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The Church accepts marriage has changed, says Welby

04 April 2014


Vigil: Christian protesters gather out side the Palace of Westminster, on Monday 

Vigil: Christian protesters gather out side the Palace of Westminster, on Monday 

THE Church "accepts absolutely" that Parliament has changed the law on marriage, and must now "move on", the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Sunday.

In an interview with Radio 4's Sunday programme, the Archbishop denied that he had ever talked about a "battle" over same-sex marriage. "Parliament has changed the law, and established a new pattern for marriage. And that is within their rights and we accept that absolutely. . . The role of the Church has always been, and will always be,that whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we demonstrate in word and action the loveof Christ for every human being. And we need to renew that commitment in the new circumstances. We recognise what Parliament has done, we accept it; that's done and dusted, we need to move on, and demonstrate the love of Christ."

Last Friday, the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, congratulated the same-sex couples getting married the next day.

"This is a new reality being undertaken by people who wish their relationships to have a formal status which embodies a commitment to them being faithful, loving, and lifelong," he said. "These are virtues which the Church of England wants to see maximised in society. I therefore congratulate those who are getting married, assure them of my prayers, and wish them well in all that lies ahead."

On Friday, the Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, described the House of Bishops' stance on same-sex marriage as "morally outrageous".

At a press conference organised by the Cutting Edge Consortium and LGBTI Anglican Coalition, Dr Wilson said that gay clergy who wanted to get married "believe they are fulfilling their ordination vow to order their household according to the way of Christ by getting married, not just shacking up with their friend", The Times reported.

On the matter of gay bishops, he said that coming out would be "immensely painful, and I don't want to be brutal about that at all, and I do recognise the difficulties but, yes, I think most gay people would be happier out - including bishops."

On the eve of the first same-sex marriages the Prime Minister suggested in Pink News that they showed that "we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says 'you are equal' whether straight or gay."

To mark the occasion, a rainbow flag was flown over the Cabinet Office.


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