Focus – Westminster consultation on marriage – 23rd April

Church opposition to gay marriage a ‘disaster’, says senior C of E bishop; Senior clergy back gay marriage ; Archbishop supports gay ‘welcome’; Grassroots Tories have had enough of gay marriage; Tory think tank criticises gay marriage plans; Scotland’s imams oppose gay marriage

Church opposition to gay marriage a ‘disaster’, says senior C of E bishop
Telegraph – A senior bishop has accused the Church of England of making a “disastrous” error in its opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, compared bishops opposing marriage reforms to 18th century Christians who believed slavery was “God-given”. Speaking on Saturday at a conference in London on homophobia in the Church, Bishop Holtam said: “Experience might lead us to be cautious about the certainty with which moral positions are built with Biblical support.

“Before Wilberforce, Christians in this country saw slavery as having Biblical support for what was the God-given in the ordering of creation.

In South Africa, Apartheid was seen in the same way by the Dutch Reformed Church.

“Within the churches, Christians conscientiously disagree about the interpretation and significance of the six Biblical passages referring to homosexuality.”

The text of the bishop’s talk is available at…

Senior clergy back gay marriage
BBC – A group of prominent Anglicans has written a letter to The Times saying gay marriage is not something to be feared by the Church.


Archbishop supports gay ‘welcome’
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, tells church’s governing body that gay people should be offered pastoral care and support.

Grassroots Tories have had enough of gay marriage

Christian Institute – Grassroots Conservatives have had enough of their party’s plans to rewrite the definition of marriage, the head of the oldest Tory think-tank has said.

Ben Harris, Chairman of the Bow Group, said: “What we are seeing here is genuine fatigue among a party rank and file, disappointed both at the suggested policy itself, and the reasons behind it.

“The UK already has a system of ‘civil partnership’ for homosexuals which carries the same legal status as marriage before the state.”

Mr Harris added: “The concern within the Conservative party is that this is a poorly thought out policy designed to cynically win support in the short term in the homosexual community, without due care and consideration to the existing institution of marriage in Britain.

“What should be of greater concern to David Cameron in addition to the lack of support for this policy he has among his own MPs, is that both ComRes and UK Sky News found in surveys that 70 per cent of respondents among the UK public agreed with the proposition that marriage should remain a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman only.’”

Tory think tank criticises gay marriage plans  
Christian Today – The Conservative party is split over the Governments gay marriage plans the oldest Tory think tank has said

Scotland’s imams oppose gay marriage  
BBC News – Muslim leaders from Scotland’s biggest city have voiced their opposition to gay marriage.
The Scottish government has been consulting on whether to bring in a law which would allow churches to hold same-sex wedding ceremonies.
The Council of Glasgow Imams said such a legal move would be an “attack” on their faith and fundamental beliefs.
The views of the Islamic clerics are in keeping with those of the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland.
Five smaller church groups have expressed their backing for a change to the law.