As the battle over marriage heats up in the U.K., one national church has taken an official stand against equating homosexual partnerships with traditional marriage. In response to a government consultation with Scottish religious institutions as to whether homosexual marriage should be legalized, the Church of Scotland issued a statement declaring that it “cannot agree that the law in Scotland should be changed to allow same-sex marriage. The Government’s proposal fundamentally changes marriage as it is understood in our country and our culture — that it is a relationship between one man and one woman.”
In its statement the church pointed out that it “has always viewed marriage as being between one man and one woman. Scriptural references to marriage, whether literal or metaphorical, all operate under this understanding.” It warned that a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships “may have significant and, as yet, inadequately considered repercussions for our country, for the well-being of families, communities and individuals.”
While on its face the statement appeared to affirm a strong commitment by the Church of Scotland for traditional marriage, it nonetheless seemed to leave open the possibility that the church’s position could evolve over time. “The Church of Scotland is concerned about the speed with which the Scottish Government is proceeding on this issue,” the statement clarified. Noting that the government proposal was an effort to accommodate the wishes of same-sex couples, the church said that “much more measured consideration is required before the understanding of marriage which is entrenched and valued within the culture of Scotland, both secular and religious, is surrendered to accommodate this wish.”
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