BRITAIN: On Eve Of Legal Gay Marriage, Church Of England Softens On Issue

The Guardian reports that the Church Of England has softened its stance on same-sex marriage, which becomes legal in England and Wales at midnight today.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled that the Church of England will mount no more resistance to gay marriage among churchgoers. “I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it’s the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.” Justin Welby told the Guardian. His comments mark a shift in tone, if not substance, from a letter from the bishops last month that attempted to forbid the clergy from marrying same-sex partners, and which led to a furious backlash from supporters. At least seven clergy couples are preparing to marry in defiance of their bishops, though none are known to be planning a public ceremony.

Several gay couples are vying to be the first to marry tonight by timing their vows to be completed just seconds after midnight. (Tipped by JMG reader Eric)