Comments: Anglican Mainstream response to government consultation

"The Christian tradition, still held by the majority in the Church of England, is that same-sex acts ought to be subject to self-control, and that where they are not this entails a moral wrong."


Posted by Alastair Newman at Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 12:17pm BST

Just really poor theology dressed up to look clever. Its idiotic to start the 'if a marriage cannot produce children' argument if you can't see where it clearly goes.

Posted by Gareth Hughes at Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 1:07pm BST

"The Christian tradition, still held by the majority in the Church of England, is that same-sex acts ought to be subject to self-control, and that where they are not this entails a moral wrong."

If this is claiming that the majority of churchgoers are opposed to homosexual relationships any longer, then I really think that is so out of date and it's abundantly clear from repeated polls that acceptance of gay and lesbian love is at an all-time high in this country.

And as for self-control. If *heterosexual* sex acts are not subject to self-control, then they too may involve a moral wrong. In fact, all over the world, there are countless examples of people who are heterosexual, acting with lust, accessing porn, having affairs, *not* exercising self-control. It's not just a homosexual thing!

If, on the other hand, by self-control they mean that gay men should stay celibate, then (a) I do not believe that most of the churchgoing public any longer agree with that (b) It is a perverse and unnatural proposition which, if applied to heterosexual couples, would seem outrageous and risible.

It is a mark of the dehumanisation involved in this dogma, that gay and lesbian couples are reduced to living like eunuchs or monks or nuns in perpetual chastity, and not granted the life-affirming joy and love and intimacy afforded by this theology to heterosexual couples.

It is discrimination, and diminishing, and marginalising, and you know what? The ordinary people of this country are through with this prejudice. It's finished. The government will, quite rightly, legislate to grant all people the same rights to sex, to sexual partnership, to commitment in faithful marriages, to love... regardless of gender, regardless of orientation, regardless of colour or race.

And - guess what - heterosexual marriage won't be harmed in the slightest (except by heterosexual unfaithfulness or fallibility or incompatibility). On the contrary, marriage will be strengthened as an institution, when it is seen as an inclusive icon of fidelity for all.

One other thing: these government measures set out to right a very great wrong against married couples where one of the partners is transsexual.

At present, and largely the result of lobbying by Christian groups in the past, if someone transitions male-to-female or female-to-male, for sound psychological reasons sanctioned by government and health professionals... and seek legal recognition in their new gender (a Gender Recognition Certificate) granting them legal standing for pensions, access to female facilities, imprisonment in the right gendered prison, etc etc...

...they must first get divorced, even if they still love each other, and affirm their marriage, and are faithful and devoted... otherwise the legal rights to their correct gender will not and cannot be granted.


Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 5:05pm BST


We are told that marriage is precious, and I agree, but I know several transsexual people who were happily married, who have been forced to decide between their legal rights and their marriage. The law says, to get their legal rights, they must divorce.

That is outrageous.

Yes, the law needs to be changed. The phobia over two women being married, or two men being married, seemed so horrific to some, that they lobbied to stop married transsexual couples being married.

This epitomises the outdated limitations of marriage, and the homophobia that would rather diminish people's lives than develop their ossified and rigid perpetuation of the culture of past society.

This doesn't mean that marriage itself is outdated. But - as Jesus said - the primacy is love. If two people want to be married, they should be. And no-one else should tell them they can't. The reason for marriage is love and commitment. Gay and lesbian couples are just as capable of love and commitment as heterosexual couples.

They are equally capable of self-control. And if marriage is such a good thing, and two people want their love to be sacramental, and vowed before God, no-one should stand in their way. The majority in this country support gay and lesbian sex, and see it as ordinary, natural and lovely.

The Church should be at the forefront of pressing for justice, acceptance, inclusion... and decent people's flourishing.

There is no way that the people of Britain want to see gay and lesbian people marginalised, or vilified because their sex is an 'abomination'. Those conservative elements is the church who continue to vilify gay sex are completely out of step with the diversity and inclusion of modern Britain.

There is, indeed, a problem with sexuality and objectification and infidelity in modern Britain. But it is largely a heterosexual problem. The majority of lust and lack of sexual control is carried out by heterosexual men towards women, or women towards men.

If this infidelity is a problem (as it is) how ironic if the Church wants to *stop* gay and lesbian couples who want to sanctify their fidelity in church.

We should be celebrating the desire of people to get married - not condemning them.


Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 5:06pm BST

Talking of ‘complementarity’, how many weddings nowadays state the BCP's duties for wives?

"Submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Let the wife see that she reverence her husband.

"Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the Word, they also may without the Word be won by the conversion of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible; even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.”

Posted by Andrew at Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 10:03pm BST

Christian statement criticising gay sexual relationships... so of course...:

"the requirement for sexual self-control extends beyond the boundaries imposed by marriage. Thus for example, whilst there are those who undoubtedly experience compelling sexual desires regarding children or animals..."

It seems to be some kind of Godwin's Law among conservatively evangelical Christians, that whenever gay or lesbian sexual relations are being discussed... paedophilia and bestiality must be mentioned somewhere along the line... as *another* illustration of "lack of self-control".

Homophobia is homophobia is homophobia.

Posted by Susannah at Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 2:20am BST

Marriage is more about celebrating the love and monogamous commitment of one person with another, than it is about the necessity of producing children of the marriage.

Children are nowadays being brought into the world without the advantage of a heterosexual couple as married parents. There are possibly as many children born out of wedlock as there are within that sacred bond. So, heterosexual marriage does not necessarily mean more 9wanted) children. This is perhaps a sad state of affairs, but it does not preclude the advantages of allowing a Same-Sex couple who love one another, and who may want to adopt the children heterosexual couples cannot provide for, from making a marriage commitment - that will protect them and their children, in the same way as any other legally married couple.

Mainstream is not anywhere near the Mainstream opinion flow on this subject. just ask the people whop actually know about loving Same-Sex couples.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 10:52am BST
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