Last week, the Church Times carried this article by Linda Peace: Treat them like other couples
AS A committed, Bible-believing Christian, I am ashamed and appalled by the debate about gay marriage. My views are not those of my son, who is gay and who is now an atheist, but result from some ten years of reading, prayer, discussion, and serious thought.
My son came out at the age of 20, having spent much of his previous ten years knowing that he was not growing up to feel attracted to girls, but to boys. I don’t think he even knew the word “gay” at the beginning of this process, but he knew that he was growing up differently.
I am now convinced that homosexuality is a developmental condition that is not amenable to change at any psychological level; it is not a matter of choice; and is something that has caused many boys and girls to live in shame and fear from their early teens onwards. I know that my son had no access to other gay people through his adolescence, and that it was only at university that he was able to talk this through with heterosexual friends, finally coming to the conclusion that he was gay.
We, the Church, over centuries have perpetrated a great wickedness on these children and developing adults, forcing many to live by deceit, in failed heterosexual marriages, and even in an inability to form relationships because of their own private hell.
At least the gay-rights campaigners have had the courage to stand up and work on some sort of social change. It is a pity that the Church did not do this in the first place…
The Bishop of Norwich and his suffragans have written a letter about the consultation. See Pastoral letter on marriage to all clergy. It concludes:
…We believe it important to avoid ill-considered and bellicose reactions to the Government’s proposals and to think through how such reactions are heard by gay people themselves. It is surely to the benefit of the whole of our society if gay people live in faithful, stable and publicly recognised relationships. Indeed, some gay relationships are a model of faithfulness compared with the serial monogamy so prevalent among heterosexual people. Civil partnerships were introduced less than six years ago and seem to have won rapid acceptance in wider society. They are frequently referred to as ‘marriage’ but there is a significant distinction since the registration of a civil partnership is not accompanied by any formal promises as in marriage. The Government proposes retaining civil partnerships (but not extending them beyond same sex relationships) as well as introducing same sex marriage. The rapidity of these developments makes us wonder how well considered they are.
We are sympathetic to the full inclusion of gay people in our society and the provision of appropriate means to enable them to maintain stable and lasting relationships. We believe, however, that the redefinition of marriage itself in the law of the land raises other important issues about the nature of marriage itself. The way in which the Government is going about it appears to create a new and ill-defined phenomenon called religious marriage, a novelty liable to generate more problems than the present legislation will solve.
Elizabeth Fry wrote at the Independent that Same-sex couples who want to embrace marriage should be a cause for rejoicing in the Christian Church
…So we should take immense hope from the fact that some members of the Anglican church are taking the lead in embracing change for once. It seems the church is beginning to recognise that change is inevitable and that if they are to continue their good work they will have to accept the change, just as they have with contraception and divorce. Such a loud voice from such an unexpected place only emphasises how the attitudes of society towards this issue are changing…