The Government plans to issue its consultation on redefining marriage to create same-sex marriage later this year.
The move is another nail in the coffin for marriage, politically speaking, and follows on from the votes held early December in the House of Lords over registering civil partnerships in churches.
Baroness O’Cathain tabled a motion to reject the regulations because she claimed they failed to fulfil the Government’s promise to protect religious liberty.
According to Christian Concern, the scheme is intended to be ‘voluntary’, although critics of the move believe what is being portrayed as ‘optional’ for churches will quickly become an expectation and then a duty.
No church will initially be compelled to offer the services, yet churches that do not agree to offer them will be put under huge pressure to change their policy by campaign groups.
It is also likely that homosexual campaigners will commence litigation against churches that refuse, using either the Equality Act or the Human Rights Act to claim discrimination if they are not allowed to form a civil partnership in a particular church.
The Church of England currently does not have plans to bless homosexual unions. Rev. John Richardson, spokesman for the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) said, ‘CEEC will be consulting urgently with other bodies with a view to formulating a concerted response to address what it sees as a questionable move that could cause great damage to individuals and to our society.’
The Church Society Council issued a statement, which said, ‘In their endorsement of so-called same-sex marriage, such pronouncements implicitly assert marriage is open to redefinition according to shifting cultural, moral or social standards.
‘They also implicitly deny the scope of marriage has been determined once and for all, by a wise and loving God, who, as creator, knows what is best for his creatures’.
Other religions, including the Jewish Orthodox in the UK and the Muslim Council of Britain, are also in crisis talks, as this will challenge their own stance that marriage is between one man and one woman.