Church told to butt out of debate

The Church of England has been told to butt out of the discussion on Marriage Equality:

The Church does not have the exclusive right to define who should be allowed to get married, the equalities minister warns, as she suggests that religious groups have polarised the debate on gay marriage.

Lynne Featherstone directly challenges the role of the Church in the debate over homosexual weddings, saying it does not “own” marriage.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Miss Featherstone says the Government has a right to change the definition of marriage and pledges to challenge those who “want to leave tradition alone”.

Citing the words of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, who is a prominent opponent of the Coalition’s plans to allow same-sex couples to marry, she insists that how marriage is defined is up to “the people”.

In a direct address to the Christian opponents of the proposed changes, she says: “We understand how strongly some religious groups feel about the issue, which is why we are listening and we want to work with them.

“But there is a range of other views we need to listen to as well.

“I want to urge people not to polarise this debate. This is not a battle between gay rights and religious beliefs. This is about the underlying principles of family, society and personal freedoms.”

In her article, the Liberal Democrat minister insists the Coalition has a duty to push ahead with the changes. “The fierce debate over the past few weeks has shown people feel very strongly about marriage,” she says. “Some believe the Government has no right to change it at all; they want to leave tradition alone. I want to challenge that view — it is the Government’s fundamental job to reflect society and to shape the future, not stay silent where it has the power to act and change things for the better.”

She warned that the Government would not back down on the plans, which she said would extend equal rights to gay and lesbian couples.

“[Marriage] is owned by neither the state nor the Church, as the former Archbishop Lord Carey rightly said. So it is owned by the people,” she said.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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