The biggest rift between Church and state for centuries is how the Church of England has described British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s plan to allow couples to have a same sex marriage.
Responding formally to the Conservative Government’s proposals, the Church of England said the move would change the “intrinsic nature of marriage as union of a man and a woman.”
“Several major elements of the government’s proposals have not been thought through properly and are not legally sound,” the Church said.
Government Ministers have been adamant that a new law would be brought in before the next election in 2015 and churches would not be oblige to marry people of the same gender.
However according to Desmond Swayne, Cameron’s parliamentary aide, same sex marriages should take place in Churches that want to have them, he said Wednesday.
But Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister, said that the current plans for a blanket ban on religious groups from carrying out gay marriages could prove “problematic legally,” adding the promised exemption for religious groups may not survive even the initial Parliamentary process.
Blunt’s view of the legal difficulties is also echoed by the Church of England which said it was doubtful that a refusal to let same sex couples marry in their churches would withstand a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey has also joined the debate. Writing in The Telegraph, Carey a supporter of civil partnerships, warned of the unintended consequences of same-sex marriage.
“Same sex marriage proposals could do serious damage to Britian’s constitution,” he wrote.
Carey pointed out that way the Church of England is so inter-twined with the State means that laws of the Church have not effect if they are contrary to to customs of the realm, and he labelled Cameron’s consultation as “fatally undermined by historical and legal ignorance.”
Equally as critical are England’s Catholic bishops who warn of the instability such a move will bring to British society.
“It is of serious concern to us that this proposal, which has such immense social importance for the stability of our society and which has significant implications for the unique institution of marriage and of family life, should be proposed on this basis and with such limited argument,” said Archbishop Peter Smith, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
- The Telegraph - George Carey
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- Catholic Bishops’ Response to the Equal Civil Marriage Consultation
- Image: The Telegraph
News category: World.