United Kingdom churches object to the governments' proposal to enable "all couples, regardless of gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony" and sent various statements to the government against gay marriage.
The Church of England submitted a document that stated it cannot support the U. K. government proposal to enable "all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony."
The document states that such a move "alters the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history" adding that marriage benefits society in many ways. According to the document, traditional marriage promotes mutuality and fidelity.
The Church of England's statement said that they "supported social change and the removal of unjustified discrimination and create greater legal rights for same sex couples." They also stated that they welcome that fact that previous legal and material inequities between heterosexual and same-sex partnerships are "now satisfactorily addressed."
The document also stated that to change the nature of marriage is divisive and delivers no obvious legal gains to same-sex civil partnerships, as well as considers a new definition unwise.
The consultation paper wrongly implies that there are two categories of marriage, –civil and –religious. This is to mistake the wedding ceremony for the institution of marriage. The assertion that –religious marriage will be unaffected by the proposals is therefore untrue, since fundamentally changing the state's understanding of marriage means that the nature of marriages solemnized in churches and other places of worship would also be changed.
The document continues with the Church of England's arguments against the U. K. government's decision, which they take from The Book of Common Prayer.
In a letter to Secretary May, Archbishop Peter Smith said, "In the interest of upholding the uniqueness of marriage as a civil institution for the common good of society, we strongly urge the government not to proceed with legislative proposals which will enable all couples, regardless of their gender to have a civil marriage ceremony."
"It is of serious concern to us that this proposal, which has such immense social importance for the stability of our society and which has significant implications for the unique institution of marriage and of family life, should be proposed on this basis and with such limited argument. These are issues of great magnitude with far-reaching consequences for how our society sees itself well into the future."
The archbishop of Wales accused the government of rushing to judgment without debate. He also accused the government of making change through legislation without seeking if it is desirable change.