Church of England gives up fight against gay marriage
By John Bingham
Religious Affairs Editor
6:51PM BST 05 Jun 2013
The Church of England has effectively accepted defeat over gay marriage signalling that it will no longer fight against a change in the law.
In a short statement, the established Church said that the scale of the majorities in both the Commons and Lords made clear that it is the will of Parliament that same sex couples “should” be allowed to marry.
The Bishop of Leicester, who leads the bishops in the House of Lords, said they would now concentrate their efforts on “improving” rather than halting an historic redefinition of marriage.
It represents a dramatic change of tack in the year since the Church insisted that gay marriage posed one of the biggest threats of disestablishment of the Church of England since the reign of Henry VIII.
And it comes despite a warning from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, that the redefinition of marriage would undermine the “cornerstone” of society.
The climb-down comes as the newest diocesan bishop in the Church of England said that support for gay marriage was “understandable” because of the way gay people had been treated in Britain in the past.
The Rt Rev David Walker, who was named today as the new Bishop of Manchester, insisted that although the Government bill was “flawed” had he been in the House of Lords he would not have voted against it.
Peers voted by 390 to 148 against a motion which would have struck down the Government”s same-sex marriage bill on Tuesday.
It will now be scrutinised by peers who are likely to add a series of amendments to add extra protections for teachers or other workers who object on grounds of conscience.
In a statement, Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, said bishops would now “join” with politicians to strengthen parts of the bill rather than resisting it.
“Both Houses of Parliament have now expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales,” he said.
“It is now the duty and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to recognise the implications of this decision and to join with other members in the task of considering how this legislation can be put into better shape.”
And he made clear that the bishops would look not only at strengthening opt-outs for those who oppose a new definition of marriage but at the future practicalities for people in same-sex unions.
He signalled that bishops would seek to introduce a notion of adultery into the bill and extend parental rights for same-sex partners.
Under the current bill people in a same-sex marriages who discover that their spouse is unfaithful to them would not be able to divorce for adultery after Government legal experts failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between gay or lesbian couples.
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In the conviction of Moriel & Jacob Prasch based on Revelation 18:4 that it is a shame, a disgrace, and a betrayal of Christ for any saved Christian to remain party to this outrage by The Church of England in which no truly born again believer can scripturally remain.
It also testifies to the naive folly of those Evangelical Anglicans who in their religious gullibility were persuaded that the Church of England was turning more conservative due to an imagined Evangelical ascent within it. The horrific and cowardly tenure of George Carey as Arch Bishop of Canterbury should have laid that abject notion to rest some time ago followed by his replacement by a Druid. It also demonstrates the hypocrisy of All Souls Langham Place and other such supposed Evangelical Anglican churches; the legacy of John Stott has indeed become the worthless rot that Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones and others knew it would and JC Rhyle predicted it would. It also exemplifies spiritual bankruptcy of Stephen Sizer, Nicky Gumbel and those of this ilk claiming to be regenerate Anglican clergy but whom we may be sure will put buildings, ordination credentials, and personal interests before the standards of morality demanded by Christ.
Putting politics of a dying world above Christ and His coming world, the theocratic Anglican establishment has ventured beyond the point of mere compromise even into de facto complicity. Saved believers still in the Anglican communion must now decide which they love more – their religion and backslidden church or their professed Saviour Jesus Christ.
As we have maintained for some years: Tyndale, Ridley, Hooper, Latimer, Cranmer and the martyrs who died cruel deaths at the hands of Rome in order to Reform the Church of England would today be out the door of the Church of England faster than they were out the door of the Church of Rome in the 16th Century.
Of two things we can be assured. The true sons & daughters of God will heed the Revelation 18:4 command of Jesus and leave, for His sheep hear and heed His voice. While at the same time the silly, religious cowards and hypocrites and the scripturally ignorant members of St. Andrews Chorleywood and Holy Trinity Brompton will of course remain.