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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  • Gazzaw

    “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?”   Henry ll, 1170.


  • Joesephusjones

    “It is owned by the people” – are the church not people too?

  • Andrei

    Of course whenever the “people” have been asked via the ballot box they have said “NO!!!!

    But as any good leftist knows “Elite Lefties” know what the people really want even if they don’t realize it yet so they will give it to them whether they agree or not. 

  • Peter Wilson

    Put it to a referendum then. Only problem is, most people would say, “eh, gays can get married already can’t they?”

    Perhaps the answer is for the churches to alleviate their own definition of marriage, and to own that. I’m sure a religious person views their marriage differently to a “common marriage,” in that it is a contract with their church and god as well with their partner, sanctioned by the church. 

    Then churches can be like the rest of us when marriage is compared to, say, de facto relationships. Smile sweetly at those that think you don’t need a “piece of paper” to prove committment.

  • dad4justice

    Who is this bitch lefty liberal?

    Pathetic that faggots will change the motherland to poofterland.

  • davewin

    Strange the Church has a view on moral issues!

  • parorchestia

    The problem is the Anglican Church is an established church.  Thank God (literally!) that we did not fall into this trap and so have developed a tolerant and inclusive society.
    But, like me, the church still has the right to comment in a free society.
    I like our solution – it seems to work and trumpets have not sounded nor strange-looking horsemen appeared in the heavens.