Archbishop of Canterbury: the law should not redefine marriage

Feb 29, 2012

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, gave a carefully worded speech yesterday about human rights and religious faith. He warns that some religious communities “feel that alien cultural standards are somehow being imposed – particularly in regard to inherited views of marriage and family.”

He added: “If it is said, for example, that a failure to legalise assisted suicide – or same-sex marriage – perpetuates stigma or marginalisation for some people, the reply must be, I believe, that issues like stigma and marginalisation have to be addressed at the level of culture rather than law.”

He also said there is “anxiety that law is being used proactively to change culture – one of the chief anxieties of some religious people faced with developments in the application of rights.” And, he said, while law has a role to play in advancing rights “this falls short of a legal charter to promote change in institutions, even in language”.

Read his speech in full here

Read coverage in the Daily Mail here