(RNS) Bishops in the Church of England, who had strenuously opposed a bid to allow same-sex marriage, signaled that they won’t try to derail the bill after an overwhelming vote of support in the House of Lords.

Church of England spokesman Steve Jenkins said that in the same way the church will eventually allow women bishops, England will eventually allow same-sex marriage.

“It doesn’t mean the Church of England is happy, but that’s where our government is going,” Jenkins said. “Now it’s about safeguarding people’s right to hold religious beliefs.”

The Right Rev. Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester who leads the bishops in the House of Lords, issued a statement on Wednesday (June 5), one day after the parliament’s upper house voted 390-148 against an amendment to kill the gay marriage bill.

“Both houses of Parliament have now expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales,” Stevens said.

The bill will now go into committee where bishops — who hold 26 seats in the upper chamber — will attempt to insert amendments to add protections for teachers or other workers who object on religious grounds. The bill passed the House of Commons on a vote of 366 to 161.

Other observers cautioned against reading too much into the Church of England’s move, saying it is just part of the political process.

“I think it’s been over reported that the church has given in,” said Chris Sugden, an Anglican minister and secretary of the traditionalist group Anglican Mainstream. “It’s as if the church is saying, ‘We don’t approve of gambling, but if there are going to be betting shops, they would put an amendment to say they should not be near schools.’”

The statement by Stevens still notes the redefinition of marriage. “If this bill is to become law, it is crucial that marriage as newly defined is equipped to carry within it as many as possible of the virtues of the understanding of marriage it will replace,” Stevens said.

The bishop’s statement is subtle enough that the bishops could end up voting against the bill once it comes out of committee, says the Rev. Peter Ould, a commentator and Anglican priest.

“I wouldn’t put it past the bishops to say we didn’t get what we wanted so we are going to vote no,” Ould said. “The underlying tone of the statement is that this bill isn’t good. It needs to be improved.”

The bishop’s move comes a few days after the head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said the redefinition of marriage would undermine a cornerstone of society.

The current legislation bans the established Church of England from conducting gay marriage ceremonies.



  1. I’ve been a Quadriplegic since 1974 due to a motorcycle accndeit. I spent 9 months in RNSH initially, and have needed to return for different reasons, procedures, clinics and operations ever since. Probably averageing about 3 or 4 visits a year for 36 years.Over that period I have experienced many changes, some good, but lately more often bad. The nurseing staff have allways been the best thing about the place, but the last few years it’s become obvious their workload has increased.Parking has never been good, but now it’s worse and we pay for it.When I was recovering from my initial accndeit (9 months in the spinal ward) the nurses could wheel us patents outside into the open gardens in the sun, which when your contemplating your life with an ongoing health condition of any kind, has a huge effect on your mental ability to come to terms with your situation, but I’m hearing that there will be limited or no open spaces in the new hospital.Twice over the years I’ve been told by Registrars training here from other countrys that’s a common procedure where they’re from and they will talk to their boss and see what will be done, only to be told weeks later that it’s been declined. When pushed for a reason why it comes down to funding. FUNDING!!! There seemed to be more funding when there was less administrators! I hope the administrators can’t afford private health insurance when they’re sick.I’ve noted that the number of Private hospitals in Sydney has increased, so I’m wondering where the staff for these will be trained? Or will we just import them too?I’m currently copeing with torn shoulder muscles, which isn’t ideal when pushing a wheelchair. I’m told that it’s not to late to have a shoulder reconstruction, but at this point I’ve been waiting 3 weeks to be given an appointment for an MRI. 3 weeks dispite numerous calls to the booking office. still waiting.I was referred to an urologist back in Febuary but could not get an appointment to seehim till June! still waiting.The western suburbs are rapidly growing and to even suggest the hospitals limited surrounding land should be sold is simply shortsighted or posiblilly even criminal.Who’s bright idea was that? A politician or an administrator. their name should be made public.Continually we’re promised better funding for hospitals by each government (even the latest) .Still Waiting!!!

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