Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Marriage

book cover

Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Marriage: Squaring the Circle (2020)

Author(s): Clare Herbert

Format: Paperback

ISBN-13: 9781785925702

Amazon UK: Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Marriage

Language: English

Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming

Genre(s): Academic writing, Contemporary Christian practice and experience, Ethics, and Theology

Topic(s): Biblical studies, Equal marriage, Ethics, Inclusive Christianity, Liberation Theology, Marriage and relationships, Queer theology, and Same-sex relationships

Especially suitable for: Theological educators, Clergy, and Therapists and pastors

A transformative exploration of queer theology and the debate around same-sex marriage within the Church. Clare Herbert draws on her experience as a priest within the Church of England in a committed same-sex relationship and considers the questions that have shaped religious debate for many years.


“Committed, honest and searching – every single priest, bishop, pastoral carer and theological educator in the Church of England should read this.” — Nicola Slee

“In her new book, Clare Herbert is trying to push the Church of England’s all-too-familiar conversation on same-sex relationships into new territory. Instead of setting the authority of particular biblical texts against the integrity of personal experience, the author wants the Church to look at the unique experience of same-sex couples through the lens of ‘queer theology’. She wants to square the unproductive circle of current debates.

“Herbert’s style is not polemical. She sensitively explores the relationships of 13 gay and lesbian Christian couples in civil partnerships in order to see what their experience tells us about committed same-sex love between thoughtful, articulate Christians who bring their faith fully into their relationships.

“The author starts by telling us how her own experience motivated her for the research that she undertook. She then identifies the sacramental quality of the research participants’ civil partnerships and considers how they point towards an enriched theology of marriage.

“This leads Herbert to the heart of the book, where she invites us to grapple with what to many will be the little-known approach of queer theology, a variety of liberation theology which questions and subverts the traditional ‘hetero-normative’ understanding of marriage as represented in the official statements that emanate from the Lambeth Conference or the House of Bishops.

“The author contends that this approach allows us to discern God’s presence and action in ‘outsider’ people and places, beyond the boundaries of heterosexual relationships.

“The book moves on to identify fragments of a theology of same-sex marriage which emerge from her research interviews. This leads inevitably to the question: Are these experiences of civil partnership really marriage or not?

“Only then does Herbert take on conservative readings of biblical texts and natural theology, using the methods of queer theology which favour the overarching story of God’s love in creation, covenant, salvation, and Church rather than the methods that have sometimes led to the misuse of the Bible and the abuse of LGBTQ Christians.

“She concludes, ‘We are less likely to misuse the Bible if we ask of our interpretations: who is excluded here? Why, and how may they be included?’

“This is a compassionate study, but purposeful in its intent and wide-ranging in its implications. If the language of queer theology is new and faintly disturbing, this might be of genuine value to the individual reader and to the wider Church, because something needs to disturb the stale air of contemporary debate if the process of Living in Love and Faith is to be productive.

“This wise and courageous book opens another window and lets in some welcome fresh air.”

— John Pritchard (in a Church Times review)

Edit this book record

Simply update or change the text in the form fields below, then click the Update Book Record button.

  • The book title for alphabetical sorting, e.g. Suitable Boy, A

  • The subtitle, often in smaller type on the cover (don't include the colon that sometimes separates the title and subtitle)

  • The name of the author or authors of the book; separate multiple authors with commas. No full stop (period) after initials.

  • The first author for alphabetical sorting by surname, e.g. Le Carré, John. This is automatically generated from the author field and should not need to be changed.

  • The book format that the ISBN is for: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle or EPUB

  • The 13-digit ISBN, usually found on the back cover together with the bar code

  • The 10-character ISBN for the book, e.g. 012345678X. In the book's Amazon page this is found under 'Product Details' labelled 'ISBN-10' or 'ASIN'.

  • The year when this edition of the book was published – prefer the latest date if there is more than one edition for this ISBN

  • The book's language – this affects the title sort algorithm

  • Topics, subjects

  • Do not include Christian, LGBT+ people, or Straight allies – almost every book will be suitable for these groups

  • Web address of the book cover thumbnail image – if not found in Google Books, right-click on the image in Amazon and choose 'Copy image address', then paste it here

  • The description supplied by Google Books; if it's suitable, you can use this as the basis for the short description, abridging it (or even expanding it) as needed. Copy the text, paste it below and adapt it..

  • A short, factual description of the book in no more than 150 words, ideally less. You can base this on Google Books' description above, or write your own.

  • Your (or someone's) review of the book or comment about it, emphasizing its good and bad points