Berkhamsted vicar defies Church to support gay weddings

editorial image

A VICAR had defended government proposals for same-sex marriage against the official policy of his own Church.

Prime Minister David Cameron had proposed to make the change law by the next general election in 2015.

The Church of England says this would undermine its status by altering ‘the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman’.

Despite government pledges that churches would not be forced to marry gay couples, the Church fears this could be challenged in European courts.

But Michael Bowie, Anglican vicar at St Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted High Street, described the stance as “disappointing and legalistic”.

In an emailed newsletter, he writes: “As usual we are seen to be providing a mean-spirited reaction to something that our society sees as not only acceptable but just.

“It appears to the world that ‘morality’, for us, is about sex and nothing more.

“This is a tragedy, both for those we marginalise, and for the Christian faith.”

The Bible does not explicitly say marriage is only for men and a women, he writes.

He told the Gazette: “I am in favour of gay marriage.

“I think the Church should be seen to support, affirm and bless people in committed relationships.

“It is quite clear from the legislation that priests would have the opportunity to opt out of same-sex marriages, like they do for remarrying divorced people at the moment.

“Besides, why would any two people want a priest to marry them who does not want to marry them?”

He questioned the authority of the Church of England’s stance: “The General Synod has never debated this.”

He plans to raise the matter at the next meeting of the Diocese of St Albans Synod on Thursday, October 25.