Same-sex mar­riage ‘not on the hori­zon’

The Church of England - - NEWS -

SAME-SEX mar­riages in the Church of Eng­land are ‘nowhere on the hori­zon,’ ac­cord­ing to Mr Wil­liam Fit­tall, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of Gen­eral Synod, who gave ev­i­dence to MPs dur­ing the Com­mit­tee stage of the Mar­riage Bill.

Mr Fit­tall told the MPs that he did not de­tect a move to sup­port same-sex mar­riage among the bish­ops. He con­ceded it would be pos­si­ble for Gen­eral Synod to pass leg­is­la­tion al­low­ing clergy to con­duct same-sex mar­riage but said this was ‘nowhere on the hori­zon’. He said he was sat­is­fied by the pro­tec­tions of­fered to the Church by the ‘quadru­ple lock’.

The Bishop of Nor­wich, the Rt Rev Gra­ham James, said that there was a dis­tinc­tion be­tween the doc­trine of the Church of Eng­land and what in­di­vid­ual mem­bers think. He con­ceded that there was no ‘una­nim­ity of view’ on the sub­ject within the Church.

This lack of una­nim­ity was demon­strated when the Dean of St Al­bans, the Ver y Rev Jef­frey John, ap­peared be­fore the Com­mit­tee. He said it was re­gret­table that the Church felt the need for triple or quadru­ple locks and ex­pressed his wor­ries about the harm done to the im­age of the Church on this is­sue. “God is in­fin­itely more com­pas­sion­ate and pos­i­tive about gay peo­ple than the Church,” he said.

How­ever he also stated that he would not want the Church to be forced to con­duct same-sex mar­riage cer­e­monies. “It is up to peo­ple like me to help it move to a more Chris­tian po­si­tion,” he said.

A group chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling is look­ing at the Church’s at­ti­tude to sex­u­al­ity. Bishop James con­ceded that this might rec­om­mend changes but added that this would not nec­es­sar­ily lead to the ap­proval of same-sex mar­riage.

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