UK Speaker: Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Be ‘Proper’ Until Churches Can’t Opt Out
In a shocking attack on religious freedom and even property rights, the speaker of Britain's House of Commons argued that the country won't have "proper equal marriage" until churches are unable to turn away requests to host a same-sex marriage.
"I still feel we'll only have proper equal marriage when you can bloody well get married in a church if you want to do so, without having to fight the church for the equality that should be your right," John Bercow, the Commons speaker, declared at a PinkNews reception in July.
Britain legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, but Bercow suggested that the LGBT issue will not be settled until churches are unable to refuse to host such weddings. "We don't want to behave like it's all over, everything's been done and nothing remains, because that isn't true," he added.
This statement proved particularly revealing, in light of religious freedom struggles in the United States and the forthcoming vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia. Other events in Britain at the time also revealed the inherent struggle between the LGBT movement and the freedom of churches to host the weddings they choose to bless.
Bercow's statement came one month after Tim Farron resigned from leading the Liberal Democratic Party because the British press had launched a kind of inquisition into his Christian faith. Farron, who supported legalizing same-sex marriage, was nevertheless accorded suspicion, and reporters badgered him on whether he thought homosexual activity is a sin.
"The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader," Farron wrote at the time. "To be a political leader — especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 — and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me."
Chillingly, he concluded: "I joined our party when I was 16, it is in my blood, I love our history, our people, I thoroughly love my part. Imagine how proud I am to lead this party. And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honor. In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something 'so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all'" (emphasis added).
For a politician who supported same-sex marriage to write those words is nothing less than astounding. Did he know that the very right to hold a belief against homosexual activity — in the church itself — was under assault in Britain?
Yet another British politician, Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening, said that Christian churches need to "keep up with modern attitudes" on same-sex marriage.