This week, Anglican Bishop Alan Wilson, who has served as the Bishop of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford for the Church of England since 2003, recorded a video as part of Out 4 Marriage, a British campaign that encourages prominent individuals to express their support for the freedom to marry. In the video, Wilson explains that the Church of England has typically been ahead of the curve on opposing discrimination against gay and lesbian people, but that on the issue of marriage, the Church is far behind.
Bishop Wilson, who is a married father of five, explains that respecting marriages between same-sex couples may actually enrich the institution of marriage, not diminish it as so many conservative religious people in England have claimed. Wilson explains:
In over thirty-three years of ordained ministry, it's been an amazing joy to help people celebrate their marriages - not a piece of paper, but a way of life. Marriage enriches society and strengthens community. It makes God's love visible in a broken world - it's good news for everyone. I don't think the Church has anything to fear from formally recognizing love like that for what it is.
In the United Kingdom, same-sex couples may currently enter into "civil partnerships," which provide some, but not all, of the protections that marriage provides. In the past few months, many high-profile British figures, including current Prime Minister David Cameron and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, have wholeheartedly advocated for a law to establish the freedom to marry in the country.
Bishop Wilson joined those British voices with his passionate and moving video. The video is an example of how many people of faith are guided by their religion to support - rather than reject - the freedom to marry. Bishop Wilson supports love and wants people to foster that love for themselves and their families. He says:
Love is the fulfilling of the law - God is love, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. That's why I'm out for marriage.