A new gay marriage group has been launched to speak on behalf of Christians who support the UK government’s plans.
Christians for Equal Marriage UK believe that despite the Anglican and Catholic churches’ fierce opposition, it is not impossible for Christians to back gay rights and same-sex marriage.
‘So many Christians are now moving away from the long-held traditional view of the church that marriage is only for heterosexual couples,’ explained the group’s founder, Nathan Hartley.
‘In fact, it’s taken the church a long time to accept that anyone who isn’t heterosexual is equal in the eyes of God and thus just as important as the next person.
‘I realised late last year that a new Christian group needed to be formed that contravened this traditional view when the majority of church leaders claimed to speak on behalf of all of us when voicing opinions on issues of sex and sexuality, when in fact they don’t.’
For many Christians, the belief is strongly held that the Bible discourages gay relationships, with more conservative Christians opposing homosexuality altogether.
Co-founder Tiggy Sagar does not share this view, but says while Christians for Equal Marriage UK will provide information on different ways of reading the Bible, they won’t be using scripture as a instrument for debate.
Sagar said: ‘Too often Christians and others use the Bible as a weapon during theological disputes, with some emphasising parts over others.
‘Many of the divisions in church history over the last 2,000 years have been fought using the Bible. That certainly isn’t our intention. We don’t want to add to an already divided church – rather we just want to express a view that others may not feel is being heard.’
The group believes that the current ban on gay marriage will in the future be viewed with the same level of contempt that prejudice against interracial partnerships are nowadays.
Aims of the group, which already has hundreds of followers on Facebook and Twitter, include giving Christians who support gay marriage a voice and lobbying the government to pass its proposed legislation.
‘We are a voice for those who feel unheard and a support network for those who feel marginalised,’ Hartley added.
‘There is nothing wrong with equal marriage – there can’t be when it illustrates inclusion, love and equality, all of which are universal Christian principles.
‘All voices in the church matter. We can no longer rely on church leaders to speak on our behalf; we need to do it for ourselves.’