The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking in the House of Lords, appears to believe that the new Gay Marriage Bill will undermine family life.
Welby told peers the bill had created confusion, adding: “Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated – being different and unequal for different categories. The new marriage of the bill is an awkward shape with same gender and different gender categories scrunched into it – neither fitting well.
“The concept of marriage as a normative place for procreation is lost. The idea of marriage as covenant is diminished. The family in its normal sense predating the state and as our base community of society is weakened.
“For these and many other reasons those of us in the churches and faith groups, who are extremely hesitant about the bill in many cases, hold that view because we think that traditional marriage is a cornerstone of society and rather than adding a new and valued institution alongside it for same gender relationships, which I would personally strongly support to strengthen us all, this bill weakens what exists and replaces it with a less good option that is neither equal nor effective.”
Welby said that his concerns did not stem from faith but from what he believes is the best for society. He said: “And so with much regret, but entire conviction, I cannot support the bill as it stands.”
I have never really understood this argument. How does allowing same sex couples to marry undermine or devalue marriage for the rest (the majority) of us? How does it create confusion? Am I less committed to love and to my children because same sex couples also are able to formally cement life long relationships? I say this with respect to the archbishop and to friends of mine who have the same views, but your argument does not make sense to me.
I am forced to conclude that the real issue is not really the ‘sanctity of marriage’ (which is a highly confused concept all on its own) but rather a pervasive discomfort with the morality, theology and physiology of homosexuality itself. People I speak to who take this view, when pushed, often reveal a conviction that being gay is not ‘natural’, and marriage needs protection from some kind of creeping militant homosexual liberalism. I DO understand this argument. Change of what we hold to be right and true is always tough- particularly when deeply held religious beliefs are involved. Our culture has been on a journey of change over the past decades in relation to homosexuality and this kind of change takes time, conversation and mutual exchange on all sides.
I have made my contributions to this debate already on this blog, but as the vote in the House of Lords draws close, I will add this thought- are there higher considerations? Is not the greatest thing that we celebrate as humans love?
Michaela and I watched this last night- grab a cuppa and watch;