bride and groom

Thousands of young Christians in the U.K. who believe in traditional marriage will think twice before taking public sector jobs, a group of church leaders warns.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, 17 ministers and one archbishop express their concern about the consequences if the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is passed in its current state.

The letter says, “If the bill passes into law without much clearer protections forfreedom of speech and freedom of belief, teachers and public-sector workers will have to choose between their conscience and their career, as many will be deterred from a public-service career or from charity involvement.

Members of Parliament are debating amendments to the gay marriage bill in the House of Commons today and tomorrow. They have the opportunity to vote for a raft of amendments, including protecting public-sector workers who believe in traditional marriage.

The church leaders say there are 150,000 in their combined congregations, 50,000 of whom are aged between 13 and 30.

The letter says, “For many in this rising generation, marriage is the union of sexual opposites, and the thread that binds generations.

The letter is signed by the Rt. Rev. Peter Smith, archbishop of Southwark; Rev. Vaughan Roberts, rector of St. Ebbe’s, Oxford; and Rev. John Stevens, the national director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, among others.

The bill will cause “pain for many, without tackling prejudice against the few,” the letter says.