Thursday, 30 May 2013

Church Society calls on House of Lords to put the brakes on

Church Society has issued a press release: Church Society calls on House of Lords to put the brakes on Same Sex Marriage Bill. The full text is copied below the fold.

more about Church Society here.

Church Society calls on House of Lords to put the brakes on Same Sex Marriage Bill

Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, has written to the Lords Spiritual to express concern about the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which will be debated in the House of Lords next week.

The debate may focus on the notions of ‘rights’ and ‘equality.’ As Christians, we support and should defend the legal equality (properly defined) of all those who experience same sex attraction, and recognise them as made in the image of God. What this Bill would actually achieve, however, is not a great advance for minority rights but a fundamentally-flawed redefinition of a basic institution for every single one of us.

The formularies of our church and the law of the land define and recognise marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for as long as they both shall live. It was designed thus by God to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and his people. It has been thus since the creation of the world. The new definition proposed by the Government removes the requirement for consummation from our legal understanding of marriage, and tampers with the very idea of faithfulness in what it says about adultery. It unravels something inexpressibly precious which societies at all times and in all places have perceived as unique and essential.

Moreover, the Bill does not merely ‘open up’ marriage to a new group of people, as many are portraying it. Rather, it enforces and compels everyone in our country to hastily accept the creation of an entirely new socio-legal structure for all of us, which possesses neither an underlying consensual basis or a democratic mandate, and is actually only sought by a small minority of the gay community. Such grand-scale societal re-engineering cannot be mitigated with a few small legislative concessions to Church of England clergy or to employees with conscientious objections to the theory of same sex ‘marriage’ — in which the Bill is woefully deficient in any case, and which would quickly be eroded not least by test cases attempting to push the boundaries even further.

It is always dangerous to tamper with the foundations of a structure. To undermine marriage by redefining its very meaning as this Bill proposes to do, will have a crumbling effect on our culture as a whole. This is certainly not the way to heal the social unrest and family breakdown which are now all too prevalent in Britain and which affect every parish church in the land.

The House of Lords exists precisely to put a brake on this kind of rushed, ill-conceived legislation which has not made an appearance in any election manifesto or Queen’s Speech. Unless it is rejected by the Lords, we will all have to live with both the predictable and the many unforeseen consequences of this ideologically-driven false step for many decades to come. We must hope and pray that the Lords reject it, for the glory of God and the good of our nation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 2:34pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

Lee Gatiss writes, 'The formularies of our church and the law of the land define and recognise marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others ... it has been thus since the creation of the world.'

This is not true.

Posted by: Jane Charman on Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 3:10pm BST

Even if it was true - so what? The law is made by the representatives of individual societies and the representatives of this society are wanting to change it.
Everything happens for the first time once. "It's always been like this" is one of the most illogical arguments.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 4:05pm BST

"It was designed thus by God to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and his people. It has been thus since the creation of the world."

Not true. And they might want to be circumspect about the metaphor of Christ as the bridegroom... just sayin'.

" It unravels something inexpressibly precious which societies at all times and in all places have perceived as unique and essential."

The writer clearly hasn't read much of say, the OT. "All times and all places," indeed!

"and is actually only sought by a small minority of the gay community."

Perhaps the writer should not be speaking for the gay community. This is about justice and theologically being created in the image of God, same as straight people.

Gay marriage "will have a crumbling effect ..." This is truly a joke. None of societies ills have been caused by gay marriage! A lot of healing can happen with compassion and justice, which are not priorities of the writer.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 4:25pm BST

"Since the creation of the world", indeed! Utter nonsense. Contemptible ignorance.

Posted by: Will Douglas Barton on Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 6:41pm BST

"we support and should defend the legal equality (properly defined) of all those who experience same sex attraction"

Properly defined by homophobes who disparage gay people as "those who experience same sex attraction", I take it?

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 9:24pm BST

Moreover, it did appear in a party manifesto. Or doesn't the Lib Dems' one count? It is a coalition after all.

Posted by: Seph on Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 11:49pm BST

We American Westerners realize that while Brigham Young wasn't perfect there's pretty good evidence that most Mormon plural wives were treated a heck of a lot better than most Western women.

Posted by: Gene O'Grady on Friday, 31 May 2013 at 4:07am BST

"Moreover, it did appear in a party manifesto."
It also appeared in the Conservative's equality manifesto.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 31 May 2013 at 6:31am BST

"We American Westerners realize that while Brigham Young wasn't perfect there's pretty good evidence that most Mormon plural wives were treated a heck of a lot better than most Western women."

I'm an American Westerner and... ???? There's pretty good evidence of plural wives being treated as chattel, and being married off before the age of consent...

It does, however, refute the notion of marriage as between one man and one woman in all times and all places. The writer may well want to look at Utah as well as the OT.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 1 June 2013 at 7:19am BST

Don't forget 'Paint Your Wagon' with Lee Marvin. A wonderful contribution to the current 'debate' - if you let it. And surely, right up Church Society's street !

The world has been run by heterosexuals who had & have all the power for hundreds of years - so if you don't like the way the world turned out, it would show more ethical sense and intgrity not to blame lgbt, who just got by, surviving as best we can - then & now.

Posted by: Laurence on Sunday, 2 June 2013 at 2:14pm BST
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