LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM – The former Archbishop of Canterbury has responded to the most prominent gay member of the British government, in a public battle over the Church of England’s positions on marriage equality and other gay rights issues.
Nick Herbert, a Conservative Member of Parliament and the Minister for Police and Criminal Justice, accused the Church last week of “intolerant” language, after Lord Carey—who reigned as Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the world’s Anglican Communion from 1991 to 2002— wrote in the Daily Telegraph (UK), “The Government’s fundamental interest in marriage should be confined to preserving an institution in which the raising of the next generation of citizens is stable and secure. Its interest in other kinds of relationship, though it may regard them as of equal esteem, has no pressing importance. To allow the state to interfere in this way in the institution of the family is to establish a very dangerous precedent.”
Herbert, 49—the highest-ranking LGBT person in the United Kingdom— said that he has never felt “more distant” from the Church than now, because of its stands on gay rights. Herbert, who is himself in a civil partnership, said that gay people will interpret Christian leaders’ comments as “judgmental or intolerant.” In a response in the Times of London , Carey said that supporters of “traditional marriage” are the ones facing judgment from gay rights advocates. “It is in fact the supporters of traditional marriage who have been accused of bigotry and homophobia—the kind of intolerant and judgmental language he talks about in his interview,” Carey said.