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C of E ‘without integrity’ on subject of same-sex marriage

26 July 2012

PA

Getting political: Dr Jeffrey John (far left) with Lord Harries at a meeting with religious leaders about same- sex marriage, hosted by the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, at the House of Commons earlier this month

Getting political: Dr Jeffrey John (far left) with Lord Harries at a meeting with religious leaders about same- sex marriage, hosted by the Sha...

THE Church of England is in danger of repeating the mistake, made by the Conservative Party, of "locking out" people by opposing same-sex marriage, the Prime Minister has said.

Addressing a reception for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-sexual community at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening, Mr Cameron said that he was "absolutely determined" that the Government would legislate for gay marriage "in this Parliament".

He compared the Church to his own Party, "which for many many years got itself on the wrong side of this argument. . . it locked people out who were naturally Conservative from supporting it, and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently."

Present at the reception was the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, who on Monday released a video message for the Out4Marriage campaign, in which he said that God supported same-sex marriage, and that the Church of England did not "deserve to be listened to" on the subject, because it did not speak with integrity.

Dr John asked gay people not to "judge God by the Church. . . God made you as you are, loves you as you are, and if you invite him into your relationship then of course he will bless you, and sustain your love, just as much as he blesses any other marriage." Dr John, who is in a civil partnership with the Revd Grant Holmes, said he knew this from his own experience.

He welcomed the Government's proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, but said that he was "sad because the Church that I love and serve is opposing it when it should be rejoicing at it". A gay couple could not have a child together, but this consideration did not stop the Church marrying heterosexual couples who were infertile, or past childbearing age.

A total of 125 videos have been created for the Out4Marriage campaign, with contributions from 34 MPs from all three main parties, including the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. A consultation on the proposed legislation closed on 14 June.

On Wednesday, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Stur-geon, confirmed that same-sex marriage would become legal in Scotland. The legislation, she said, would protect freedom of speech and religion.

For a transcript of David Cameron's speech, see http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/lgbt-reception/

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