The change I most want to see enacted in the Church of England is the overturning of the quadruple lock and the revision of the Canons to enable equal marriages to be solemnised in church by licensed clergy – equal marriage being the outcome when marriage ceases to be defined as exclusively between a man and a woman. Some call it same-sex or inclusive marriage. As a man married to another man myself, I call it equal marriage. This is the future hope for LGBTI people that conservative organisations are determined to resist. It’s the issue that the Living in Love and Faith process needs to resolve.
But this “unbiblical” future conservatives are determined to resist is an already present reality in the Church of England. It is not something to be discussed as a future possibility, to be concerned about and defended against. The Church of England already embraces equal marriage because congregations and Christian families embrace their equally married lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex brothers and sisters. We are present and many are fully and deeply involved as members of the choir, altar servers, flower arrangers, Alpha groups, PCC, Deanery and Diocesan Synods and General Synod.
The hierarchy and many members of the Living in Love and Faith process are in denial, continuing to think and act as if equal marriage is not an already present reality in the church.
They can do nothing to prevent what has already taken place. I hope conservatives read this and pay attention to the present reality, reflect on the options they have, and consider the impossibility of attaining what they think is God’s unchallengeable will. The challenged has already taken place and the transformation is well under way.
Andrew Foreshew-Cain, another equally married priest, has written about his hope for the ultimate goal of full equality in marriage and ministry on ViaMedia news. In every conversation, in every debate, in every way possible we must keep making our point that the current situation is ‘unsustainable and unjust’.
Legally, the current situation is unsustainable and unjust. The reality is that equal marriage is already recognised as the reality in congregations in every diocese. The people of the Church of England live the change – we wait for the hierarchy and bureaucrats to catch up..
I await amendment of the canons and a petition from General Synod to Parliament to remove the quadruple lock - after, of course, the 2020 Lambeth Conference is safely out of the way and the stable door has been firmly bolted.