Atheist gay historian, David Starkey, says he is “suspicious” of issues like gay marriage as it may ‘dissolve’ established institutions.
He says he is “torn” over the issue. On the one hand he says marriage is “part of the baggage of heterosexual society”, which he respects “but can never fully share”.
On the other hand, he says he is increasingly aware “of the value of established institutions and suspicious of the levelling equality which dissolves them and atomises society”.
He warned that Government plans to redefine marriage may sever the ties between the state and the Church of England.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph he said “it would be the end of so much that matters about England”.
He said the Church plays a key role in dignifying “the great moments of our national life”, like the Jubilee celebrations, to the “admiration and envy of other nations”.
The historian also pointed out that the Church “has never conceded – as Prince Charles discovered to his cost – the principle of the remarriage of divorcees during the lifetime of the parties to the original marriage.
“Can gays really be surprised that they are being treated with the same rigour as the heir to the throne and would-be Defender of Faith?
“For the Church’s grounds for its refusal to countenance gay marriage are identical.”
He added: “It seems that, as in a cooling marriage, relations between Church and State have broken down.
“The gap between the values and practices of the two, which opened up with the legalisation of divorce, is now, thanks to the even more contentious issue of gay marriage, threatening to become a chasm.”
Earlier this month the Church of England warned that the Government’s plans to redefine marriage could trigger a constitutional crisis and end the 500-year link between church and state.
The Westminster Government wants to introduce same-sex marriage in England and Wales before 2015.
However, a petition supporting the current definition of marriage has already been signed by nearly 600,000 people. It is run by the Coalition for Marriage.