Britain’s Chief Rabbi and the Archbishop of Canterbury have declared conflicting positions about a Government plan to legalise same-sex marriages.
For the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, any attempt to redefine marriage would undermine the character of a sacred institution recognised “from time immemorial”.
For the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the Anglican Church is in a “tangle” and “scratching its head” over where it stands on the issue, despite a formal submission opposing the Government’s plan.
A submission from the Chief Rabbi’s court said: “Marriage, by definition in Jewish (biblical) law, is the union of a male and a female.
“While Judaism teaches respect for others and condemns all types of discrimination, we oppose a change to the definition of marriage that includes same-sex relationships. Jewish (biblical) law prohibits the practice of homosexuality.”
The submission said Orthodox Judaism also “prohibits same-sex civil partnerships”.
Dr Williams spoke about same-sex marriage during a discussion day for a group of Christian teenagers at Lambeth Palace.
Many Christians may themselves be “wrestling” with their own sexuality, he said, while others appear to display only strong feelings of revulsion towards homosexuality.
“What’s frustrating is that we still have Christian people whose feelings about it are so strong, and sometimes so embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted, that that just sends out a message of unwelcome, of lack of understanding, of lack of patience.
“So whatever we think about it, we need, as a Church, to be tackling what we feel about it.”
According to a survey of MPs, the House of Commons is likely to vote in favour of legalising gay marriages by a big majority.
Such a prospect, the Anglican Church submission suggested, would create a clash between the laws of Church and state unprecedented since the Reformation in the 1530s.
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News category: World.