Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York has called on David Cameron not to legalise gay marriage. According to the Archbishop of York, marriage must remain the unification between a man and a woman, and David Cameron will be acting similar to a “dictator” if he gives the permission for homosexual couples to wed.
During an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, expresses his views to ministers that they should not claim superiority over the Bible and tradition by consenting same-sex marriage.
The Government will open a discussion on the issue in March and the Prime Minister has pointed out that he wants it to be a crucial fragment of his leadership. However, the Archbishop says it is not the duty of the government to give a new meaning to marriage, threatening a new row between the Church and state just days after bishops in the House of Lords led a successful insurgence over plans to limit benefits.
According to Dr Sentamu, “Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.
“We’ve seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don’t want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way.
“It’s almost like somebody telling you that the Church, whose job is to worship God [will be] an arm of the Armed Forces. They must take arms and fight. You’re completely changing tradition.”
It was generally believed that the Church would have to consent to same-sex marriage for fright of giving the impression they are out of touch. Dr Sentamu says the bishops in the House of Lords did not attempt to stop Labour introducing civil partnerships in 2004; giving homosexual couples enhanced legal rights.
The Church accepts clergy who are in civil relationships but expects them to be celibate. The Archbishop says the Church was also satisfied with last year’s move to permit civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship, as long as it is voluntary and agreed by the governing body of any particular denomination.
But Dr Sentamu is against the homosexual civil marriage plan, and says the Government would encounter a rebellion on any modifications in legislation. His involvement may serve as a supporting cry for traditionalist Tories who oppose Mr Cameron’s plan.
“The rebellion is going to come not only from the bishops,” he says. “You’re going to get it from across the benches and in the Commons.
“If you genuinely would like the registration of civil partnerships to happen in a more general way, most people will say they can see the drift. But if you begin to call those ‘marriage’, you’re trying to change the English language.”
“That does not mean you diminish, condemn, criticise, patronise any same-sex relationships because that is not what the debate is about.
“The Church has always stood out – Jesus actually was the odd man out. I’d rather stick with Jesus than be popular because it looks odd.”
Dr Sentamu, in Jamaica to mark its 50 years of independence, also says the Church’s leadership needs to become less middle class.
The Telegraph – Photo Credit: The UK Telegraph.