Anglican and Catholic Bishops Oppose UK Government’s Plan to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Lots of law-and-religion news out of Britain this weekend. Here’s another story: in Catholic parishes in Britain today, worshipers heard a pastoral letter from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Catholic primate, warning about the dangers of legalizing same-sex marriage. The letter follows similar statements by Anglican bishops, including Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Archbishop of York John Sentamu; Williams is quoted as saying that legalization would force “unwanted change on the rest of the nation.” The bishops’ statements follow reports that the coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron is considering introducing legislation to legalize  same-sex marriage in Britain. It’s not clear from the reports whether the legislation would  authorize only civil same-sex marriages or actually alter the articles of the Church of England — adopted by act of Parliament — to authorize religious same-sex marriages as well. I assume the former, but I don’t know enough about Parliament’s role in setting doctrine in the Church of England.

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