The Government would be “playing with fire” if it goes ahead with its contentious plans to redefine marriage, the Bishop of Oxford has warned.
Rt Revd John Pritchard said: “It is not up to society or the Government to define marriage at will.”
He added: “It is God’s primary intention for males and females to live together in that permanent relationship.
“We would be playing with fire in changing that definition.”
The Bishop said that he was supportive of civil partnerships but that redefining marriage “wouldn’t add anything” to the rights of same-sex couples.
Earlier this week a new poll revealed that 70 per cent of people agree that marriage should remain a “life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”.
The ComRes poll also revealed that 84 per cent of respondents agreed that “children have the best chance in life if raised by their own mother and father in a stable, committed relationship”.
Also this week the former Bishop of Rochester said that preserving marriage as a union between one man and one woman is in the interests of the “wider good of society”.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali also affirmed the Church’s right to defend marriage, warning that the issue is a matter of significance.
“The Church is not in this to protect its own interest, it is in this discussion for the sake of wider society in this country generally,” he said.