Call to Church of England to defend traditional marriage

The head of Christian Concern has called upon the Church of England's governing body to defend traditional marriage.

The Government is due to begin a consultation on redefining marriage from solely a union between one man and one woman to also including same-sex couples.

Andrea Minichiello Williams today challenged the Church of England's General Synod to take a stand for traditional marriage "before it is too late".

Williams, a Synod member, urged the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to authorise an emergency debate on the issue, noting that same-sex marriage was contrary to the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.

She submitted a Private Members Motion to the Synod asking that it "affirm the public doctrine of marriage, between a man and a woman, as set out in the Book of Common Prayer as the only basis for engagement with public policy on marriage and family life".

Addressing Synod, she said: “In Matthew 19 Jesus tells us categorically that marriage was ordained by God from the beginning of our creation as the union of one man and one woman and this relationship is a direct reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church – the bridegroom and the bride.

“If the national Church were to stand for marriage as traditionally defined then our Prime Minister would be defeated even before he began.

“Is it not the job of the established Church to hold government to account and not to let her stray from biblical precepts which are good not just for individuals but for communities and nations?”

Her plea comes after the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, expressed his support for a broadening of the definition of marriage to include gay couples.

He told The Times: “All of us have friends, families, relatives, neighbours who are, or who know somebody, in same sex partnerships.

“I’m no longer convinced [that marriage can only be between heterosexual people]. I think same-sex couples that I know who have formed a partnership have in many respects a relationship which is similar to a marriage and which I now think of as a marriage.

"And of course now you can’t really say that a marriage is defined by the possibility of having children.”