result of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who made vows before God?” If this was directed to me, no: I have not said anything about in vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technologies, which in any case are hardly a lesbian purview. What I am saying is that something is either a “good of the estate” or it isn’t. Too many militant advocates of heterosexuality treat marriage as one of… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“Are you saying that using technology to fertilise an egg is the same as what used to be called a good of the estate of marriage”

Are you saying that a heterosexual couple who conceive via IVF are not “real” parents?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Is your point that technological devices alter forever the moral and creational dimension of human existence in Christ? Technology now puts a thumb on the scale that makes the material and creational realites incidental to what really matters: our alleged intentions and access to technologies.

Geoff
Guest

“Technology now puts a thumb on the scale that makes the material and creational realites incidental to what really matters … “

You’re missing the word “other” here. What could technologies possibly be but “material and creational [sic] realities”?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

The creational act of man and woman within the thick description of Christian marraige is now made equivalent to recently confected technologies to which any with funds have access. They are both creational! This is marraige equality’s claim in respect of procreation as a good of the estate of marraige. ‘Equality’ as a term would appear now to require this equivalence. Ranged alongside each other as equals are now married couples procreative acts, as created male and female, and all others which can find their way to this end — should they so wish or if they have the means… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Dr. Seitz:

Either begetting children is a good in and of itself or it is not. The manner and means of so doing is irrelevant.

Again I am reminded of lines from “Inherit the Wind” (paraphrasing from memory):

Drummond: All this begetting, it was done pretty much the same way we do it today?

Brady: I do not think your scientists have improved it any….

But, today, some 90 years after the events portrayed in that play, we have indeed improved on it, so that the formerly infertile and those who were born with a different orientation can “beget” as well as anyone else.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“The manner and means of so doing is irrelevant.” Thank you for the breath-taking character of your candor. The Christian tradition under full assault and without any adverbs to distract. I have written on this topic from a number of angles and at present am preparing a paper for a conference that must deal with where we now are — not the Luke Johnson approach of late 90s; or the earlier ‘we can make the Bible say that Sodom was not what Jude thought’ or Paul was talking about cult prophets (Bernadette Brooten and others rejected that tout court). Now… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“I think there are other issues that deserve more of our attention rather than what seems to me a never-ending obsessive concern in the Church with this one issue however important it is to some.”

Justice is the business of all.

I don’t know about your culture, but here in the US the anti-gay people are also the anti-poor, anti-public school, anti-universal healthcare crowd.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Dr. Seitz: Are you then saying that children begat by IVF (or some other means still to be developed in the future) are less children of God than those begat by “traditional” methods? All those couples dealing with infertility struggling to become parents are deluding themselves because the manner of their begetting is inappropriate and will not result in the “good” of children blessed by God? Has it ever occurred to you, at all, on any topic, that the “Christian consensus through time”–being a product of human nature–might actually be wrong? That the Holy Spirit continues to speak to us… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

It is the idea of leveling the basic procreative structure of male-female so that it is simply one of several same-level options that I confess to find chilling.

And no, I do not hold to a Whig account of history and nor am I an Hegelian idealist or Marxist.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“It is the idea of leveling the basic procreative structure of male-female so that it is simply one of several same-level options that I confess to find chilling. “

Why? Why is it “chilling”? Explain your reaction so we can understand it.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

PS — You might take a look at Edward J. Larson’s ‘Summer for the Gods’ which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in the late nineties. A brilliant evaluation of the romanticism of things like ‘Inherit the Wind’ and the effect on American culture.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

In Matthew 19 Christ appealed to the protological purpose of God. He did not appeal to Whiggish progressivism. He did not appeal to the Holy Spirit doing a new thing. He appealed to God’s purpose at time’s origin, for time.

To range this alongside what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) is to consumerize and technologize procreation.

What I find chilling is that you don’t see this (I don’t see anyone else defending this).

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“Thank you for the breath-taking character of your candor. The Christian tradition under full assault.”

Please explain why in vitro fertilisation is anti-Christian?

I think you are confusing what is Christian with what you are used to.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“In Matthew 19 Christ appealed to the protological purpose of God. He did not appeal to Whiggish progressivism. He did not appeal to the Holy Spirit doing a new thing. He appealed to God’s purpose at time’s origin, for time. To range this alongside what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) is to consumerize and technologize procreation. What I find chilling is that you don’t see this (I don’t see anyone else defending this). “ Oh, I see it…I just don’t believe it’s a bad thing. We have “technologized” (and there’s an awkward neologism) many… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“To range this alongside what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) is to consumerize and technologize procreation.”

I presume you advocate the refusal of all medical treatment. After all, it’s just what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) to consumerize and technologize illness and death.

But hey: if Christians want to go out and stump for the position that all fertility treatment and, by extension, medical treatment for other conditions is wrong and un-Christian, they are entirely welcome to do so. They won’t look mad at all.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

The issue isnt whether technology can do great things. It can and does. At issue is leveling creational verities so given by God in order to declare them incidental to preferences and purposes of our own.

Jesus speaks from the NT, including Matthew 19. The church takes guidance from that reality.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

You need a richer account of time. Proust and Faulkner and Marx and Hegel and Whiggish accounts are but a sample. There is also Qoheleth and Jesus Christ and St. Paul.

The Third Reich had a very specific view of time that came from Hegel and assumed progress and inevitable elimination of racial defects. Other options existed.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“The Third Reich had a very specific view of time that came from Hegel and assumed progress and inevitable elimination of racial defects. Other options existed. “

Aha! Godwin’s Law prevails even on Thinking Anglicans!

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Godwin’s was already at work in the idea that my comments were anti-technology — a wilfull confusion of my concern about the leveling of male-female procreation, so as to make it but one ‘species’ of how to procure children. Even the Ward-Rogers view of same sex relating does not do this.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Dr. Seitz:

Clearly you do not understand Godwin’s Law:

Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies)[1][2] is an Internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1″ [2][3]—​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism. [per Wikipedia]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law
No one used a Nazi reference or comparison in regard to your stance about technology. The first person to bring up the Third Reich was you.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

You consistently turned a point about the created male-female procreative role into anti- technology. I put that down to a flat-footed account of time, in which Jesus appeal to Genesis is insufficiently ‘modern’.

You might spend some time reflecting on what a whig account of time entails.