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British Premier Faces Gay Marriage Uproar

Published: 08/12/2012 05:18:29 PM GMT
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LONDON - Britain's religious and political leaders have denounced calls made by the country Prime Minister in which he announced plans to allow churches and religious organizations to host same-sex weddings. Our concern is (more)

LONDON - Britain's religious and political leaders have denounced calls made by the country Prime Minister in which he announced plans to allow churches and religious organizations to host same-sex weddings.

"Our concern is for the way the meaning of marriage will change for everyone, gay or straight, if the proposals are enacted," the Church of England said in a statement cited by Christian Today Australia on Saturday, December 8.

"Because we believe that the inherited understanding of marriage contributes a vast amount to the common good, our defense of that understanding is motivated by a concern for the good of all in society."

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The Church defended the "uniqueness" of marriage, saying that it embodied the distinctiveness of men and women seen most explicitly in their union's potential for procreation.

"We believe that redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships will entail a dilution in the meaning of marriage for everyone by excluding the fundamental complementarily of men and women from the social and legal definition of marriage," the Church said.

The church outrageous statement followed the prime minister announcement for backing the proposal to allow churches and religious organizations to host same-sex weddings in the face of opposition from the Church of England and the Catholic hierarchy.

"I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution,” David Cameron said in Redditch.

“But let me be absolutely 100% clear, if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn't want to have a gay marriage it will not, absolutely must not, be forced to hold it.

"That is absolutely clear in the legislation. Also let me make clear, this is a free vote for members of parliament, but personally I will be supporting it."

The British government plans to legalize same-sex marriages by 2015.

Under the plans, same-sex couples would be allowed to marry in register offices and venues such as hotels, but not in churches, synagogues and other religious premises.

Ministers argue that the change will therefore affect “civil” rather than “religious” marriage.

The plans are already meeting opposition from Catholic religious leaders, who warn that the move would undermine the nature of marriage.

Both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church are strongly opposed to the redefinition of marriage.

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Proposing the vote at the parliament, Cameron suggestion is expected to be rejected soon.

and believes at least three others will also refuse their support.

"This is a sad day,” a cabinet minister told The Guardian on Friday, adding he will vote against the proposals.

“I don't want to oppose the PM's wishes, but I haven't much choice.”

David Burrowes, Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate and parliamentary private secretary to the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, told the Guardian there are several members of the cabinet who will vote against or abstain.

"I have spoken to many Conservative MPs about this and a majority are against this particular change," he said.

"These proposals raise many more questions than they answer. The so-called protections will not be sufficient.

"It is an attempt by the state to redefine marriage. This is not just about the freedom of churches to administer gay weddings. It is about the freedom of public sector workers and others to exercise their liberty of conscience. It has opened a can of worms," Burrowes added.

Among those who have emerged as likely to vote against are John Randall, the Deputy Chief Whip, and Michael Fallon, the business minister, who wrote to constituents that he was “minded to” vote against.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, also signaled that he will vote against and Oliver Heald, the Solicitor General also confirmed he “does not support” the Bill.

Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, said that the bill would be “massacred in the Lords” adding: “Arrogant Cameron knows best.”

In a bid to quell any fears or anxiety ahead of the upcoming consultation announcement next week, a government spokesman confirmed that religious organizations would make its own decisions.

"We are very clear that religious organizations must be protected and that none will be forced to conduct same-sex marriage," according to a statement issued by the UK government.

"EU law is very clear that this is the case and we will additionally bring in very strong legal locks to ensure that this is watertight."

Reproduced with permission from