Changing Attitude welcomes the Government announcement that a consultation on relaxing marriage laws to allow lesbian and gay couples to marry will start in March 2012 with the possibility that legislation will be possible before the general election in 2015.
The Home Office has said the consultation will only cover civil marriages for same-sex couples and not religious marriages. Reports say they have ruled out making it compulsory for churches or other faith groups to host gay or lesbian marriages.
Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, commented:
“Many, but by no means all, Christian lesbian and gay couples will want to solemnise their relationship in a marriage ceremony.
“Changing Attitude is campaigning for the Church of England to adopt a permissive approach to civil partnerships and same-sex marriage. There are many couples in civil partnerships worshipping each Sunday and partners where one or both is ordained leading worship. When marriage equality becomes legal, lesbian and gay married couples will be fully involved in the life of our Church. We want to integrate our Christian faith and our love for God with our commitment to our partners and our love for each other.
“We urge the Church of England to engage now with the implications for the Church of this radical change in civil society and allow individual priests and congregations the freedom to contract civil partnerships and same-sex marriages in due course. We fully support the freedom of each priest and congregation to act in accordance with their theology and conscience and opt out of the proposed legislation.
“Changing Attitude expects to participate in the formal consultation beginning in the spring. We will support the government proposals and ask that serious consideration be give to the views of those we believe to be the majority in the Church of England who support full equality, including marriage equality for same-sex couples in a religious context.”