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amer ghazzal / Alamy Stock Photo
amer ghazzal / Alamy Stock Photo
World News

Christian MP pushes for parliamentary action on same-sex marriage issue in the Church of England

by Kelly Valencia

A Christian Labour MP will propose a bill that could see the Church of England potentially compelled to allow same-sex weddings on the Church's premises.

Supported by several MPs from various political parties, Ben Bradshaw will present a Ten Minute Rule motion on Tuesday, March 21st, asking permission to bring in a bill "to enable clergy of the Church of England to conduct same-sex marriages on Church of England premises".

As reported by The Times, Bradshaw's bill would advocate for same-sex weddings to be allowed in Church of England churches in "certain circumstances" and would protect the right to conscious objection.

Although the bill is unlikely to move forward during this parliamentary session due to time constraints, it's seen as an opportunity for the MP to raise the issue's profile and check the temperature of support for such a measure among his fellow politicians.

The call for parliamentary intervention has been mentioned as an option before as the Church of England moves towards blessing same-sex couples in long-committed relationships. Many LGBT+ Christians see the measure as not going far enough and are calling for same-sex marriages to be allowed in the Church.

Peter Ould, a priest and consultant, told Premier Christian News that although the Church of England is a devolved body of Parliament, it stopped writing canon law in the 1970s. 

"Both the Church of England and Parliament voted to leave all of that stuff [Canon law] to the Church. So the Church's General Assembly became the Church of England, General Synod."

"It is basically a rule of thumb – and English law is based on many of these rules of thumb and tradition. So, it's a tradition that making laws that affect the Church is left to the Church, even though it's an established church and technically, Parliament could do it."

Andrew Selous, the Tory MP for South West Bedfordshire and Second Church Estates Commissioner, has previously mentioned Ould's point.

During the most recent General Synod, he said that since the Parliament approved the Worship and Doctrine Measure in 1974, "it has been settled understanding that the Church, not Parliament, has the decisive say on matters of doctrine".

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: "Ten Minute Rule Bills provide an opportunity for Members of Parliament to air views on a range of matters and members of the Church of England's General Synod will no doubt listen carefully to views expressed in Parliament, as they always do.

"This is a matter for Synod which approved an amended motion on same-sex relationships at its most recent meeting just last month."

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