Gay marriage and the church

Letters
‘David Cameron wanted to “fast track” gay marriage.’ Photograph: isitsharp/Getty Images

Priscilla Bench-Capon blames the then government for exempting the Anglican church from the legal obligation to offer same-sex marriage (Letters, 25 May). It was more complex than that. Since its inception in Tudor times, the established church has been forbidden to have canon law contrary to the secular law of the land. David Cameron wanted to “fast track” gay marriage, not fully appreciating that the process for amending canon law was lengthy and complex. He was heading for a constitutional crisis, because the church had not even been consulted in advance let alone embarked on discussing the necessary legislative change. The alternatives were to kick the issue into the long grass while the church debated and caught up (or not), disestablish the church (which would have clogged up the legislative programme for many years), or offer an exemption. The third option was a pragmatic decision.
Martin Sewell
Member of General Synod, Gravesend

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