Motion putting pressure on Church of England passed by MPs

Mar 22, 2023

Yesterday, Ben Bradshaw MP’s ‘ten minute rule motion’ aimed at forcing the Church of England to conduct same-sex marriages was passed by the House of Commons without a vote.

The motion does not change the law. But it sends a message that some politicians are becoming increasingly willing to compel acceptance of same-sex marriage on those who disagree.

The motion asked that “leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable clergy of the Church of England to conduct same-sex marriages on Church of England premises”. The slippery wording makes it sound like a choice, but the motion’s terms would mean the C of E being forced to perform same-sex weddings. This was despite Bradshaw himself saying in 2013 that it was the “prerogative” of the C of E’s leadership to decide not to allow gay weddings.

Speaking in support of his motion yesterday, Bradshaw said it was “a gentle nudge” to the C of E, suggesting it needed to “adjust to the new reality”.

But Andrew Selous MP, speaking against the motion on behalf of the C of E, argued that it sought to “usurp the role of the democratically elected General Synod” and that “directing the Church of England on doctrine is not the job of Parliament”.

No church, organisation or individual should be forced to accept what they do not believe. This could well be the first attempt of many to impel same-sex marriage on those who disagree. And what starts with an effort to strong-arm the Church of England could easily be extended to other churches and organisations.

At C4M, we firmly reject this attempt to force the C of E to perform gay weddings, and we remain vigilant to ensure that any similar attempts in the future meet strong resistance.