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Church of England waves white flag on marriage equality

LONDON -- With same-gender marriage looming on the horizon for England and Wales, pending final approval by the House of Lords in Parliament, the venerable Church of England has abruptly given up the fight to stop the bill from becoming law in England and Wales.

The Church of England issued a terse statement late Wednesday, saying that it would work on improving marriage and acknowledging the overwhelming support by both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, which make up Parliament.

This is the same Church of England that was declaring that same-gender marriage was the biggest threat to the Church since the reign of Henry VIII. This is the same Church whose leader, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, declared that same-gender marriage would undermine society.

In the statement, the Right Rev. Tim Stevens, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual and the Bishop of Canterbury, said the bishops would join with politicians to fine-tune the 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.

“It is now the duty and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to recognise the implications of this decision and to join with other members in the task of considering how this legislation can be put into better shape.”

Stevens implied that the bishops would insist on maximum protection for religions that will refuse to conduct same-gender marriages.