Before a large rally to support gay marriage, the openly gay Dean of St. Albans has declared that God is for gay marriage and that the Church of England is misguided in its views.
The Dean, Dr. Jeffrey John, is in a celibate civil partnership and in a new, widely criticized video posted on the pro-gay Out4Marriage campaign website, he insists Christian leaders do not have the correct attitude towards same-sex marriage.
"I am sad because the Church that I love and serve is opposing it, when it should be rejoicing at it," he said, adding: "And [I am] sad because the Church is meant is show Christ's face to the world and on this subject, it doesn't."
In a break from traditional evangelical Christian values, the Church of England in its current state allows homosexual priests, but they must remain celibate in observance of the Bible's teaching on sex outside marriage- an accommodation that does not have widespread support among Christians.
"Although it has become popular to quote Scripture grossly out of context to serve a personal or political agenda, it still doesn't change what God's Word clearly states," Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, said in a statement.
The Church of England claims that civil partnerships allow equal rights under current law without having to rewrite the definition of marriage and putting religious institutions in a possible compromising position. Although many Christians feel civil partnerships promote homosexuality, the Church of England is not opposed to them.
"It is not simply saying we have got to allow a civil partnership to happen," he said. "They have got a problem because the definition of marriage is in the 1662 prayer book and Article 30 of the Church of England, which are both Acts of Parliament," Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, explained.
The Church is officially opposed to Government plans to redefine marriage due to the fact that it would change the fundamental nature of marriage, possibly putting a core pillar of society to risk, but that does not seem to bother Dr. John, who feels that God would agree with him.
"If you are gay, then please understand that God made you as you are … I know that's true from my own experience and that's why I'm 'out for marriage', because I'm sure God is too," he explained.
However, the Church of England does not deny recognition of a person who is homosexual, but they are concerned with the larger impact of a corrosion of religious freedom.
"The present objective … is to ensure that the Regulations that the Government intends to make under the amended provisions of the Civil Partnership Act continue to provide unfettered freedom for each religious tradition to resolve these matters in accordance with its own convictions and its own internal procedures of governance," according to a statement by the Archbishops' Council and the Standing Committee of the House of Bishops.