Skip to content

Archive site notice

You are viewing an archived copy of Christian Concern's website. Some features are disabled and pages may not display properly.

To view our current site, please visit

Same-sex 'marriages' will threaten religious freedom, warns Church of England

Printer-friendly version

The Church of England’s most senior official has warned that teachers and “people of faith” could face legal challenges if the government’s same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill is pushed through.

William Fittall, secretary-general of the General Synod, made the comments whilst giving evidence to the Public Bill Committee in the House of Commons which is currently scrutinising the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. 


Mr Fittal warned that the proposed legislation would have an array of unforeseeable consequences, and would lead to legal challenges against Christians who refuse to endorse same-sex ‘marriages’ – an issue that was not adequately addressed by the Bill. 

He added: “It is important not to underestimate the risk of litigation more generally in this area.”

“That’s not just in relation to the activities of religious organisations but people of faith. This is, like it or not, an area of culture wars.”

In a recent letter to the Prime Minister, leading human rights lawyer, Aidan O’Neill QC, warned that churches could be sued for refusing to perform same-sex ‘marriages’, whilst laws making it illegal for the Church of England to participate were “eminently challenge-able” in the European Court of Human Rights.


In a legal opinion for the Coalition for Marriage, Mr O’Neill warned that teachers and NHS chaplains who express a conscientious objection to same-sex ‘marriages’ were also at risk of being dismissed from their jobs.

A number of MPs have also expressed concern that the government’s same-sex 'marriage' Bill does not make adequate protection for those who oppose the changes on conscience or religious grounds.   

The Bill was approved during its second reading in a 400-175 vote last week, and is expected to reach the House of Lords in May.


The Telegraph

Related stories

Prime Minister feels backlash from Tory rebellion on same-sex ‘marriage’

Conservative MP seeks protection for workers who back current marriage definition

Adultery could be abolished following same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation

Same-sex marriage will threaten religious freedom, human rights lawyer warns PM

MPs and Peers launch campaign opposing same-sex ‘marriage’

Faith Minister concerned over Government’s same-sex ‘marriage’ plans

Peter Tatchell says protections for churches “open to legal challenge”