Many Christians regard their wedding day as one of the most joyful, and spiritually significant, in their lives. Those preparing to celebrate marriage are part of the body of the church, whose other members may wish to rejoice with and support them as they make a costly, as well as fulfilling, commitment.
Marriage equality is a worthy cause, and UK laws rightly ban discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. But a legal case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland against a bakery unhelpfully confuses different issues.
Protesters at Southwell Minster have criticised Archbishop of York John Sentamu for discriminating against married gay chaplain Jeremy Pemberton. This meant that he could not take up a job at a local NHS trust.
A Church of England bishop has refused a licence to Jeremy Pemberton, a hospital chaplain, because he married his partner Laurence Cunnington. This may prevent him from taking up a new job closer to his home. This has further strained church’s leaders’ already tense relationship with those seeking greater inclusion.
Clergy and laypersons should not get into trouble for marrying their same-sex partners, the Methodist Church in Britain agreed. For the time being, only opposite-sex couples will be allowed to marry in church. But a two-year period of study and discussion will examine whether this should change.