(AFP)LONDON — Clerics from the Anglican church in England on Tuesday called for an end to rules that stop gay couples marrying in religious venues such as churches or synagogues.
In a letter to the Times newspaper, they said the civil partnership act — which allows same-sex couples to tie the knot — is discriminatory as it denies homosexual partners the same choices as straight ones.
“Straight couples have the choice between civil marriage and religious marriage,” said the clerics’ letter.
“Gay couples are denied a similar choice.
“To deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory.
“Waheed Alli, a lawmaker sitting in Britain’s upper house of parliament, will propose an amendment to equality legislation currently being debated, which would allow gay marriages on religious premises.
It would also remove the ban on religious language in the civil partnership ceremony, the newspaper said.
Alli was the first openly gay lawmaker in Britain’s upper house of parliament, theHouse of Lords, when he took up the position in 1998.
This news report from AFP – London is a typical news item. It does not identify any of the clergy involved, or if it is a group or organization, or the numbers asking this. In short, it is mainly to garner attention, and probably to continue to lay groundwork for this to become government policy (as part of being inclusive or “fair”).
Whether or not you approve of sanctioned gay partnerships, this is a different matter. Religious rites, such as marriage, are considered by the various denominations as sacraments or rites of the church reserved to a man and woman. Historically, this ceremony sanctifies, in the eyes of God and of His Church, this union.
What right do nonmembers, or unbelievers who are included in this request, have to receive rites or sacraments reserved to believers? Or in this case to use church buildings of those denominations which believe this relationship is contrary to their Christian beliefs? This request, of course, indicates believers and churches who are willing. It definitely will open the door for later inclusion of any church, whether they approve or not. Of course, it would put enormous pressure on church bodies to conform to the “fair” cultural expression of all-inclusiveness without standards of Biblical right and wrong.
What do you say?