Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Christians for Equal Marriage UK (MB 92)

Providing a voice for Christians who support the right of all people, irrespective of sexuality, to marry

REF: Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Dear MPs/Public Bill Select Committee Members,

1. We are a national organisation that has been established specifically to act as a voice for Christians who support equal marriage. Our team is a mix of heterosexual and homosexual people who feel called to stand up for those upon whom both society and the Church have sought to place the burden of exclusion.

2. Set up last year, we represent the views of thousands of Christians throughout the United Kingdom who support the right of two people of the same sex to be allowed to marry – both in state r egistry offices and in churches . We believe that marriage is between two people, irrespective of their gender and/or sexuality this , is a view that many in the church share.

3. We believe:

· M arriage should be available to all couples, same-sex or opposite-sex, within and outside the church;

· The struggle for equal marriage is a matter of social justice;

· The reason given in the Bible for people to marry is that ‘It is not good for man to be alone’. God's love is not limited to one particular sexuality or type/genre of people.

4. We were thrilled, therefore, when the House of Commons voted to introduce Same Sex M arriage on 5 th February. However, w e are concerned that both the Church of England and Church of Wales will be prevented from opting in by the legislation and therefore banned from performing such ceremonies. Large numbers of Christians in these denominations support equal marriage, including many clergy We ha ve written to Equalities Minister, Maria Miller MP, expressing our concerns and woul d urge you to re consider the proposed government position and to encourage furt her discussion of this matter with the Church es of England and Wales .

5. After all, to signal to a couple that their relationship is not blessed by God is particularly hurtful and stigmatising. In m any cases, those who seek a Blessing or ultimately the opportunity to marry in church have been worshipping at their particular church for many years.

6. We believe homosexual relationships are entirely compatible with the Christian faith. Jesus demonstrated inclusivity and equality and actively went out of his way to support the marginalised in society. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been sidelined for too long. It is fast becoming clear that in a matter of a few years, this form of exclusion will be viewed in t he same way as prejudice against mixed race couples now is . Along with the vote against women Bishops, this has done much to alienate ordinary people from the church. We do not consider that hostility among the African churches a valid reason to hold back, as we must stand up for what is right, regardless of the consequences . Furthermore, law has an educative purpose and to go along with the exclusion of same sex couples from the sacrament of marriage, is to signal to those churches in other parts of the world that their prejudices, which sometimes take on extreme and dangerous forms, are correct and validated by God. Since our group was established we ha ve received support from both Christians and non- Christians right acr oss t he country.

7. During this committee/amendment stage of the Same Sex Marriage Bill we would urge you to include both the Church of England and Church of Wales as denominations where same-sex marriage could be permitted.

8. For more details about our organisation, beliefs and objectives please look at our website: .

March 2013

Prepared 6th March 2013