Over Objections of New Arch. of Cant., UK Okays Marriage Equality

When Justin Welby formally began his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday, he managed to pique the ire of lesbian and gay Anglicans and their allies in the UK by highlighting his opposition to marriage equality on the grounds that the matter is off-putting to the balance of the Anglican Communion outside of the UK, who remain forcefully committed to the notion that marriage is “between one man and one woman.” On Sunday, Conservative Anglicans around the UK encouraged parishioners to pray for the defeat of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.

Like those of so many American football fans, such prayers have proved futile. Today, British legislators voted, by a 225 majority (400 for, 175 opposed) to pass marriage equality legislation. The legislation allows churches to opt out of offering marriage ceremonies, which means that Welby will be able to continue to act out of a theological protectionism for conservative Anglicans, resisting what many Anglicans, including the Anglican Church in Canada and the Episcopal Church in the US, see as the prophetic calling of an engaged Christianity.

Elizabeth Drescher, PhD is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Pastoral Ministry at Santa Clara University. Her forthcoming book, Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of American Nones will be released by Oxford University Press later this year, and her writing on religion has appeared in The Atlantic Wire, AlterNet, The Washington Post, and other national publications. She is a consulting scholar at TheBTSCenter, where she edits the Bearings blog and, with Keith Anderson, is developing The Narthex.