The Conservative MP Sir Tony Baldry who speaks on behalf of the Church of England’s commissioners in Parliament has warned that the church is deluding itself if it thinks that MPs will listen to its arguments against marriage equality for gay couples.
Sir Tony, the MP for North Oxfordshire, is the link between the Church of England and the House of Commons so his views hold considerable weight.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “I suspect that every right honourable and honourable Member has recently had representations from church members on same-sex marriage.
“If the Church of England thinks that Parliament will listen to it with considerable attention on moral issues such as same-sex marriage and so on when the Church of England seems to be so out of step on other issues of concern to Parliament, it is simply deluding itself.”
Sir Tony has previously spoken out against equal marriage.
Sir Tony also criticised the General Synod of the Church of England for rejecting proposals to allow women bishops. He said: “As a consequence of the decision by the General Synod, the Church of England no longer looks like a national church; it simply looks like a sect, like any other sect.
He added: “If it wishes to be a national church that reflects the nation, it has to reflect the values of the nation.”
Yesterday, the Reverend Canon Robert Cotton of Westcott House theological college in Cambridge echoed the sentiments of Sir Tony: “We have made David Cameron’s job getting gay marriage through much easier — why should he take the Church of England seriously when it seems interested only in looking after its own?”