UK government cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt has called on the Church of England to wed same-sex couples in an unprecedented act of interference in church matters by a sitting UK government official.
Mordaunt, who serves as Leader of the House of Commons, urged the Church of England — which is headed by King Charles III — to recognise same-sex marriages ahead of a vote on the issue among the bishops of the church.
Ms Mordaunt addressed her demands to the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Frost, posting a letter to the bishop on Twitter on Sunday, the Telegraph reports.
“I want all of my constituents and others to be able to have the right to have their relationships solemnised in their local parish in England,” Mordaunt said and added, “It is some time now since Parliament legislated for civil partnerships and then same-sex marriage. Since then, both the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the Church of Scotland have agreed to offer same-sex marriage, and the Church in Wales plans to do so soon.”
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“The issue has been under discussion within the Church of England for a long time. Whilst not a reason in itself, I fear that if it is not resolved at next month’s General Synod the matter will continue to fester and detract from the positive contribution the Church of England makes to our society,” she added.
The letter is the first time a sitting cabinet minister has made such demands to the Church of England, which despite having clergy who sit in the House of Lords, are rarely interfered with by elected governments.
Mordaunt’s demands come ahead of the General Synod, which is expected to discuss the topic of same-sex marriage after bishops present findings to determine whether the current ban on same-sex unions will be abolished or kept.
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Mordaunt has been criticised for her woke views in the past by Free Speech Union head Toby Young, who stated last July, “just flicking through Penny Mordaunt’s book. Glowing foreword by Bill Gates, full of praise for China, relentless promotion of the LGBTQ+ agenda, wants to ditch the MBE and OBE, thinks more ‘hate speech’ should be censored… Great pitch for the leadership… of the Labour Party.”
Same-sex marriage has been a hotly contested issue not just in the Church of England but in the global Anglican Communion in recent years, along with other issues such as the ordination of female priests and bishops.
Last year the Anglican Communion held the Lambeth Conference, a conference normally held every ten years, although the last conference was held in 2008.
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While the 2022 conference saw the invitation of same-sex married bishops for the first time it also saw more traditional Anglican bishops from African countries like Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda refuse to attend.
Bishop Williams Aladekugbe of Nigeria’s Ibadan North Anglican Diocese stated that a formal separation from the Anglican Communion was more likely than ever saying, “If they don’t worship God the way we worship him, if they don’t believe in what we believe in… let us divide (and) we go our own way.”
Meanwhile, the Church of England is dwindling in active parishioners, with the UK census revealing last year that both England and Wales are no longer majority-Christian, the Anglican church in Africa remains strong with 55 per cent of all Anglicans living in Africa in 2008.
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