A False Option for the Bishops

by The Rev. Canon Chris Sugden, AAC update

As the votes on the same-sex marriage bill in Parliament approach in May and June, one option being proposed is that the current bill, which purports to provide “protection” for Church of England ministers as legal registrars (but no others) from being required to perform same-sex marriages, is the best deal that the church might get in this reordering of marriage in society. Thus, the bishops in the House of Lords might be persuaded to abstain from voting rather than vote against the current bill.

This strikes some as a rather self-interested approach by the church. It would thereby seek to maintain its own tradition, rather than stand its ground to secure the common good of male-female marriage and parenting for all as the best for human flourishing and to witness clearly to it in the political realm.

This view is not shared by Campaign for Marriage (see 1), leaders of ethnic churches in the United Kingdom (see 2), or by the Northern Ireland assembly (see 3). Neither is it shared by leaders of the Evangelical Alliance which recently published Ten Affirmations on Biblical and Pastoral Responses to Homosexuality (See 4) and which is being warmly commended by many Anglican leaders.

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