15 March 2012
The Church of England/Archbishops' Council will study the
Government's consultation on whether to redefine marriage to
accommodate those of the same sex and respond in detail in due
course. The following summary of the Church of England's position
has been posted on the Church of England website:
"The Church of England is committed to the traditional
understanding of the institution of marriage as being between one
man and one woman.
"The Church of England supports the way civil partnerships offer
same-sex couples equal rights and responsibilities to married
heterosexual couples. Opening marriage to same-sex couples
would confer few if any new legal rights on the part of those
already in a civil partnership, yet would require multiple changes
to law, with the definition of marriage having to change for
"The issue of whether marriage should be redefined to include those
of the same-sex is a more complicated picture than has been
painted. Arguments that suggest 'religious marriage' is
separate and different from 'civil marriage', and will not be
affected by the proposed redefinition, misunderstand the legal
nature of marriage in this country. They mistake the form of the
ceremony for the institution itself.
"Currently, the legal institution of marriage into which people
enter is the same whether they marry using a civil or a religious
form of ceremony. Arguments that seek to treat 'religious marriage'
as being a different institution fail to recognise the enduring
place of the established church in providing marriages that have
full state recognition. The Church of England will continue to
argue against changing the definition of marriage, which has
supported society for so long."