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Coptic Announcement on Same Sex Civil Marriage

by Joel Elowsky

I received the following press release from our friend Bp Angaelos in Britain concerning the Coptic church's stance on same sex marriage that is under discussion in Britain:

In response to the Government Equalities Office Consultation, The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom has stated that it cannot support the proposal relating to same-sex civil marriage, listing the following items for careful consideration: 

  1. While this current Consultation attempts to reassure by claiming that “the Government does not propose to open up religious marriage to same-sex couples”, the term ‘marriage’ in itself is one that has been utilised within a religious context for millennia, and applied to a sanctified and Sacramental union between a man and a woman. The mere redefinition of this term as proposed would indeed change the meaning as commonly defined and understood and would in turn place unnecessary pressure and expectation upon religious institutions to move in the same direction.
  2. There is no apparent benefit to society from the redefinition of marriage to incorporate ‘civil marriage’, as Civil Partnerships currently allow for equal rights and responsibilities. To alter this definition is to undoubtedly directly impact religious institutions, undermine the sanctity of marriage and infringe upon freedom of religious practice.
  3. From a legal perspective, the presence of potentially ambiguous laws and loose terminology surrounding this issue is likely to lead to an imposition on religious institutions, especially in considering the various recent rulings of the European courts on matters of state security, deportation and other such issues that have infringed upon practice within the United Kingdom.
  4. It must be noted that the use of inaccurate and emotive language referring to a “ban on same-sex marriage”, erroneously implies that such partnerships once existed and were then “banned”, and this is clearly not the case.

 His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom has said the following with regards to this matter:


“Marriage, as it stands, benefits society in many ways by being a monogamous loving relationship that allows for a wonderful union that potentially brings forth a new life, and celebrates the distinguishing and complementary differences between a man and a woman. ‘Marriage’ is by no means a term that discriminates but rather, distinguishes one type of union from another.”


To read the full response please visit or click here. For more information please contact:


Angela Mikhail


Media and Public Relations Officer 
The Coptic Orthodox Church UK 
Tel: +44 (0)207 1937076

Posted in Africa, Egypt

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