And here is my own response

Here is my own response to the Government Consultation on Civil Partnership and Same-Sex Marriage.

It differs quite a lot, particularly in the sections on Civil Partnership, from the submission from St Mary’s Vestry which I posted earlier and which was reported on the BBC Website amongst other places.

The nub of the matter for me is opening up marriage to same-sex couples. I think that tinkering with Civil Partnership to allow it to be registered in church is a side-show.

Here’s how I answered the substantive question on marriage:

I long to be able to perform marriages for same-sex couples. I belong to a congregation where the majority view is believed to be in favour of conducting such ceremonies. I acknowledge that there are some people in my congregation for whom this would be a troubling development and consider it part of my job to help people with different religious views to be able to co-exist happily together.

I believe marriage to be sacramental – in other words, I believe that a marriage has the potential to show forth God’s grace in the world. I believe that gay couples have the potential to show that grace in the same way that opposite sex couples can do. Thus, I am in favour of marriage being opened to same-sex couples because of my religious convictions.

As a gay man I would like to be able to be married should I ever meet the right partner.

If I were unable to marry because of the law, I would feel that the law was sponsoring discrimination against me because of my sexuality and my gender.

If I were unable to marry in church because of the law but could be married elsewhere, I would feel that the law was sponsoring discrimination against me because of my religion.

If I were allowed by law to marry but refused by my church then I would believe that I was the victim of church sponsored discrimination.

I am actively working with others to change my own denomination in order that it will be able to take advantage of the proposed changes in the law in this area. Having seen how much the Scottish Episcopal Church has already changed its beliefs about marriage, its wedding liturgies and in its acceptance of gay clergy, it is not difficult for me to imagine a church where discrimination against gay people is a thing of the past. I think that bringing the church to a position where marriages can be celebrated between two people of the same sex will be achieved very soon.

It is a relatively simple matter to change Canon Law. The church does it all the time. Though it takes a couple of years to do so and involves great discussion throughout the church, it is a process which is constantly in use and with which many people in the church are familiar.

I believe that the change that the church has made in recognising a that a couple getting married is formed of two equal people entering into a mutual loving relationship rather than being a matter of property whereby a woman was handed over from one owner (her father) to a new one (her husband) is far more significant than the change needed to allow the church to agree to marry a same-sex couple.

The consultation closes tonight (Friday) at midnight. The easiest way to respond is through the Equal Marriage website. It takes about 5 minutes to respond on that site. Alternatively there is the full consultation response, which can be found here.