‘Don’t force same-sex marriage on C of E’ – Wes Streeting

Aug 16, 2023

In March, we told you about an outrageous attempt by a group of cross-party MPs to force the Church of England to accept same-sex marriage. But there are MPs who don’t want to take this step even though they back gay marriage.

The former Head of Education at Stonewall, Wes Streeting MP, said there were “no circumstances” where he would “impose, by law, an obligation on the Church of England” to accept same-sex marriage.

Speaking to Premier Christianity, the Labour shadow minister was vocal in supporting same-sex marriage. He criticised the theology of those who disagree and said he wished the Church of England accepted it.

Yet Streeting also praised important protections in the 2013 gay marriage law preventing places of worship from being “obligated to perform same-sex marriages”. He described his fellow Labour MP Stephen Timms as “one of the kindest people” he knows, despite the fact he voted against gay marriage in 2013.

Streeting’s approach is a marked contrast with the 12 MPs, led by Ben Bradshaw, who published a Bill to “enable clergy of the Church of England to conduct same sex marriages”. This is despite the Church’s Synod making it clear it does not want this doctrinal change.

A Private Member’s Bill like this will not become law, but it won’t be the last attempt to impose same-sex marriage on those who disagree. In June, Bradshaw hosted a ‘Parliamentary Symposium’ where academics and politicians discussed how to force gay marriage on the C of E. Symposium organiser Jayne Ozanne said the Church’s rejection of the practice “cannot be allowed to continue”.

Wes Streeting believes you can disagree respectfully yet still ensure nobody is compelled to accept something they disagree with. For others, like Ben Bradshaw, there is only one acceptable belief to hold – theirs – and those who dissent soon find themselves being compelled to change.

At C4M, people from all faiths and none come together to promote man-woman marriage. Although we disagree with Streeting about wanting the C of E to conduct same-sex marriages, it is refreshing to hear him resist calls to use compulsion.