Church of England on gay marriage – the consultation

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I’ve had all day to digest the latest reports, documented in many other reputable news sites (and some disreputable ones). I just wanted to go through and break down the Church of England’s argument all the way down, because it is such huge bullshit. For those not in the know, the UK government put out for public consultation the issue of full gay civil marriage, and this is the ‘official’ Church of England response to the consultation.

The response in full is much too long-winded and pointless for me to copypaste here, but if you want to, read the full document here.

Let’s make a start. First we have this:

Such a move [to introduce gay marriage] would alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history. Marriage benefits society in many ways, not only by promoting mutuality and fidelity, but also by acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity which, for many, includes the possibility of procreation.

Intrinsic? Intrinsic is a meaningless word in this context – marriage is not ‘intrinsic’ to humans as it is not itself a natural occurrence – it is a word which we use to describe a particular set of conditions, and a simple way to assign various legal and tax benefits on a blanket basis rather than a case-by-case one. So, let’s drop the emotive wording. Next I’ll be told flying in airplanes is intrinsic
Marriage DOES benefit society, and so why should gay people not also get these benefits, as you say, for promoting fidelity (which is something that, admittedly, the LGB community gets a bad rap on). And please, don’t tell me I CANNOT procreate. I assure you, I am capable, but I choose not to (for obvious reasons), just like many heterosexual couples. This ‘biological complementarity’ I hear so much about these days is a fabrication – the only complementarity is that, to be crass, round peg fits in the round hole. Dress it how you like, and again, I am perfectly capable of that, regardless of you finding my variety of it distasteful.

We have supported various legal changes in recent years to remove unjustified discrimination and create greater legal rights for same sex couples

Bullshit. Are you kidding me? You opposed civil partnerships vehemently! What is that about bearing false witness?

To change the nature of marriage for everyone will be divisive and deliver no obvious legal gains given the rights already conferred by civil partnerships

When your neighbour gets married, does it devalue your marriage? When he’s onto his 6th marriage, is 75 and marrying a 24 year old, does it devalue your marriage? No.
Now, whilst they are correct in that it offers no obvious legal gains, it offers an important distinctive gain, whereby it stops intolerant straight couples from thinking they and their marriages are better than everyone elses. I mean, seriously, that is all this is about, protecting their ability to think they are better than the rest of us.

The Bible teaches us that marriage is a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace, a holy mystery in which man and woman become one flesh.

This is church talk for boning.

Marriage is given that husband and wife may comfort and help each other, living faithfully together in need and in plenty, in sorrow and in joy. It is given that with delight and tenderness they may know each other in love and through the joy of their bodily union may strengthen the union of their hearts and lives. It is given as the foundation of family life in which children may be born and nurtured in accordance
with God’s will, to his praise and glory.
In marriage husband and wife belong to one another and they begin a new life together in the community. It is a way of life that all should honour and it must not be undertaken carelessly, lightly or selfishly but reverently, responsibly and after serious thought.

What part of this cannot and does not apply to loving gay couples? What exactly do these churches think we gay people DO behind our doors??? They think we don’t properly FEEL the same way as other people? That we are aliens or something? Maybe they actually just think we are deluded, and when we say we feel love, they go “Oh pish posh, that isn’t love!” in the same way a parent does to a teenager in terrible US comedies.

Who the fuck elected these people to determine how great, how accurate, how REAL my love is?

It is well known that there is a continuing debate within the Church of England about its declared view of sexually active homosexual relationships. It is important to understand that our response to the question of same-sex marriage does not prejudge the outcome of that continuing theological and ethical debate.

In other words, this response to the consultation was put forth not only by a small gathering at the top, but without the full backing of the Church of England, simply because even THEY don’t know their position! As the comment article from the Guardian points out, many CoE members are very accepting and keen to have equality!

This understanding [of union between man and woman] is deeply rooted in our social culture.

Not any more. Society has changed. This point is therefore invalid instantly.

but is based on a conviction that the consequences of change will not be beneficial for society

I never hear quite how. Is this the same conviction that drove people to insist that black people were not good for society?

This distinctiveness and complementarity are seen most explicitly in the biological union of man and woman which potentially brings to the relationship the fruitfulness of procreation. And, even where, for reasons of age, biology or simply choice, a marriage does not have issue, the distinctiveness of male and female is part of what gives marriage its unique social meaning.

So, let me understand and be clear – marriage between a man and a woman is unique because it can directly produce children except in the cases where it does not, but oh well? You can’t start by saying something key to the argument, and half a sentence later dismiss it as not really being important! (PS: this term fruitful I find absolutely disgusting, like people are just trees to grow things for consumption)

Marriage has from the beginning of history been the way in which societies have worked out and handled issues of sexual difference. To remove from the definition of marriage this essential complementarity is to lose any social institution in which sexual difference is explicitly acknowledged.
To argue that this is of no social value is to assert that men and women are simply interchangeable individuals. It also undermines many of the arguments which support the deeper involvement of women in all social institutions on the grounds that a society cannot flourish without the specific and distinctive contributions of each gender.

Hoo boy… So, in one section, the church has decided that women are inequal, and purports to claim that they are trying to use marriage to make sure women still have a distinct place? How utterly sexist. Presumably they believe that the ‘sexual difference’ refers to a woman in the kitchen, except when she is spitting out babies for the church to indoctrinate.

The rest of the response is about trivial matters, such as current definitions of how marriages are consummated needing changed and it not being addressed. As I said, trivial.


I need say little else that hasn’t been said above. The Church of England is acting irrationally, not even at the will of their entire congregation as they freely admit. How exactly they can claim some sort of dominion over matters of morality, over matters of CIVIL marriage is audacious and mistakes their place in society. Don’t like that assessment? Get over it. Churches are not special, they are not better. Everyone can see that from all the greedy pageantry, the child abuse, the mistreatment of women and LGBT people. You lost your hallowed moral high ground long ago, and you have only yourselves to blame.

Cry somewhere else. Gay marriage WILL happen in the UK. It HAS happened elsewhere, and all these apocalyptic ideas have had not happened. Goodbye, sayonara, adios, hastalavista baby.

Peace, out!

– Matt

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