Thinking Anglicans

Same-Sex Marriage: Anglican Mainstream takes a position

The Trustees of Anglican Mainstream, whose names are listed here, have issued this: The Ministry Continues: A Position Statement from the Trustees of Anglican Mainstream.

The following extract is only part of a much longer statement:

…6. We well understand that an appeal to the Bible will not in itself carry the day in our contemporary secular society. We will therefore continue to deploy four additional arguments which demonstrate why the 2013 Act is a serious mistake in public policy which needs to be reversed.

  • Marriage – between a man and a woman – is good for human flourishing, an aspect of God’s common grace for the whole of humanity irrespective of people’s faith position. Public policy should be directed towards supporting marriage, not undermining it.
  • Homes centred upon such marriages provide the best context for the bringing up of children, so that they can know the love and support of a mother and a father. Public policy should be directed towards supporting such homes for the benefit of children, whose needs should have priority.
  • There is well-founded evidence of the physical and emotional harm which can be a consequence of sexual relations between persons of the same sex. Footnote 1
  • Scientific enquiry into sexuality has shown that, rather than being a given, it is fluid, the product of a combination of factors including particularly nurture and experience Footnote 2 [and see also] J Michael Bailey. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 78 (3), March 2000, pages 524-536; M Frisch, A Hviid. ‘Childhood Correlates of Heterosexual and Homosexual Marriages: A National Cohort Study of Two Million Danes’, Archives of Sexual Behaviour 35 (5), October 2006, pages 533-547; The Social Organization of Sexuality, University of Chicago Press, 1994, pages 307, 309; Female Bisexuality From Adolescence to Adulthood: Results From a 10-Year Longitudinal Study Developmental Psychology 2008, Vol. 44, No. 1, 5–14

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Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

Why does this desperate response make me feel so sad?

I suggest that Anglican Mainstream (who now number but a remnant of paid up members) pray to St Jude, patron saint of lost causes. Of course as conservative Evangelicals that isn’t possible either.

So, all that’s left is the Flat Earth Society.

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

Point 1: That a marriage between a man and a woman is good for “human flourishing” is not disputed. No one wishes to undermine it. But we also know that a marriage between two people of the same sex is good for “human flourishing” (what a odd phrase!) and policy should support this sort of loving, committed relationship as well – at least if we believe in the equal value of all human beings, and not just the heterosexual ones. Point 2: This has not been demonstrated; children in same-sex households have been shown to do as well, or in… Read more »

Daniel Berry, NYC
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Daniel Berry, NYC

First Bullet: Between a man and a woman is good for human flourishing. Yes, I’m quite sure that’s true – except when it isn’t. I’m also quite sure that when a person is gay, marrying a person of the opposite sex isn’t so good for human flourishing. I’m in love with a man who tried that for 10 years and ended up acting out all manner of self-destructive behaviors. Since he has left that marriage, he has flourished in his love life, his personal life, his professional life – and his children adore him. Second Bullet: There simply is no… Read more »

sjh
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sjh

You have to feel sorry for them really. So much of their energy goes into trying to prove everyone but them is wrong and sinful. They simply haven’t noticed nobody could care less what they think anymore. The main thing is that they can maintain their own righteousness as the ship sinks around them.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

I’d be interested to hear from Anglican Mainstream quite why AIDS transmission via male-to-male sex is an argument against women marrying, and why figures about AIDS transmission amongst young men is an argument against marriage: I’d have thought that encouraging monogamy and faithfulness was a good thing. And, of course, women are nowhere to be found in the howls of outrage from men with a problem with homosexuality: “women shouldn’t be able to marry women because men might get AIDS” seems a rather bad argument. But anyway, it doesn’t matter. There is no world in which legislation like this is… Read more »

Daniel Berry, NYC
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Daniel Berry, NYC

Sounds like Mr Brown and I are just about on the same page.

Turbulent Priest
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Turbulent Priest

At least we can be confident that all the trustees actually support this letter—contrast the bishops’ letter.

Fr. J
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Fr. J

If the ship is sinking, then let us hope that the last one out shuts the lights off and firmly locks the door, so that such overt prejudice never see the light of day again! It is very fitting this has been published in Holy Week, as I do not recognise the Gospel such authors are reading/living by! ‘While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.’

James Byron
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James Byron

“There is no world in which legislation like this is repealed.” Exactly that happened in Maine, 2009, where an equal marriage law passed by the legislature was promptly repealed by a referendum. I wouldn’t get complacent about Anglican Mainstream and their allies. Civil rights for gay people are newly won, and the backlash seen in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria is ferocious. It was stoked there so the results could be broadcast back home. Victory’s precarious. Opponents of gay rights are savvy, motivated, and have the weight of 2,000 years of history to back their play. The 1980s already saw one… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

1. Marriage – between a man and a woman – is good for human flourishing. And is not marriage between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, good for human flourishing? Unless “human flourishing” means “procreation,” in which case perhaps Anglican Mainstream should say what it really means, and let infertile, post-menopausal, or contraceptive-using heterosexuals draw their own conclusions. 2. Homes centred upon such marriages provide the best context for the bringing up of children, so that they can know the love and support of a mother and a father. This is nothing more than an… Read more »

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

Concerning point number 4, these “studies” have been repeatedly trotted out by proponents of conversion therapy in support of their position. They are as “mainstream” as Anglican “Mainstream” is. They are contrary to the findings of the truly mainstream medical, psychiatric, and psychological groups. These trotted-out “studies” used to also include Robert Spitzer’s “Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation?”, published in 2001 But in 2012 Spitzer repudiated his previous study, saying “I was quite wrong in the conclusions that I made from this study. The study does not provide evidence, really, that gays can change.”, and… Read more »

JNWALL
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JNWALL

So many, so many. I had not thought death had undone so many.

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

When I read points 3 and 4 I was expecting point 5 “Science has shown that the earth is flat.”

Robert Ian williams
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Robert Ian williams

• aim to be the best source of information available on family and sexuality matters from an orthodox Anglican perspective.

Rather rich, when one considers, they can’t agree on divorce and re-marriage and what scripture means on this.so thay side step it. Divorce raging over our land and destroying families, and affecting children in the millions!

Why can’t they admit too that they lost the battle when they accepted contraception?

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“I wouldn’t get complacent about Anglican Mainstream and their allies. Civil rights for gay people are newly won, and the backlash seen in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria is ferocious.” I don’t wake up in an English city, even one with a white minority, and worry that the UK is about to descend into gangsterism under a succession of violent dictators. Comparisons with small states in the US are similarly irrelevant: what proportion of the US population claim to be “born again”? Now, what about the UK? I should have been clearer that I meant “there is no situation in which… Read more »

Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente
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Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente

“Scientific enquiry into sexuality has shown that, rather than being a given, it is fluid, the product of a combination of factors including particularly nurture and experience.” Asserting this smacks of utter desperation, so opposite sex desire is not a God-given paradigm anymore? something built into our human nature? or does the remark only apply to same-sex hanky panky?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

James Byron has the correct response here.

Those opposed to marriage as we now enjoy it have been looking for an initiative around which to coalesce, the RC bishops passed on leading a campaign for repeal, the two retired bishops might just give this group enough credibility to attract support.

It’s important to note at this point that the best interests of children are being set aside in favour of “an orthodox Anglican perspective”. It’s indeed helpful for the rest of us to know this.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Scientific enquiry into sexuality has shown that, rather than being a given, it is fluid, the product of a combination of factors including particularly nurture and experience.”

Even if that were true, what does it have to do with marriage equality?

John
Guest
John

Can’t agree with James. The battle is won forever – that is, within any conceivable temporal perspective – in Western Europe, the UK, and many (and increasing) states in the US. There are some reforms that are so self-evidently good that they win out’forever’.

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

With regard to “human flourishing,” a new article in The New England Journal of Medicine states that marriage equality is “a prescription for better health” for families… “

“Public health research has suggested not only that discriminatory environments and bans on same-sex marriage are detrimental to health but also that legalizing same-sex marriage (among other policies expanding protections) contributes to better health for LGBT people.”

Of course, the health of LGBT people may not be of high concern to Anglican Mainstream…

Rex Gaskill
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Rex Gaskill

Same sex marriage is lawful in Maine. It became so in 2012 by the vote of the people.

WilliamK
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WilliamK

Written by Erika Baker: “Scientific enquiry into sexuality has shown that, rather than being a given, it is fluid, the product of a combination of factors including particularly nurture and experience.” Even if that were true, what does it have to do with marriage equality? — It’s simple, really! The folks in “Anglican Mainstream” still firmly believe that “people dealing with same-sex attraction” (as they call us) can change our attractions, or, at least, repress them. Being able to marry takes away an incentive for us to “change,” since we’re no longer denied something “normal” people enjoy (that denial serving… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“the two retired bishops might just give this group enough credibility to attract support.” Enough support to elect the 326 MPs necessary to pass a bill repealing the act, followed by convincing a sufficient number of members of the House of Lords to complete the deed? The delusion of Anglican Mainstream et al is that same-sex marriage is the most pressing issue of our time, at the forefront of people’s political thinking ahead of jobs, schools, houses, health care and pensions. It isn’t. Quite a lot of people think it’s an issue of civil rights. A handful of nutters think… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Interested Observer, Maine is hardly a red state: it borders Canada, abolished the death penalty decades before Britain, and its legislature passed equal marriage by convincing majorities. California, a leader in civil rights for LGBT people, likewise overturned equal marriage with Prop. 8. I’m not suggesting that the English or Scottish laws are facing imminent repeal, ’cause they’re not. I am saying that we shouldn’t be complacent about a backlash. Who, in the late Seventies, would’ve predicted Section 28 or ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’? Who, ten years ago, would’ve predicted the Nigerian and Ugandan laws, or the direction Russia’s traveled?… Read more »

rjb
Guest
rjb

Oh dear. The first three points are utter rubbish, and the last (while likely true) is a complete non sequitur. Is this the best our “mainstream,” evangelicals have to offer? They could at least be honest and stick to selectively citing the Bible. There, at least, they are on firm ground. But when they wander off their home territory and start trying to make their position sound rational to a non-Christian audience I’m afraid they just make themselves appear absurd.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Yes, Maine has an interesting history on this. It was good to see the local bishop welcoming the anniversary at the end of last year, particularly as back in 2008 the RC bishop had been a key player in the defeat of equal marriage: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/11/06/politics/one-year-after-gay-marriage-is-legalizes-maine-advocates-warn-of-harmful-proposed-law/ And the law then under discussion recently failed to reach the statute books http://maineprogressiveswarehouse.me/2014/02/20/maine-house-to-take-up-controversial-religious-discrimination-bill-ld-1428/ The Speaker’s comment that religion should never be used as a cloak to conceal discrimination might serve as a valuable motto for TA! It is heartening to read here how solid was the victory and I value deeply what others say,… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I don’t believe gender is a social construct. I believe the ‘expression’ of gender is (to an extent) a social construct. Similarly, I don’t believe sexual orientation is a social construct. But I believe the contexts and ways that orientation is culturally projected and expressed is (to an extent) a social construct. I believe people develop from foetus onwards, with integral characteristics, that create dispositions when they interact with social externals. In many ways, these are compelling dispositions if they are to be true to their authentic identity. In contrast, the Bible IS a social construct. It is a product… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

When is the myth of ‘Mainstream’ – as representative of membership of the Church of England going to be revealed to all and sundry as the oxymoron it is?

I partly blame web-sites like ‘Thinking Anglicans’ for entertaining such bigots as representative of mainstream anything – let alone the Church.