Gay marriages threaten the establishment of a healthy society, says Church of England
The Church of England have attacked a new government plan to allow gay couples to marry, saying that the proposals have been poorly planned and pose a massive threat to the relationship between Church and State.
The Church is now being widely accused of scaremongering, after saying that if the government make gay marriage legal, the Church will have to consider pulling out of officiating marriages on behalf of the State.
The Right Reverend Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, said: “Whilst this is being presented as a kind of minor extension to what marriage means, actually, from the point of view of the church and of society, it is a really, really fundamental change.”
He went on to add that a quarter of marriages in England are performed by the Church of England and that a traditional marriage service begins by defining marriage as a bond between a man and a woman.
Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, which campaigns for gay rights, has denounced the Church’s response as intending to spread concerns. He said: “I have not come across such a master class in melodramatic scaremongering […] since as a journalist myself a decade ago I was summoned to a government briefing to be told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”
Stonewall’s five-yearly polling was released today, detailing that 80-85% of people under the age of 50 in the UK support the extension of marriage to include gay couples, and that 3/5 of people believe that gay marriage should be legal.
The Home Office has taken a neutral standpoint, with a spokesman saying: “The purpose of the equal civil marriage consultation is to enable us to listen to all views, including those of all religions. […] We welcome the Church of England’s response and we will be carefully considering all points of view.”