My late father, a priest in that established church, would most likely have raged against this display of preference for retained state power, over love… Maybe it would have been a final tipping point that made him quit and join Friends, the Quakers being an organisation he had grown increasingly fond of as he grew deafer.
…But then one half of him was most definitely stuck well into establishment as a good idea and even in retirement he did not escape his professional defensiveness of a hierarchical priesthood.
He had been an enthusiast for my membership of the Religious Society of Friends, and enjoyed my “Intrinsically different wedding” many years ago.
15 minutes into a silent meeting, I stood and declared my love, as did my wife, and there was no priest to say anything about it… just the gathered meeting with friends and family spontaneously wishing us well.
That is intrinsically different to the “established church of King Henry’s divorce needs”, way of doing things. So much so that, in the early days, Quaker brides and bridegrooms were thrown in jail for going against the established church way. Everyone signing the marriage certificate was also arrested, which is where the tradition started of EVERY attendee at the service signing their name on the certificate, no room in the jails for that many.
Now Quakers are themselves in many ways established. The weddings have long been legal and uncontroversial, as is the right to affirm and not swear an oath marking two different standards of truth… Quakers have also accepted the need to change with the progress of mankind. It is in this light that they have made it very clear that they wish to grant equal status to gay marriages, deciding there is no loving way to deal with this issue other than by “celebrating equality”.
…and once again the Established Church is stuck in a bygone era, not examining its supposedly loving heart, but desperately trying to protect itself and its power base from its many faceted homophobic core.
However the many clergy spokesmen try to disguise this, it is ultimately homophobia, and the heritage of Leviticus, that they dredge up from their collective subconscious. It is the same with all adherence to creeds from primitive, ritualistic dogma worshippers – a preference to be the power-crazed living dead rather than embrace human progress in morality and equality.
If they wish to be seen as Zombies for their determination to live in a dead era, so be it. Marriage is not what they insist it is, it is an essential requirement of equality that we can all embrace it hand in hand – with rings on third fingers if so desired…