How My Mind Has Changed

How I changed my mind about same-sex marriage

It began when I realized the church has always had a process for changing its mind.

One major thing I have changed my mind about over the last decade is same-sex marriage. This is true of a lot of people. In fact, it is true of the majority of those who are now in favor of it.

I should say, for clarity, that I am an English Anglican. This means that I am a member of a church that still doesn’t recognize marriage between two men or two women and that has had an exception carved out in English law to permit it to go on taking this position. But I am also a citizen of a country in which a Conservative government moved un­ambiguously to make the change nearly a decade ago and where same-sex marriage has settled swiftly into place as a new normal. That is, same-sex marriage is still contentious in my church but not much in my society.

There has been such an extraordinarily swift change in perception that it is difficult now to recall what the old normal felt like—to the dereliction, I think, of charity where argument and campaigning over the issue still go on. The speed of the shift ought to mean that we treat those who are still opponents with the care and presumption of goodwill that our past selves would have liked to receive when we thought the same. Instead, it has become possible to shun and caricature opponents, to treat them as bizarre outsiders to a self-evident moral consensus.