Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ during these days of the fast of our fathers the apostles.
As you will undoubtedly know, a government consultationon on same-sex marriage has been conducted, and the period for submission of comments and representations comes to an end today. Over the past months I have been contacted and approached by many within our own community who are very disturbed about this matter and its expected implications.
For this reason please find attached and below our statement submitted to the Government Equalities Office as well as the press release we issued earlier today. I thought that you would like to both see and potentially share this with others of our community and beyond to to reassure them of our involvement in the process and our position on this matter.
On a separate note, over these coming days we also pray for Egypt through the presidential elections, and for our own Church as we seek God’s hand to choose a good and faithful shepherd for us.
Asking your prayers for our common witness, I leave you in the love and care of our gracious Lord.
+Anba Angaelos+Anba Angaelos
For immediate use and circulation
Date: 14th June 2012
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK
Media and Public Relations Office
In response to the Government Equalities Office Consultation, The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom has stated that it cannot support the proposal relating to same-sex civil marriage, listing the following items for careful consideration:
- While this current Consultation attempts to reassure by claiming that “the Government does not propose to open up religious marriage to same-sex couples”, the term ‘marriage’ in itself is one that has been utilised within a religious context for millennia, and applied to a sanctified and Sacramental union between a man and a woman. The mere redefinition of this term as proposed would indeed change the meaning as commonly defined and understood and would in turn place unnecessary pressure and expectation upon religious institutions to move in the same direction.
- There is no apparent benefit to society from the redefinition of marriage to incorporate ‘civil marriage’, as Civil Partnerships currently allow for equal rights and responsibilities. To alter this definition is to undoubtedly directly impact religious institutions, undermine the sanctity of marriage and infringe upon freedom of religious practice.
- From a legal perspective, the presence of potentially ambiguous laws and loose terminology surrounding this issue is likely to lead to an imposition on religious institutions, especially in considering the various recent rulings of the European courts on matters of state security, deportation and other such issues that have infringed upon practice within the United Kingdom.
- It must be noted that the use of inaccurate and emotive language referring to a “ban on same-sex marriage”, erroneously implies that such partnerships once existed and were then “banned”, and this is clearly not the case.
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom has said the following with regards to this matter:
“Marriage, as it stands, benefits society in many ways by being a monogamous loving relationship that allows for a wonderful union that potentially brings forth a new life, and celebrates the distinguishing and complementary differences between a man and a woman. ‘Marriage’ is by no means a term that discriminates but rather, distinguishes one type of union from another.”
Media and Public Relations Officer
The Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Tel: +44 (0)207 1937076
Media and Public Relations Office
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre
Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Hertfordshire SG2 8NP
England, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 (0)207 1937076
Fax: +44 (0)1438 313879