Conservative Party politicians are pushing for the Church of England to perform gay marriages despite long-held, law-bound promises regarding “religious protection.”
After Church of England bishops last week refused to allow same-sex couples to marry in its churches, a motion was considered at Synod, the institution’s parliament, to overturn the ban. If successful, this will see the Church asked to vote on whether it should back gay marriage for the first time in its history. One Synod source told The Daily Telegraph there is no reason to believe the vote will not go ahead, given that
it would be pretty difficult to see if there’s a procedure by which this amendment can be challenged and claim that this is not considered a legitimate question to be asked.
The paper added: “It is highly irregular for an amendment put before Synod to be rejected by the archbishops.”
A number of senior Conservative Party politicians are already working ahead of the expected vote to alter the Church of England’s stance on gay marriage. Most senior among these is Penny Mordaunt, minister as well as leader of the House of Commons and previously a candidate, selected by her party’s MPs, to succeed Liz Truss as Tory leader. Earlier this month, Ms. Mordaunt wrote to her local bishop in Portsmouth, highlighting what she described as “the pain and trauma” caused to “many LGBT+ people who are left feeling that they are treated as second-class citizens within our society.”
The senior Conservative is now reported by The Times to have been joined by other Tories, as well as Labour Party MPs, in sending such appeals while “a group of MPs is working on proposals to change the law to remove any legal barriers that could prevent the Church of England from pressing ahead in backing same-sex marriage.” The paper pointed to “growing anger among MPs over the continued refusal of the Church … to marry gay worshipers.”
This ‘anger’ comes in spite of repeated Conservative Party promises, signed into law, regarding the protection of the Church’s right to choose its own path. Around the time his government legalised gay marriage, then Tory prime minister David Cameron made it
absolutely, 100% clear: if there is any church … that doesn’t want to have a gay marriage, it will not—it absolutely must not—be forced to hold it.
That, he added, “is absolutely clear in the legislation.” The legislation itself covered—and still covers—“religious protection” and commits to “no compulsion to solemnise.”
When Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of Britain’s oldest conservative think tank, the Bow Group, called this promise a lie in 2012, he received “much protest from the Conservative Party.” Ten years later, he told The European Conservative that “it can unequivocally be seen to be a lie now.” Mr. Harris-Quinney added:
We now live in a country where that same government has described opposition to same-sex marriage as evidence of extremism, people are arrested for silently praying or reading the Bible, and the Conservative leader of the House of Commons [Penny Mordaunt] is using her public office to openly chastise the Church of England and Christians for not embracing same-sex marriage.
The Church of England was once described as the Conservative Party at prayer. Today both the Church of England and the Conservative Party have become the LGBT lobby at prayer.
The Conservative Party’s campaign headquarters declined our request for comment and Tory MPs are noted to have been tight-lipped during recent ‘debates’ on the subject. The government has also been approached for comment.