Church warns over gay marriage

Gay marriage threatens the establishment of the Church of England, it claims, and could mean it is forced out of its role of conducting weddings on behalf of the state.

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Shadow Home Secretary: Marriage laws 'should reflect modern society'

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has responded to reports on the Church of England's comments on same-sex marriage. Ms Cooper said:

Two people who love each other and want to make a long term commitment to each other should be able to get married whatever their gender or sexuality.

Parliament has legislated on civil marriage for 400 years. It should update it again now, as it has many times before, to make sure that the way the state recognises long term loving relationships remains relevant and reflects our sense of justice and equality in a modern society.

David Cameron was right to support same sex marriage. I hope he will not wobble in the face of the first opposition.


Campaigner: Strong support for gay marriage

This afternoon, Stonewall will publish our major five-yearly polling of public attitudes and that will show that not only do between 80-85% of all people in this country under the age of 50 support this proposal - extending the legal form of marriage to gay people - but, far more important, three in five - 60% of people of faith in modern Britain - say gay people should be able to get married.

– Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme


Bishop of Sheffield: Gay marriage a 'fundamental change'

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, said the Government proposals on gay marriage represented a "fundamental change" to a "very, very important" social institution.

One in four marriages in England are performed by the Church of England and that proportion is rising at the moment.

In every marriage service the priest begins the service by spelling out what marriage is - a union between one man and one woman with the intention of it being lifelong.

So it is really important to register back to the Government that this is not a minor change, this is a fundamental change to a very, very important social institution.

Government Minister: CoE 'split down the middle' on gay marriage

As far as I can see the Church of England is split down the middle on this issue.

Of course, what the Government is proposing is around marriage in the eyes of the state. We are seeking to protect, indeed proscribe, religious organisations from offering gay marriage.

That may be problematic legally but the proposal that the Government is putting forward is that marriage should be equal in the eyes of the state, whether it is between a same-sex couple or whether it is between a man and a woman.

– Crispin Blunt, Prisons Minister, speaking on BBC Breakfast

Home Office: CoE will not be forced to conduct gay marriages

A Home Office spokesman said: "The purpose of the equal civil marriage consultation is to enable us to listen to all views, including those of all religions.

The Church of England has criticised the Government's plans on gay marriage.

"Marriage is one of the most important institutions we have. It binds us together, it brings stability, and it makes this country stronger. We have been clear that no religious organisation will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages as a result of our proposals.

"We welcome the Church of England's response and we will be carefully considering all points of view before publishing the outcome of the consultation later in the year."

Human rights campaigner: Gay marriage 'will not affect' CoE

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell accused the Church of England of "scaremongering, exaggerating the effects of same-sex marriage and advocating legal discrimination", saying public opinion was overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage.

They will have no impact on faith organisations or places of worship. Senior churchmen are protesting against a law change that will not affect them.

They have no right to demand that gay couples should be banned from civil marriage ceremonies.

It is absurd to suggest that allowing same-sex civil marriages would lead to legal challenges that could force churches to marry gay couples.

Civil divorces are legal, yet there has never been a successful legal challenge to religious organisations that ban divorce. The courts recognise a distinction between civil and religious institutions.

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