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Gay marriage vote is too soon, says Bishop of Gloucester Michael Perham

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

Bishop of Gloucester Michael Perham

Comments (22)

CHURCH bosses in Gloucestershire say MPs should not be voting today on whether to allow gay marriage.

The House of Commons' vote on the Government's controversial bill has arrived far too quickly for the Diocese of Gloucester's liking.

Yesterday, as the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stated his opposition to gay marriage, there were calls to delay the vote.

Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Michael Perham said he believed the vote was being rushed, adding: "The Church of England embraces people with a wide variety of views on gay marriage. It would be foolish to suggest that there is only one opinion.

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"Nevertheless, the Church of England does, in its official teaching and in its law, understand marriage to be a committed life long partnership between a man and a woman.

"It is, therefore, alarming the Government has rushed to change, in such a hurried way, an understanding of marriage that has been held and honoured throughout history, introducing legislation that was not in the manifestos of the parties at the last election, for which there is therefore no mandate.

"The Government would do better to slow down this process and give time for much more reflective consideration of such a change."

Today's vote has created a divide within the Conservative party.

As many as 180 Tory MPs are said to be considering voting against the bill, but it is still expected to pass with support from Labour and Liberal Democrats MPs.

Bishop Michael added: "The Church is not simply sitting on the sidelines resistant to change, but wants to be part of a thoughtful and wise consideration of these things – but it is difficult to do that against a very hurried Government timetable."

Four of Gloucestershire's six MPs said they would back the bill, but Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) and Geoffrey Clifton- Brown (Cotswolds) said they were likely to vote against.

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  • tishwash  |  February 06 2013, 6:36PM

    by LecorcheTuesday, February 05 2013, 8:06PM "Run that by me again,tishwash. Are you saying that Hotels can now turn gays away and they won't be accused of discrimination?" No, this is protection for the religious institutions, a quad deadlock, no institution will be forced to conduct the same sex marriages. by Glos_Lad34Tuesday, February 05 2013, 8:41PM "@tishwash I thought they would say no to the bill until 2015 but now have backed it roll on the election of 2015." So you are upset they did something in their manifesto ? They said the'd do it and they did, surely we should be happy a party is following their manifesto?

  • Glos_Lad34  |  February 05 2013, 8:41PM

    @tishwash I thought they would say no to the bill until 2015 but now have backed it roll on the election of 2015.

  • Lecorche  |  February 05 2013, 8:06PM

    Run that by me again,tishwash. Are you saying that Hotels can now turn gays away and they won't be accused of discrimination?

  • Bonkim2003  |  February 05 2013, 8:03PM

    SueBS - Not sure this was Church rules - all through history many inter-racial marriages were sanctified by the Church - and in the Bible - could be local cultural variations you are talking about - there were laws on inter-racial marriages in the US for example.

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  • tishwash  |  February 05 2013, 7:45PM

    "The Commons voted in favour of the The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, at the end of a full day's debate on the bill." So clearly the people we elected made a sensible decision.

  • tishwash  |  February 05 2013, 7:42PM

    by LecorcheTuesday, February 5 2013, 10:35AM "If the Church can choose to not marry gays and not end up being prosecuted for discrimination,will there be a case for hotels and guest houses to turn away same sex couples?" That's the thing, they CAN'T be forced and will be protected from discrimination charges, so that should alleviate your fear, perhaps the general public should read the actual bill before commenting based on the church or left wing papers. by SandraPeeTuesday, February 5 2013, 12:00PM "this wasn't in the Tory manifesto" It was, but who reads the manifesto's and who reads the headlines at voting times. by RoseHillWRTuesday, February 5 2013, 5:15PM "I would like to ask someone who is gay - how can you be religious? Your religion does not accept you" Actually it depends on your religion, many religions are happy such as the Quakers, it's only certain religions that are striking out.

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  • SueBS  |  February 05 2013, 5:39PM

    This whole debate just goes to show religion can be used to justify almost anything.

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  • RoseHillWR  |  February 05 2013, 5:15PM

    I would like to ask someone who is gay - how can you be religious? Your religion does not accept you, surely it's time to ask yourself what you believe in? Genuine question, I'm not trying to be argumentative - I'm certainly not religious OR against gay people, just trying to understand the reasoning behind a gay person wanting to get married in a religious setting.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  February 05 2013, 4:47PM

    Ell Jay 1 - you speak my mind - it is bonkers for groups that do not abide by the teachings of a particular religion to want to be accepted by the religious establishment. I have no religious persuation, and have nothing against Gays, however must uphold the right of the various religions to their beliefs on such matters and to keep those they consider deviating from their teachings from participating in their ceremonies. Now why do Gays and the Government want the religious establishment to support what they are doing? The COE should disestablish itself from its historic connection with the Monarchy if it is to be true to its core beliefs and answerable only to God - as in the Bible. Religion and politics do not mix.

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  • SueBS  |  February 05 2013, 4:01PM

    Alfredo, same sex couples enter into a civil partnership. Hetrosexual couples have either a Religious (Church) or Civil (Register Office or other licenced premises) marriage service so by EllJay1 comment is correct. Additionally.. There was also a time when only marriage services conducted in a Church Of England Church were recognised. All others either had to have an additional service in the register office or have a Registrar attend the service. Family history lesson over.

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