The Church of England appears prepared
to accept the imminent passage of a gay marriage bill in Britain and
The church has been an outspoken
opponent of the proposed bill, which would make Britain the 15th
nation to legalize such unions.
During a House of Lords debate held on
Tuesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told colleagues
that he could not support the bill because it would diminish and
“The concept of marriage as a
normative place for procreation is lost. The idea [of] marriage as
covenant is diminished. The family in its normal sense, predating
the state, and as our base community of society, as we have already
heard, is weakened,” he said.
But after roughly 3 hours of debate,
members approved the measure, leaving little doubt that the bill will
In a brief statement released
Wednesday, Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester, who leads the
bishops in the House of Lords, said that the church would now work to
“improve” the bill.
“Both Houses of Parliament have now
expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that
there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take
place in England and Wales,” Stevens wrote. “It is now the duty
and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to
recognise the implications of this decision and to join with other
Members in the task of considering how this legislation can be put
into better shape.”
“The Bill now requires improvement in
a number of other respects, including in its approach to the question
of fidelity in marriage and the rights of children.”
Other opposition groups reacted
decidedly differently to Tuesday's vote.
The Coalition for Marriage, the largest
group lobbying against the bill's passage, released a video in which
it insisted that the debate was not yet over.
“The bill has several hurdles to
overcome in the House of Lords and it could yet fall,” Dr. Sharon
James says in the clip.
gay marriage foes say bill “could yet fall.”)