David Cameron responds to Anglican Mainstream on gay marriage

Back in July Anglican Mainstream sent David Cameron a letter which you can read here and begins:

Dear Prime Minister

We write to ask you to correct a serious misconception in the speech you made to representatives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Groups at Number 10, reported on your website on 25 July 2012.

In that speech you say that opponents of the redefinition of marriage within the church are “locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church.”   This is simply not the case.   It is in fact the teaching of Christian churches that all people, including those self-identified as gay, bisexual or transgendered, are to be welcomed as members.

Here’s Cameron’s response;

Dear Dr Giddings,

Thank you for your letter of 25 July about my recent comments on the Government’s proposals on equal civil marriage at the reception I hosted on 24 July. I am sorry for the delay in responding.

I would begin hy assuring you that the Government in no way wishes to force any religious organization to fundamentally change their beliefs and practice. People in this country have the complete freedom to hold any religious beliefs they choose, and to practice and manifest their religion, and this Government fully supports their right to do so.  We recognize the vital role that faith organizations have in our society and the part they play in national life, inspiring a great number of people to get involved in public service and providing help to those in need.

My message was simply reflective of my pride in the way in which we are now leading the way in advancing lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) equality, recognizing the contribution LGB&T people make to society and enabling LGB&T people to fully participate in all aspects of society.

As I also said in my remarks at the reception, I recognize this is a very complicated and difficult issue, but I believe that we all – and I do  not single out the Churches here – need to recognize the case for equality.

The Government is committed to building a fairer society and ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunities for all, including people of all religions.  We are also clear on the importance of religious freedom. That is why the Government is listening to all religious organisations that have views about our proposals.

Our proposals are based on out belief that if a couple love each other and want to commit to a life together, they should have the option of a civil marriage. Marriage should be for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.  Society is stronger when people enter into a stable relationship and commit to each other.  So we do not believe the State should stop people getting married unless there are very good reasons. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are not good reasons to prevent marriage. If we believe commitment, fidelity and marriage are positive things – as this Government strongly does – then we should let them flourish, not restrict them.

The Government recognizes that there are many different views on our proposals for equal civil marriage. The consultation has provided an opportunity to gather all views on this issue and we are grateful for the full and considered responses from the Churches on our proposals and the constructive way in which they have engaged in this consultation process.

I would add that the Government recognizes the special position of religious marriages in our society and the consultation proposes that no changes are made to how religious organizations define and solemnize religious marriage. No religious organization will be forced to hold same-sex religious marriage ceremonies as a result of these proposals.

We are currently considering carefully all the responses we received before the consultation closed on 14 June and we will publish our response later in the year.

Yours sincerely

David Cameron

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6 Responses to “David Cameron responds to Anglican Mainstream on gay marriage”

  1. Fr Richard Says:

    No 10 notes (I don’t think any of us are naive enough to believe David Cameron actually WROTE this letter):

    “Society is stronger when people enter into a stable relationship and commit to each other. So we do not believe the State should stop people getting married unless there are very good reasons. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are not good reasons to prevent marriage. If we believe commitment, fidelity and marriage are positive things – as this Government strongly does – then we should let them flourish, not restrict them.”

    Certainly it does appear the case that societies that have liberal and tolerant attitudes to homosexuality and same sex unions tend, in the main, to have a lower divorce rate and (looking at other indicators – teen pregnancy, violent crime, social inequality, access to health care, levels of obesity, lone parent households etc.) greater social ‘wholesomeness’.

    The three links below show the divorce/household make up in the USA, the state pro & anti SSM and the prevalence of religion – i.e. the Bible Belt and there is certainly a loose correlation between religion and social conservatism resulting in higher rates of divorce, separation and single parent households (not to mention higher levels of teen pregnancy, violent crime, social inequality, poor access to health care and high levels of obesity).

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f4/Maritalstatus.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Samesex_marriage_in_USA.svg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/BibleBelt.png

    For many, particularly those of a religious bent, there is the facile belief that somewhere in the recent past there was a halcyon era which has been destroyed by liberal values and attitudes. In truth of course, we live in a far, far more socially moral society than at any other time in history. The problem is (and I suspect this has more to do with the preoccupations of some of our conservative brethren) there is an over emphasis on sexual morality – a stark (and sad) example is Anglicanmainstream itself: post after post on matters below the waist (and usually confined to convenient minorities). Biblical morality is a far wider concept and governs all aspects of a person’s life – yet the stress (for our conservative chums) appears overly concerned with what people do with their wing-wangs and (to a lesser degree) lady-gardens.

    Over the past forty years we have seen Britain plunged into economic and social crises on at least three occasions – the first because of ‘Old Labour’s’ in ability to control the unions and adjust Britain’s economy to the rapidly changing economic world of the 1970s; the second rampant greed and self-seeking, coupled with deregulation of the markets that led to a debt fuelled boom under Thatcher (in addition to massive indirect tax rises and government spending, despite the fact the official policy was the opposite – this led to government debt that still makes up a good portion of greater debt accrued by Blair, Brown and their vile cronies); and of course the debt fuelled bubble of the early naughties that just made the same mistakes as Thatcher’s governments, with the addition of unbridled government spending and inefficiency and New Labour wished to control all aspects of our lives.

    Hence we now live in an age where many teenagers are out of work; there are considerable stresses and strains on family life because of the combined inheritance of the financial mismanagement (not to mention a good dollop of personal greed and financial irresponsibility by Joe Public) and wider economic issues. Yet do we read of any sensible debate or comment on these very real threats to family life from our conservative fellow parishioners? Hardly a whisper. Anglicanmainstream, The Christian Institute, Catholic Voices etc. rarely make sorties into such necessary territory. Instead it is a catalogue of stories about homos, gay marriage and pro-life (often with a salacious, self-righteous and judgemental twist; or an unashamed economy with the truth – how hot these folk are when it comes to Lev 18:22, but less so when it comes to the requirements of Lev 20:16). You’d be hard pressed to find a story condemning government policy (unless it is homo related) or some sensible suggestions about what would make a more wholesome society that doesn’t involve mention of sex or matters related. Well, water finds its own level, as they say, but really, why should the present government take the slightest notice about lobbying and pressure groups that narrow their efforts to a few controversial causes yet seem strangely silent when it comes to the wider issues of Biblical morality?

    Hurray for Cameron is what I say – and as for Anglicanmainstream and its bitter and contemptible companions… perhaps a study day on Galatians 6:7 is in order…

  2. Chris Stephens Says:

    Fr Richard, Good for you! It’s time Christians concerned themselves less with sex and more with justice.

  3. William Says:

    Well, Fr Richard, what can I say except – “Well said”?

  4. Goy Says:

    Decades on from Thatcher’s ultraliberal rank individualism the only kind of association that progressive conservatives have learnt to recognise is the pseudoscience of welfare dependency.

    Do these subprime Tory plebs really understand the difference between aristocracy and meritocracy? :-)

  5. Richard Barker Says:

    I rarely dip into this topic but would be interested if anyone could furnish simple answers (on a postcard) to some simple questions:

    1 – what did Jesus say about marriage?
    2 – did he define who should be married?
    3 – on what grounds did he make any comment?
    4 – what does he say about our PM’s proposals?
    5 – how would the PM respond to preceding Qs?
    6 – if a Christian, how will PM respond to Jesus?

  6. Does David Cameron’s decision line up with the Bible? | Richard's Watch Says:

    [...] James’ popular blog upon his item on the PM’s response to Anglican mainstream (see post), and we sent a letter to David Cameron. After learning on Friday about his decision I recalled my [...]

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