The Methodist Church has contributed to the debate on the Government’s proposals to enable same sex couples to get married in church through a submission to the Home Office which it recently published.
It makes several interesting points. In line with protests from other established Churches it makes a strong case that the Government should not assume the right to define what is religious and what is not. Methodist Standing Orders currently prohibit same sex marriage and the church argues that it should be up to its members to change the rules rather than “unwarranted interference” from the State to enforce this change on the Church.
The central point remains whether the Methodist Church is willing to give serious consideration to same-sex couples who wish to have their relationship officially sanctioned in Church through a marriage ceremony.
The Methodist response acknowledges that “we have for nearly twenty years explicitly recognised, affirmed and celebrated the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men, and been committed to a pilgrimage of faith to combat discrimination and give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.”
Clearly this issue evokes strong response from both sides of the debate. From those who believe that marriage is a gift from God involving the life-long union in body mind and spirit of one man and one woman. And from those who believe that everyone is entitled to equal treatment and protection against discrimination, including the right to marry.
You can read the full response by the Methodist Church here.