The Church of England Faith and Order Commission has issued a study document on marriage, which from its title to its conclusion appears to be a solidification of the status quo. I hope to return to a closer examination and commentary in the near future, but for the time being, I will simply note its concluding paragraph seems to me to reach an unsupported conclusion. It ends:
50. ...The reality of marriage between one man and one woman will not disappear as the result of any legislative change, for God has given this gift, and it will remain part of our created human endowment. But the disciplines of living in it may become more difficult to acquire, and the path to fulfilment, in marriage and in other relationships, more difficult to find.Why marriage equality should make the "disciplines of living" within traditional "marriage" more difficult to acquire does not seem to be immediately apparent. I have long argued that marriage equality may help all marriages to become better and more secure, by offering a model not based on the "traditional" and inherently asymmetrical mode in which the man relates to the woman as Lord — which is, after all, only an analogy introduced by Paul in an effort to understand the nature of the church — but upon the more deeply Christian understanding of a union of hearts and minds between equals.
I will note that the "complementarity" argument that has arisen in recent years has been a somewhat revisionist movement to try to accommodate a more "equalist" notion with the inherently unequal Pauline articulation. This argument fails on numerous grounds, which I've addressed in detail elsewhere. Suffice it here to say that any two people can be in relationship with each other, regardless of their sex. Like it or not, marriage equality is a fact, and its influence can be rejected as unhelpful, or used for what it can teach even mixed-sex couples of the true virtues of Christian life.
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG