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Church of England concedes defeat on UK’s plan to legalize same-sex marriage

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

LONDON — The Church of England on Wednesday signaled it would no longer fight against the government’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

In a short statement, the established Church said that the scale of the majorities in both the Commons and Lords made clear that it is the will of Parliament that same sex couples “should” be allowed to marry, reported The Telegraph of London.

Canterbury Cathedral

The announcement represents a dramatic reversal of opinion in the year since the Church asserted that same-sex marriage posed one of the biggest threats to the Church of England since the reign of Henry VIII.

The Bishop of Leicester, who leads the bishops in the House of Lords, said the Church would now concentrate its efforts on “improving” rather than halting the historic marriage legislation.

In a statement, Right Reverend Tim Stevens, said bishops would now “join” with politicians to strengthen parts of the bill rather than resisting it.

“Both Houses of Parliament have now expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales,” he said.

“It is now the duty and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to recognize the implications of this decision and to join with other members in the task of considering how this legislation can be put into better shape.

[...]

“For the Bishops the issue now is not primarily one of protections and exemptions for people of faith, important though it is to get that right, not least where teaching in schools and freedom of speech are concerned.”

On Tuesday, the upper chamber of the British parliament voted 390 to 148 — an overwhelming majority of 242 — to reject an attempt by Lord Geoffrey Dear to defeat the marriage equality bill at its second reading.

The bill would allow couples, who can currently form civil partnerships, to marry.

The bill will now go through further readings in Parliament before it can be approved by Queen Elizabeth II in a formality known as “Royal Assent.”

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36 more reader comments:

  1. BOOYAH!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:53pm
  2. YAYYYYY

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:54pm
  3. Major defeat for religion. Yay!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:54pm
  4. Awesome! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:54pm
  5. What? A sensible church??

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:54pm
  6. As it should be. The church shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of government. It plays both ways.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:55pm
  7. Isn’t this the church that deemed Henry the VIII divorces OK…back in the 15th? century? Whatev. You love someone, you get married for life. End of story.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:55pm
  8. Did not see this coming. And no, it’s not a major defeat for religion, it’s a major defeat for outdated thinking within the church and a massive, positive step forward for religion.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:56pm
  9. It is God’s will that’s the part they fail to realize. It always irks me as a Christian for people to fall back on “it was God’s will” when bad things happen. Yet, not when good things happen. I am sorry as an Episcopalian and Anglican by proxy loving people/treating them fairly under the law is God’s will. We are asked at baptism, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” I think marriage equality is a major step in that direction.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:56pm
  10. Wrak

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:56pm
  11. Back to the Victorians then.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:57pm
  12. I.E. A major defeat for religion.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:58pm
  13. Now i can marry Prince Harry!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:58pm
  14. Welcome to the 21st Century

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:59pm
  15. Yay..let others follow their amazingly awesome decision :)

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:01pm
  16. Religion isn’t intrinsically homophobic or outdated. There are plenty of churches who accept same-sex couples, even if we’re only counting Jesus, or even abrahamic based religions. What’s needed isn’t a rejection of religion (which is a pipe dream at best and a nightmare at worst) but an evolution of the same.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:01pm
  17. Or, hear me out. This is a major defeat for religion.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:17pm
  18. so sad that the church continues to present itself as anti-love… when will we learn?

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:19pm
  19. As if they stood a chance :) We are on the rise …

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:24pm
  20. Yep! Equality is inevitable at this point. It’s just a matter of time before the US follows suet.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:26pm
  21. The US already is. I think about ten states are okay with it.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:27pm
  22. On the national level though. True equality won’t come until that happens.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 10:29pm
  23. Could you please convince the churches in the U.S.? Please. :-)

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:20pm
  24. Good news for equality!!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:25pm
  25. can you please tell American Christian that the world will not end if marriage equality passes here? thanks.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:33pm
  26. 16th Century. And this is a defeat I can live with. : )

    Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:40pm
  27. That is big!

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 1:36am
  28. Tthey’ve learnt late in the day that Christianity is supposed to be to ‘follow christ’ teachings and example. Through this whole debate they have shown themselves as poor examples of christ, further they have proved to the world how they are hierarchical, distant and self serving from the UK populous and not worthy of their privileged status as ‘the established church’ of England! Demonizing peaceful, law abiding, tax paying LGBT members of the British society who live and work amongst the people rather than in separation and exclusion of the main populous. Great case for complete separation of church and state and proof once again of their ever increasing irrelevance in UK society!

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 1:38am
  29. It’s not about winners & losers. This is about justice & freedom. They were not defeated.

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 3:57am
  30. ….a church….conceding…..now i have seen everything….TAKE NOTE AMERICA!

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 5:45am
  31. Bigots

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 6:09am
  32. Bigots conceding defeat is a good thing.

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 6:17am
  33. Now we need to get the bigoted Cardinal Dolan of the US up to speed!

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 6:18am
  34. smart church you lose the battle STOP fighting ..TELL it to the AMERICANS moron bigoted churches….all they end up doing is spending MILLIONS they could use t oHELP people instead of HURT people

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 7:45am
  35. love will always trimumph over hate.

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 8:50am
  36. This is hardly a defeat. It is a victory for the next step in Inclusion Theology. If you are a Christian or not, Jesus believed he died for EVERYONE.

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 9:29am