Sheffield bishop speaks out over gay marriage plans

Bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft
Bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft

The Bishop of Sheffield has spoken out over Government proposals about gay marriage saying the plans represent a ‘fundamental change’ to a ‘very, very important’ social institution.

The Rt Rev Steven Croft was speaking after the Church of England said gay marriage threatened the establishment of the Church and could lead to it being forced out of conducting weddings on behalf of the state. The Church of England said introducing same-sex marriage would lead to an unprecedented clash between its own canon law – that marriage is between a man and a woman – and that of Parliament.

Speaking to the BBC, the bishop said: “Whilst this is being presented as a kind of minor extension to what marriage means, actually, from the point of view of the Church and of society, it is a really, really fundamental change to an institution which has been at the core of our society for hundreds of years and which for the Church is not a matter of social convention but of Christian doctrine and teaching.

“One in four marriages in England are performed by the Church of England and that proportion is rising.

“In every marriage service the priest begins the service by spelling out what marriage is – a union between one man and one woman with the intention of it being lifelong.

“It is really important to register back to the Government this is not a minor change, this is a fundamental change to a very, very important social institution.”