A Liberal Democrat MP has called for Christian marriages to be stripped of their legal status. Simon Hughes, Minister of Justice and Civil Liberties, told the Liberal Democrat spring conference that only secular, state-recognised ceremonies should have legal recognition
In a speech condemned by Christian Concern (CC) and the Christian Institute (CI), Mr Hughes said England and Wales should adopt a similar process to France, which separates state and religion.
According to the CI, if the government were to go ahead with his proposals, in order for a Christian couple to have their marriage recognised, they would need to have a secular ceremony in addition to a church wedding. The CI also said this is not the first time Mr Hughes has made calls to secularise legal processes in the UK.
Referring to an article Mr Hughes wrote in May 2013 for the Liberal Democrat Voice, the CI gave a reminder that Mr Hughes had said he ‘really wants a separation between church and state’.
Andrea Williams, director of CC, said, ‘Whatever the intention of this proposal, the effect at this moment would be further marginalisation of the true meaning of marriage in our society.
‘The churches need to stand firm and present God’s beautiful pattern of marriage to society — speaking of it, modelling it and inviting people to enter into it — not allowing it to become just another option among many others’.
Continuous attack over five decades has left marriage as little more than a bombed-out shell, Andrea Williams said, after the first legalised same-sex ‘weddings’ took place in the UK, in March.
‘The label remains but the substance has gone. God’s blueprint for marriage and family has been ripped up by our society and every day we see and feel all around us, the huge emotional, economic and spiritual pain that results. Same-sex weddings are just another step along a familiar path, whereby the enemies of the nuclear family have “obliterated marriage”.’
Ms Williams, who has been on many radio and television programmes to speak on behalf of traditional Christian values, added: ‘The dismantling and destruction of marriage between one man and one woman for life has produced a state marriage that is a mirage, an illusory reflection of the real thing’.