Church of England to “Explore” Possible Recognition of Gay Marriages

( [email protected] ) Jan 20, 2004 11:32 AM EST

Following in the footsteps of their counterpart in North America, The General Synod of the Church of England announced that it would “explore” the possibility of legal recognition for “gay marriages,” Monday, Dec. 19.

The York diocesan synod requested for the Archbishops’ Council to “investigate and explore” the issues involved in “contractual partnerships” other than marriage between two cohabiting adults. During its meeting, the Synod concluded that allowing for such partnerships outside marriage between cohabiting adults was “socially desirable” because such relationships would continue to exist whether or not they are approved by the state or the Church. In fact, the Synod believed the absence of a legal contract would actually become a “potential cause of injustice and misery”.

These co-habiting partners encompass heterosexual as well as homosexual partners. Should the Church and the Government accept the proposal, same sex couples would be allowed to enter into “civil partnerships” through signing an official document at a register office. Such a move is likely to anger traditionalists within the Church of England and other denominations.

A spokesman for the Church of England, however, said the General Synod was unlikely to have enough time to debate the motion when it meets next month in London.

“It seems unlikely to be debated this time as there are so many other items ahead of it in the queue,” said the spokesman. “Obviously, it stays in the queue and does not lose its place.”

Across the Atlantic, victories for the gay-rights movement within the Church and the Government sparked a firestorm of fear and anger from conservatives nationwide. Within the Episcopal Church – the U.S. counterpart to the Church of England, an openly gay priest was consecrated and the majority of bishops acknowledged the churches’ blessings of gay marriages. Consequently, conservatives within the denomination began withholding their funds to the national church and formed a network of dissenting parishes.