Places of worship say ‘no’ to same-sex marriage

Dec 6, 2017

The overwhelming majority of places of worship in Britain have rejected same-sex marriage, a new study has found.

There are around 40,000 places of worship in Britain in which a traditional marriage may be solemnised. Only 182 of these are registered to conduct same-sex weddings.

The study also found that amongst those places of worship registered to conduct same-sex marriages, half of those which responded to the researchers had never done so.

An important victory

The study by academics at the University of York highlights the impact of protections for freedom of religion which we campaigned for and won when marriage was redefined in law.

This means that same-sex marriages cannot be celebrated on religious premises or in a religious ceremony without express consent from the religious organisation concerned in most cases.

We also secured a blanket legal protection for the Church of England and the Church in Wales from having to conduct same-sex marriages.

All other denominations and faiths may choose to opt-in to conduct same-sex weddings, but are under no compulsion to do so.

An ongoing battle

It is important to guard these freedoms. Earlier this year, Theresa May told the Church of England to “reflect” on a change to the law which would allow them to conduct same-sex marriages.

Equalities Minister Justine Greening went further by saying that the Church of England needed to “keep up” with “modern attitudes” by conducting same-sex weddings.

In fact these statistics show that far from falling behind, the Church of England is in line with the vast majority of religious congregations in refusing to validate these marriages.

Church of England confusion

In a speech in Moscow last month the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that “70-90% of people in the UK see [same-sex marriage] as acceptable and unchallengeable”.

This cannot be true. As we wrote on our blog, less than two thirds of the general public say that same-sex relationships are “not wrong at all”, and only 55% of Anglicans.

A consequence of confused remarks such as these is the ambiguous message which they send to both clergy and congregation.

The clergyman who called on Christians to pray that Prince George grows up to be a homosexual said this to show his support for same-sex marriage across the Anglican Communion.

However, in projecting adult sexuality onto a four-year-old, his remarks were wholly inappropriate.

They were also misguided. We have seen a striking rejection of same-sex marriage across faiths and denominations. It is now time to concentrate on how we can restore traditional marriage to its status as a gold standard for society.

This is an extract from one of the Coalition for Marriage’s regular communications with its supporters. If you would like to register as a marriage supporter and receive these updates, you may do so here.