The campaign launched by The Christian Institute, the Coalition for Marriage (C4M – catchy, isn’t it?) is a group of organisations and individuals who support the current definition of marriage and opposes any plans to redefine it, says the Institute web site – but the other organisations are not named.
The Coalition is led by Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “The honourable estate of matrimony precedes both the state and the church, and neither of these institutions have the right to redefine it in such a fundamental way. For thousands of years, the union of one man and one woman has been the bedrock of societies across cultures, all around the world. Marriage is a cornerstone of our society. Because of this, I believe the general public will oppose the present attempt to fundamentally alter – and undermine – the institution.” He claimed the proposal to change the status of marriage to be open to same-sex couples “constitutes one of the greatest political power grabs in history.”
C4M chairman Colin Hart has branded the plans “profoundly anti-democratic”. He said: “The 24 million married people in this country are not even going to be asked whether they mind their marriage being redefined. The Government is running away from this public debate. They are bulldozing ahead without any thought for the consequences.”
Daily Telegraph poll
The Daily Telegraph is running a poll with the question options: Yes, everyone should have the right to get married no matter what their sexuality or: No, marriage should be between a man and a woman. The Telegraph is a right-wing newspaper and its readership tends to be conservative and traditional.
When I last checked, 14,500 people had voted, with 80.5% saying yes and 19.5% saying no. This isn’t a democratic poll, and neither is the Christian Institute’s. But if right-leaning Telegraph readers are voting for same-sex marriage by such a huge margin, the self-appointed orthodox, traditional Christians which The Christian Institute claim to represent might pause for a moment and reflect where UK public opinion and majority Christian opinion lies.
There is a public debate about same-sex marriage going on in this country, from which the Government is certainly not running away. It seems the Government is far more in tune with national opinion than the established Church of England. The result of the Telegraph poll ought to be giving the House of Bishops and the two review groups pause for thought as they go about their work. The C of E is in danger of even further alienating the people of this country. The Spirit of God might just be working through people’s welcome for same-sex partnerships and marriage equality, affirming that above all, it is love that triumphs over tradition in the Kingdom of God.