The traditional concept of marriage was that it was a covenant between one man and one woman, we are now living in a time when social expectations and social norms are quite different. The state has legislated a different form of marriage in that it is no longer a covenant between a man and a woman but it is also a covenant with two people of the same sex. I am of the view that the biblical concept of marriage was that it was a sacrament laid down by God.
Many Christian denominations and other faiths are having to decide whether to retain their licences to conduct marriages or whether to give them up. If one decides to retain the licence to conduct weddings then one will have to conform to the Marriages Act 1949 and the relevant changes brought about by the Marriages Act 2013 as amended which now allows for same-sex wedding. In a report to the upcoming methodist conference the group tasked with looking at marriages and relationships have made various recommendations in regard to this. In that methodist churches should if accepted by conference be able to conduct not only same-sex weddings on Church premises but also same-sex blessings again in church premises. It is clear that those who hold to a traditional concept of marriage would be uncomfortable with these changes. Indeed there are a number of ministers in Holy orders who would not be prepared to sanction same-sex weddings in the church that they have pastoral oversight over. This is not to say that they have a bigoted view on these issues and should not be attacked for the views that they profess to hold. If there are Christian denominations and if there are other faith groups not happy with having to perform this type of service then I would suggest that they cease to perform any marriage whatsoever that way they cannot be accused of offending anybody. When you open a door people will go through it. There are serious discussions which Christian denominations must have in order to develop a standpoint on these issues. One thing is for sure we cannot change the biblical concept of marriage in that it is a covenant a sacrament laid down by God for the union of one man and one woman. I recognise that over time we have made it easier for that union to be dissolved and divorce is always regrettable however one should understand that it is far better to divorce than to see people unhappy for the rest of their lives. Clearly churches will have to have serious conversations with relevant parties on the way forward. Indeed there are some Ministers have said that they would rather retire than compromise their own long held belief on the traditional covenant of marriage. Whilst one recognises that the state has legislated in favour of same-sex weddings I think it should be left open to each Christian denomination to decide for itself whether they wish to conduct same-sex weddings on Church property. There should be no condemnation of any church that says we feel distinctly unhappy about this and we do not feel that we are at a stage where we can conduct this type of service.