The Church of England’s response to the Government’s proposals on gay marriage has been widely reported today. Despite some of the reports by the media, the full response appears to be rational, clearly argued and even to someone with no religious sympathies not without substance. Insofar, however, as the Church is worried that gay marriage will undermine its own status, I don’t suppose it can be shored up with gay divorce? After all isn’t it the Church of England that can trace its roots back to Henry VIII’s desire for a divorce.
One of the concerns is clearly that the Church of England’s role as the state Church will diminish. The role of the Anglican clergy includes performing marriage ceremonies for any eligible parishioners who seek such. The problem it fears is that if the law is changed and it then denies the right to marry in Church to a gay parishioner who otherwise fulfils all the other criteria, it may find itself at the wrong end of a Human Rights' challenge and ultimately lose its privileged position as the Church of state.
It is ironic that a state Church created by legislation to allow a king to divorce, could be ended by legislation to allow commoners to marry.