The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Christians urged to have say on gay marriage

MarriageCoupleMany Christians across Norfolk have joined the campaign against Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to legalise same-sex marriage with some church leaders urging others to follow suit. Keith Morris reports.
More than 390,000 people nationwide have signed a petition from the Coalition for Marriage calling on the Government to back down on their plans to redefine civil marriage laws so that the term can apply to civil unions between same-sex couples. There will be no change to religious marriage.
The Coalition for Marriage is an umbrella group of individuals and organisations in the UK and is backed by politicians, lawyers, academics and religious leaders. It claims to reach out to people of all faiths and none, who believe that marriage is the most successful partnership in history and should not be redefined.
The Evangelical Alliance is one of the partner organizations in the Coalition and its Director General, Steve Clifford, said: “The Christian view of marriage is in danger. With a small number of partner organisations, the Alliance has co-founded the Coalition for Marriage. This has been set up to fight proposals to introduce legislation that will redefine marriage as no longer being exclusively between a man and a woman. We need to show the governments and assemblies that this is a step too far in compromising biblical values that have blessed our society for so long.”
City Church pastor, Phil Thorne, from Norwich, is one of those backing the campaign: “In light of the determination of the Government to push through the redefinition of marriage, it would be fantastic if we and our churches could rise up and write to the Prime Minister and our MPs. This is a huge issue that could have devastating implications if we don't pray and act to stop it. 
“The public don't want this: 70% want to keep marriage as it is. Redefining marriage wasn't even a manifesto pledge of the Tories, the Lib Dems or Labour. There is no mandate for change; nobody voted for this.
“The Prime Minister urged Christians to rise up and be heard earlier this year and so we won't let the Government discourage us or silence us. We feel very, very strongly about this issue and our resolve to keep marriage with its current definition is greater than the Government realise. We believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Politicians should not play politics with marriage,” said Phil.
“We care deeply about future generations and want them to enjoy the benefits of marriage that past generations have enjoyed. We strongly believe that marriage is for the common good of society.”
Carleton Rode Baptist Church pastor, Mark Taylor, from South Norfolk, has also urged his congregation to sign the petition, and he is in consultation personally with Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk.
“I am convinced that this is a time to stand up and be watchmen to our nation - Ezekiel 33:1-7,” said Mark.

“If we fail to speak out the warning to repent and the people perish, their blood will be on our hands, but if we speak out and they fail to turn, they are responsible for their own demise.”

Although the leaders of majority churches, including Anglicans, Catholics and Free Churches oppose same-sex marriage, a number of Christian groups have expressed their support for the concept. They include the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. They are joined by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the thinktank Ekklesia and the Catholic group Quest.

Vicar of St Thomas Heigham in Norwich, Rev Philip Young, supports same-sex marriage. He said: " I won't be joining my brothers and sisters in opposing gay marriage. I rather think that love between two people is something to be celebrated and I would like to bless all those who have found such love whether they be of the opposite sex or the same sex. God is love and I think intolerance towards those who don't conform to the norm is a very dangerous route to go.
"God bless all love and if you want to campaign against something how about the fact that every day in our world people are dying from drinking dirty water?"

The government's consultation ends on June 14, have your say by clicking here


To find out more about the Coalition for Marriage and the petition visit: http://c4m.org.uk/


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