Under the title Marriage FAQs, the Evangelical Alliance has published a guidance document:
Earlier this month, the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was introduced. As this legislation has now been passed by parliament, it is important to face the reality that the state’s definition of marriage will now be different from the historical definition. The Alliance has published the following guidance for Christians and churches, answering some of the most frequently-asked questions about the implications of the Act.
The document can be downloaded as a PDF.
The Introduction is copied in full below the fold.
The Evangelical Alliance is committed to uniting evangelicals to make a difference in our society. A key element of this is providing an evangelical voice to government and culture, and in doing so we have worked hard to oppose the government’s plans to redefine marriage. A range of statements and resources can be found here:
As this legislation has now been passed by parliament, it is important to face the reality that the state’s definition of marriage will now be different from the historical and biblical definition.
However, it is also important for Christians to understand that, although we need to acknowledge the new definition of marriage, we do not need to approve of it or accept the premise on which it is based. In this context, it is vital that we are well informed of our rights and the limits of the law, and also that we speak the truth with grace and love.
It is essential for Christians to continue to defend and promote marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman, but this does not mean that they should provoke accusations of homophobia. Indeed, it is worth remembering that many people from the gay community also opposed David Cameron’s plans.
There are many concerns about what the effect of the new law will be for churches and for individual Christians. The Evangelical Alliance offers the following FAQs as guidance for its members following the introduction of the new Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 which redefines marriage in England and Wales.
Please note that the FAQs represent advisory guidance and should not be regarded as legal advice. Many aspects of the law relating to the redefinition of marriage are complex, fluid and open to interpretation. Also, government assumptions about the robustness of protections for third parties are likely to be challenged by case law. Although the guidance is as comprehensive as possible, it is not exhaustive and may be supplemented or amended from time to time in the light of experience. Consequently the Evangelical Alliance accepts no legal responsibility for the accuracy or otherwise of the FAQs. In cases of doubt consultation with appropriate legal experts is recommended.
It should also be noted that because of its established status, which includes a public duty to conduct marriages, different rules apply to the Church of England as to nonconformist churches and other religious groups. The new legislation makes it illegal for the Church of England to conduct same-sex marriages. Accordingly, the guidance applies primarily to churches other than the Church of England, though some FAQs will apply also to the Church of England.