As readers are no doubt aware, the Danish government has just decided that it can issue orders to the Evangelical Lutheran Church - namely, that the church must permit same-sex couples to marry in its buildings, with clergy officiating. Individual clergy may decline to participate, but in that case a bishop must arrange a replacement.
In England, the government has also moved towards passing legislation that would have a similar effect. The Telegraph reports:
The Church's formal response to the Coalition's same-sex marriage plans dismisses them as “divisive”, “legally flawed” and “essentially ideological”.
The Church of England has suggested that priests could be forced to marry homosexual couples in churches by the European Court of Human Rights despite assurances that they will be exempt.
The warnings came as the Church released its own legal analysis as part of its formal response to the consultation on Coalition’s plans to redefine marriage.
Dr Sharon James, a spokesperson from the Coalition for Marriage, said that they were "concerned that if same-sex marriage is introduced then courts could use equalities legislation to force religious premises and ministers to conduct same-sex marriages."
There's more at the link.
That's what happens when you allow a government to regulate who may marry whom. That's also what happens when you have State-approved and/or -supported churches (as are both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark and the Church of England in that country). State support for anything ultimately boils down to State control of that thing, be it what you eat, what you drive, what you wear, who you marry, or what you believe.
As I've said before, I think the answer is to for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether (and out of the religion business too!). Let people decide for themselves what they want to believe, and who they want to marry, and how they want to do both. Who needs politicians and bureaucrats making those decisions for us, anyway?