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Simon Callow: Banning the Church of England from same-sex marriage is a ‘medieval idea’

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  1. That’s OK, Simon. They have a medieval mindset, so they’ll be quite happy.

  2. A “sort of medieval idea” – so it’s a perfect fit for the CoE, then.

  3. Jock S. Trap 12 Dec 2012, 4:52pm

    I agree but we are talking about religions that I think wish they were still in Medieval times they certainly act like it!

    Shame though because not all agree with the extremist Christians but sadly the minority make the most noise.

  4. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 5:11pm

    Medieval indeed. What about the CoE, Simon?

    I blame Anglican clergy in support who never spoke up adequately or loudly and demanded their right to celebrate our marriages. The next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has the gall to say he doesn’t like the word “exclusion” when it was who said recently that he doesn’t support equal marriage. If that’s not hypocrisy I don’t know what is.

    If some of them really care about this, then why haven’t they formed their own group and made demands of the hierarchy? They haven’t and they won’t. because they don’t want to rock the boat or be told to leave. I have no sympathy for any of them. They are complicit in this for doing really nothing about it. They get what they deserve.

    To hell with Welby and dialogue with the LGBT community he’d been hoping to have. He blew it by opposing equal civil marriage in the first place. What on earth could his church possibly offer gay people now? NOTHING!

    1. Christianity gave us the current definition of marriage. Even if non-Christians decide to redefine civil marriage, why should Christians endorse the revised version?

      1. No one is asking any religion to endorse anything that it doesn’t want to. It happens to be the case that some smaller religious groups *want* to officiate at same sex ceremonies. Is their any reason that they shouldn’t be allowed to?

        Personally I find it hard to understand why any LGBT would have anything whatsoever to do with any religious organisations that are being used as camouflage by homo hysterics pretending to have genuine religious concerns.

      2. why should Christians endorse the revised version?

        Because they’ve done it before? (See Henry VIII.)

      3. Jock S. Trap 13 Dec 2012, 10:39am

        Chipsy

        The fact you use the word ‘current’ in comments says it all…. what gave Christianity ‘exclusive’ rights over something they themselves re-defined?

        It’s a very poor argument since marriage has been around a lot longer than religion.

  5. Serves the C of E right for fussing so much about how they’d be “forced” to marry same sex couples. While they continue to function in the past what do they expect? No women bishops? Definitely mediaeval.

  6. Pavlos Prince of Greece 12 Dec 2012, 5:29pm

    Well, I suspect, its probably less ‘medieval idea’ and more in the style of Henry VIII. Anyway, main initiator of this was Church of England itself, and conservative part in particular, I think,- as a ‘weapon’ for the some future against liberal minority. Its a ‘self-ban’, not simple ‘ban’ indeed.

  7. The cult of England is itself a medieval institution.

    I want a separation of church and state in Britain.

    I abhor the fact that the abhorrently bigoted cult of England is our official state religion.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 6:48pm

      Maria Miller’s decision to reinforce the ban serves only to isolate the CoE even more which could well portend disestablishment. It’s made it less relevant and in a way has diminished some of its power. I’m surprised there wasn’t a backlash from the religious nutters claiming abuse of religious freedom. Ms. Miller’s brilliant move has really gobsmacked the bigots more than I thought it would.

      Notice the silence from C4M, hardly a word? Nothing from Rowan Williams or Justin Welby. I would have thought Bishop Sentamu would have been ecstatic as well as Lord Carey, not a word from either. This should be a time of celebration for them, I wonder why it isn’t? It’s still the same nasty bigoted church in sync with the equally nasty Tory backbenchers, their cheer leaders. Serves them right! I’m surprised the Pope hasn’t sent Welby a note of congratulations, job well done.

      1. Yes Robert. The next step is removal of the bishops from the Lords. The focus will be on how ‘relevant’ there position is within lawmaking.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 8:33pm

          Quite, John. That’s why I’m all for Lords reform. I think the issue should be raised over and over throughout the equal marriage debate, to remind them that their days of power are coming to an end and their resistance to equal marriage is only going to hasten their demise and finally extinguish any influence they have on legislation. Lords reform to them signifies the slippery slope to disestablishment which is why they in particular are vehemently opposed to it as are many Tory backbenchers. I think Maria Miller’s decision yesterday is going to be a silver lining in the end. I support it entirely. At least it’s one way to shut them up on the issue. They’ve set themselves up for it.

          Now watch as attendance at sunday services dwindles even more and the younger generation they’re trying to appeal to becomes further alienated as a result of their obstinate resistance to equal marriage.

          1. And now we have the c of e kicking off because the weren’t consulted…

            Asked why the government had chosen to propose the “quadruple-lock” guarantee, Bradshaw said: “The only explanation I can think of was that they thought it would help placate some of their homophobic backbenchers. But it seems to have backfired massively because the rightwing homophobes were out in force anyway and the Church of England now appears to be extremely upset that not only was it not asked, but it’s added to [the] general misery over women bishops and now this. It makes the Church of England look much more reactionary and unreasonable than it actually is,” he said.

            Exactly Mr Bradshaw! Simple answer – If the c of e doesn’t want to be seen as “reactionary and unreasonable”, then sort out your own bunch of bigots before dictating to the rest of society on their rights to equality of marriage and women bishops!

            This illustrates the dysfuctionality of fundamentalist bigots. Nothing will placate them!

      2. Agreed Robert,

        The government has played an absolute masterstroke with banning the c of e from carrying out weddings which will:

        Marginalise the church even more from the cultural mainstream (esprcially after the women bishops fiasco)

        Force the silent majority in the church to be more active in combatting the fundamentalist extremists rather than sitting on their arses as a lot have done to date.

        Provide the perfect justification for disestablisment and removing bishops from the house of lords.

        The fundies may well be in a quandry for what to do now they`re not being forced to marry LBGT in churches. This was never about churches being forced to ‘do’ anything and everything to do with being petty minded homophobes for whom nothing would satisfy their dysfunctional bigotry!

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 8:19pm

          Very well said, Martyn. Petty minded homophobes, I quite like that. The thing is, they can’t even be honest about it, they choose to lie instead, not something one would equate with being a christian. I don’t believe for a minute that Rowan Williams or Justin Welby really believed they’d be forced to participate, but they allowed the bigotry to run amok. They’ve not only denigrated our relationships on countless occasions and spread malicious information about gay people all of which has been debunked is further proof that this has more to do with homophobia and bigotry.

          Isn’t it revealing that there has been very little blow-back from the CoE since Maria Miller’s announcement yesterday aside from Rowan Williams blasting the government for introducing equal marriage in the Telegraph? I was unaware that an archbishop has any place dictating to the government what it can and cannot do and a mandate is irrelevant to legislation.

          1. Yes, what the government has also done for the c of e is to switch the whole question of women bishops and equal marriage into a cordon sanitaire firmly within the confines of the synod.

            Now, the only way that the c of e will gain any credibility with more enlightened society will be to sort out their internal problems themselves (and probably lose a serious amount of credibility with wider society in the process).

            So, it comes down to the passive decent majority of christians actively challenging the tiny minority of fundamentalists and stopping them in their tracks. The vote on women bishops was stymied by just such a minority of fundamentalists.

            All in all, the c of e has got exactly what it deserves and it will be interesting to see if it can control these extremists… or more likely, vote itself out of any modern relevance into oblivion…

          2. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 10:08pm

            Martyn, I couldn’t have put it better. Interesting points you raise too and thank you.

          3. Exactly Martin. Has there ever been a better example of ‘Be careful what you wish for !’ The CofE has now been given the foolproof assurance they were demanding and are now upset because they have egg all over their face.

        2. The real laugh is that the silent majority are blaming the government rather than themselves.

  8. Oh DOOO catch on, Simon, there’s a dear!

  9. The C of E, despite all their advantages, really know how to shoot themselves in the foot. They have won a battle and lost a war.

    1. Now that all 3 parties are allowing a ‘free vote’ and seeing as marriage equality could be scuppered by the House of ‘Lords’ it is far too early to say they have lost the marriage equality battle.

      The date promised for equality by Cameron was 2015 – if he cannot deliver then he is admitting that no sane LGBT person should consider voting Tory at the next election (the same is true for Clegg and Miliband of course but there are less homophobic extremists in their parties, so if this fails it will be because of the Tories and the ‘Lords’.

  10. I think his assessment is a little bit simplistic, and might be the opinion of many neutral heterosexual onlookers reading the morning newspaper.

    Like others I think this was a shrewd move by the Coalition. Many Conservatives in Cabinet seem to have genuinely changed their mind on equal marriage in the past decade or more, and I think this clause is a reflection of their embarrassment toward the Church of England and the toxic wing of their party that have come back from the wilderness and are garnering so much air time.

    Everyone but Philip Hammond and IDS know they that have no chance of winning in 2015 if they don’t start to finally court the LGBT, non-religious and non-Home Counties vote. A Bill with lots of clarity, singling out the CoE as a spoiled child, is exactly what will appeal to a wider electorate rather than a ‘Vicar of Dibley’ idyll.

  11. I agree with Simon.
    There’ll be a typical british fudge on this one and we’ll end up with equality but not quite.
    It’ll be challenged of course and eventually sorted out but that will take years.
    The CofE in the meantime will miss out on the revenue and that will be annoying them more than anything!

  12. PeterinSydney 13 Dec 2012, 9:41am

    Coming after the female bishop fiasco, this ruling against Anglican gay marriage just quickens the end of the Church as being of any influence in British Society. This may be a good thing in the long run.

  13. Mr Callow is missing an important point. Actually banning the CofE is a brilliantly clever move. The church heirarchy has whinged and whined about ‘being forced’ to carry out gay marriage. So, the government has given them what they want and BANNED them. The net result will be to reduce further the relevance of the CofE in modern society and marginalise them even more. Those religions which want to opt-in will increasingly be seen as inclusive and forward-looking while the CofE will be pushed even further into irrlevance. This, I think, is great news.

  14. Sister Mary Clarence 13 Dec 2012, 12:00pm

    Simon, its not a ‘ban’, its ‘protection’

    Just like they wanted!!!

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