|Photo Courtesy of Free-extras|
|St Andrews Cathedral. |
Photo courtesy Weddings NSW
Until the Marriage Act of 1753, there was no statutory requirement to register a marriage relationship and the government had little authority over the process of getting married. That Act introduced a requirement for the marriage to be conducted before a priest of the Church of England, with exceptions for Jews and Quakers. So began the process of government intervention in questions of marriage that continues to this day. With the passage of time the statute has continued to evolve, introducing celebrants and various restrictions over who can and can’t marry. Common law marriage, which the statute effectively replaced, has been slowly disappearing from most jurisdictions.
|Photo courtesy Wiki commons|
As Christian people we ought to recognize the authority of government and seek to live quietly in submission to ruling authorities: such is clear from Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17. At the same time, the book of Revelation encourages a healthy concern about what over-reaching authorities might do, and the difficulties that might bring upon Christian people. As Christian people we ought to be attentive to the debate about marriage equality, not only because of the Christian view of that institution, but also because of what it says about the government’s perception of its own authority.
Dr John Quinn is Dean of Residents at the New College Village