Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Tuesday, December 18

National Church response to gay marriage (Alternative post title: “The stupidity of the Tory Government”)

As David Cameron’s conservative party has lurched from one incompetence to the next and from shambles to shambles, they have dragged the church into it this time.

Government: “The Church of England has told us that they want …..”

Church: “Oh no we haven’t….”

This row was totally unnecessary, and arose from the government’s appallingly incompetent choice of words and tone.

Government: “It would be ILLEGAL!!!!! For the church of England to conduct a gay wedding”.  This makes it sound like a new thing that the government was bringing in and something giving the Church of England special treatment in relation to other churches.

The reality is less dramatic.

Church canon law passed by general synod is then ratified by parliament. Therefore canon law and state law cannot be in conflict. Therefore state cannot pass law permitting the Church of England to conduct a gay wedding if this is not reflected in canon law. Therefore for the church to do gay weddings, it would have to go through general synod first. Thus, although the legal vehicle is technically slightly different, the position for the Church of England is exactly the same as for any other church – an opt-in decided at denominational level. See this explanatory statement on the church website.

Thus there was no need for the government to make such a song and dance about the position of the Church of England – it just created a false impression which annoyed both liberal left and conservative right for absolutely no benefit whatsoever.

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