Marriage has not been extended; it has been redefined and effectively privatised to privilege adult choice. The changes have stripped husband and wife of their obvious meaning and marginalised adultery and consummation. Marriage has been made into a fluid, gender-neutral institution defined by consumer demands and political expediency.
The state has created a form of marriage that is no longer the lifelong union between a man and a woman for the procreation of children and the foundation of family life. They have decided that it should be something other than what it has been throughout history and different from its natural and biblical meaning.
It is now the task of the Church to model marriage to a society that has forgotten what it is. In the light of pressures that Christians and others will no doubt face in coming years, this new legal fiction provides a chance to model and reach what marriage really is.
In making this highly contentious change the government failed to properly consult, they ignored overwhelming opposition, and were determined to avoid public debate. They have failed to think about what marriage actually is, or the impact on children, and they have fast tracked the legislation to bypass democracy. Protections that are essential and would normally be expected in a situation like this were brushed aside in their haste to get this on the statute books, and in the hope it will fade as an issue before the next general election.
Although the law has changed, real marriage is and will always be exclusively a lifelong union between a man and woman. We can acknowledge the fact the legal definition has changed but we should also understand that we do not need to approve of the legal fiction created.
We also know that God is not fazed by this, and as Christians we should have confidence to speak and teach the truth with grace and love. And we should help each other sustain marriage as a covenant before God.