Marriage would be “abolished, redefined and recreated” under the Government’s same-sex marriage plans, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
Justin Welby, speaking in the House of Lords yesterday, warned that “confusion” was being created by the Bill, with fundamental aspects of marriage being “lost”, “diminished” or “weakened”.
He concluded: “Therefore, with much regret—but entire conviction—I cannot support the Bill as it stands.”
The Archbishop was speaking as the Lords debated the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. A vote is planned for later today.
In his comments Justin Welby noted that the Bill had arrived in the Lords “at great speed” and was “divisive”.
And he warned the legislation does not bring “true equality”, but rather “confusion”.
The Archbishop explained: “Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated, being different and unequal for different categories.
“The new marriage of the Bill is an awkward shape with same gender and different gender categories scrunched into it, neither fitting well.
“The concept of marriage as a normative place for procreation is lost. The idea of marriage as covenant is diminished.
“The family in its normal sense, predating the state and as our base community of society – as we’ve already heard – is weakened.”
Pointing out that the issue “is about the general social good”, rather than simply a faith issue, the Most Revd Welby concluded that he “cannot support the Bill as it stands”.
In his speech he also commented: “It is clearly essential that stable and faithful same sex relationships should, where those involved want it, be recognised and supported with as much dignity and the same legal effect as marriage.”
And the Archbishop expressed “sadness and sorrow” because he said the church “has often not served the LGBT communities in the way it should”.
Later today other Peers will speak in the debate, and, if passed, the Bill will then be considered in more detail at committee stage.