Dean Jeffrey John said this, during his submission to the Commission on Thursday:
"Dr John: I wish that it were not Government and Parliament doing it (legislating for S.S.Marriage) alone in the face of objections from the Church. I do not actually agree that the Bill redefines marriage. It seems to me that marriage stays the same as a result of the measure; we are simply making a decision about admitting a different kind of person to it. I would compare it with the ordination of women in ’92. When the Church of England ordained women priests, we did not say that we were redefining priesthood or the sacrament of ordination; we were simply admitting the other half of the human race into it. It is that kind of change. It is a much less radical and revolutionary change, theologically, than it has been presented as. "
I think that, herein, Dean Jeffrey is enunciating quite an important fact about the Bill; that it does not, per se, 're-define' Marriage. The Bill merely opens up the process to other people than those currently enjoying the legal benefits.
He brings up the valid point that, in the decision made by the Church of England to ordain women to the priesthood, the Church did not consider the possibility that it was 're-defining' the charism of ordination. A very persuasive argument!
One can only agree with Fr Smith about the persuasiveness of Dr John's argument. It is to be hoped that many people bother to read the account of his meeting with the Commons Committee.
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