It’s difficult not to respond after reading a headline in today’s Telegraph which says “New Archbishop of Canterbury challenges David Cameron on gay marriage.”
However, reading the report by Steven Swinford and Tim Ross, we find that a source close to Justin Welby has said: “If asked he will say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and always has been,” and added that the Archbishop was expecting to be asked for his views and had prepared his response. Archbishop Justin will give his first interviews after being officially confirmed at a ceremony in St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Telegraph turns this rumour into: “The new Archbishop of Canterbury will issue a challenge to David Cameron by voicing opposition to gay marriage on the eve of the first parliamentary vote on the controversial new law.”
Well, I suppose he’s certain to be asked the question, and he’s not going to say anything that contradicts the Church of England’s current official teaching. We have to wait and see how he phrases his response.
If he says that marriage should remain “between a man and a woman” as the report suggests, well that would be no big surprise.
If he doesn’t go on to say something affirming about the quality of lesbian and gay relationships, about the value of commitment and love expressed in civil partnerships and about the valued place of LGB&T people, lay and ordained, in the Church of England, then he will have started his Archiepiscopate on a very sad note and Changing Attitude will be highly critical.
Church House is furiously back-pedaling to revise the Church of England’s official and generally negative position. Friday’s briefing note to MPs attempted to portray the Church of England as being far more positive about LGB&T people than it is in reality.
Soon we will discover what Justin Welby’s own stance really is (possibly, this being the Church of England).