Government sources have confirmed that the response to the equal marriage consultation will be published next week. Culture secretary Maria Miller is due to announce the government’s response to the gay marriage consultation on Thursday. It will propose legislation to allow marriage for same-sex couples and also allow churches in England and Wales to conduct ceremonies. Reports say the government plans to fast track legislation in the new year in order to prevent any disagreements rumbling on until 2015.
I expect religious organisations will have the right to refuse to marry same gender couples and to instruct their ministers not to do so anywhere. No doubt, with an evangelical archbishop of Canterbury and an extremely puritanical house of laity at general synod, the Church of England will be doing just that. But those who are worried that priests will just ignore such orders for conscientious reasons are right to be worried. Priests will. The Church of England will turn a blind eye to this because the last thing they will want is a test case being taken to the European Court of Human Rights. Same gender couples will be "properly" and openly married in Church of England parish churches, albeit unofficially and strictly contrary to the canons of the church, within the next few years and it will soon become commonplace. I didn't think it would happen in my lifetime. God I wish I still had a job.