This time it is the Archbishop's Council, making its anti-equality statement, regarding marriage, whereas the mess on the legislation for women to become bishops is the responsibility of the House of Bishops.
The consultation of the government with the Church of England does not seem to extend to the Church of England consulting its own bodies of authority. Perhaps it has an authoritarian view of itself, at the top.
The position of the Church of England is that of, recently, the Archbishop of York. It is hyperbolic and the same strained nonsense. It merges its own doctrine of marriage with apparent social custom. But social custom shifts, and can do rapidly, and is doing. Even its own Book of Common Prayer is not as secure as it thinks for reasons of so-called complimentarity (do they mean plumbing?) as it gives reasons for marriage that would support gay marriage. Thus the dubious document of response quotes Common Worship instead.
It says the government is confusing religious ceremony and civil ceremony as different marriages, whereas there is one marriage. But then one marriage comes about through social custom, and that custom is by consent, and that consent is changing. You might be fooled that doctrine carries objective truth, but there is no objective truth in social custom.
The Church never welcomed civil partnerships, and it says these are enough to maintain legal equalities. But it is not about legal equalities but social custom!
If the Church wants unique access to maintain its religious route to social and legal custom, then it has to change. Otherwise it has to be a private provider of marriage ceremonies and to those for which it discriminates. It can say it will provide for any heterosexuals connected with a local church in a church, and to no homosexuals regardless. But then it must cease to be the State Church.
Its argument should be that it provides true marriage and does so via the religious route of its own believing, according to doctrine, and it happens by social custom not to marry those married by civil means, even if that is an inadequate method to marry. In other words, it ought to be honest that the ceremony does matter and is, in fact, crucial.
But already someone with a Civil Partnership cannot also marry, so someone with such a Partnership cannot marry in Church. So the Civil Partnership clearly does impinge on marriage and is not some other legal tidying-up nicety. But if the Church married people privately, it could do so, dismissing other forms of partnership that it regards as irrelevant from the point of view of emotional partnership forming. That is, the Civil Partnership is not simply some means to make forming a will easier or conveniently tying up some legal knots, but the Church could imagine that it is for its own purposes. It can do that if it is not connected with the State.
It is all the sociology and theology too of institutionalised homophobia. It doesn't really see Civil Partnerships properly: it regards them as legal niceties that may or may not have some emotional aspect. It won't offer blessings for Civil Partnerships even though they are part of the State and social custom.
The statement has been explosive, with an immediate 'Not in my name' campaign started.
It seems to me that as a society we should allow social custom to evolve (if rapidly at present) and to do this have marriage available to couples regardless, and also Civil Partnerships available to couples regardless. The latter could then develop its own definitions, particularly based around friendship and a different level of emotional association and be an agreement about sharing. Marriage implies a stronger unit and bonding, and indeed involves personal resources. Religious bodies could provide ceremonies for marriage and indeed for partnerships, as they see fit, but these are registered with the State.
If a Church does not care for social custom as it develops, then it should stop trying to serve it. The Church of England ought to be disestablished. A body that is homophobic (and cannot even raise women to equal leadership) ought to be removed from its legal connections with the State when it has found itself at such a distance from the State and social custom. In any case, the notion of establishment seems very archaic and irrelevant. We can choose our religions and religious ceremonies, thank you very much.