Bishop of Truro 'personally against' same-sex marriage
The Government still has "very important questions" to answer on the "complex" issue of same-sex marriage, the Bishop of Truro has said.
The Right Reverend Tim Thornton spoke of his own views after co-chairing a meeting on the controversial subject with Truro and Falmouth Conservative MP Sarah Newton.
He said he was "personally against the idea" but added that the two sides "have to try and find a way forward".
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Bishop Tim said: "I welcome the safeguards as they were announced in the statement on same-sex marriage, which will mean that the Church of England will not be forced to perform ceremonies until – and unless – we have debated this matter carefully and thoroughly. I do think there are some very important questions that the Government still has to answer relating to this whole matter and I am sorry that it appears to be acting quickly in an area which is very complex and relates to institutions which are part of the fabric of our society."
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to press ahead with a commitment to change the law by 2015. Although formal proposals have not been tabled, MPs are to be given a free vote on the legislation.
A legal bar would prevent the Church of England from offering such ceremonies and no other religious organisation would be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Michael Langrish, has also spoken of his opposition to the Government's proposals.
Writing in the Western Morning News last month, the bishop said some in favour of the plans for same-sex marriage had wrongly cast the debate as a "faith issue".
"That is simply untrue," he said. "It is a societal issue, as it redefines marriage and that will have consequences for us all."
He concluded: "Whatever the humane desires and good intentions that may have led Mr Cameron to embark on this project, there are so many unanswered questions and unforeseen consequences that ought to suggest caution before serious damage is done to the very thing that has been so precious a part of our social fabric – the lifelong union of one man to one woman to the exclusion of all others for the creation and nurture of the generations to come.
"It is possible that what is created may not even end up fulfilling the hopes of those couples it was intended to serve."
Mr Cameron's pursuit of the legislation, and moving away from the party's "nasty image", has caused widespread dismay amongst grassroots Tories.
Giles Chichester, a Conservative MEP for the South West, criticised the Prime Minister for following "a fashionable liberal political agenda".