Equality Bill: Lord Alli's amendment succeeds

Updated again Wednesday afternoon

The amendment proposed by Lord Alli was passed in the House of Lords by a vote of 95 to 21.

News reports:

PA Civil partnership church ban lifted

The Times Peers vote for church civil partnership ceremonies

Daily Mail Gay couples now able to marry in church after House of Lords lifts ban

Telegraph Peers vote to allow homosexuals to marry in church

Ekklesia Parliament votes to recognise religious same-sex partnerships

BBC Church gay ceremonies ban lifted

The Bishop of Bradford spoke against the amendment and voted against it.
The Bishop of Newcastle voted in favour of it.

Others voting in favour included Lord Harries of Pentregarth, who also spoke.
Others voting against included Lord Eames.

Updates

Hansard report of the debate on this amendment starts here. For the PDF version go over here.

For the official news report see this page.

And for an official analysis of the voting patterns see this.

Afternoon update

Reuters Gay activists welcome vote on religious civil partnerships

Independent Gay weddings to be allowed in church

Ruth Gledhill Bishop of Winchester slams gay marriage in church ‘fudge’ headline changed to: Bishop of Winchester warns clergy could be sued over gay marriage

Andrew Brown Civil partnerships win in the Lords

George Pitcher Lords vote for “gay weddings” – so what?

Colin Coward Civil Partnerships in religious buildings – at last, ‘moderate’ dissent among the bishops, and dishonesty from one who should know better

Peter Ould Lord Alli’s Amendment Passes

Evangelical Alliance Churches must be free from fear of lawsuits over civil partnerships, says Evangelical Alliance

Stonewall House of Lords votes by majority of 74 for civil partnerships in religious premises

Ekklesia Same-sex partnership change highlights need to overhaul marriage law

Quakers in Britain Quakers welcome debate on equality

Christian Institute Homosexual unions allowed in churches

LGCM Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement celebrates the decision by the House of Lords to allow civil partnerships to be performed in places of worship

CCFON House of Lords vote to allow Civil Partnerships to take place in Church

28 comments

  • Davis Mac-Iyalla says:

    I know we are still in Lent but permit me to shout Halleluiah for this good news while waiting to hear thunder storm voices from ++Akinola, Henry Orombi and their western allies.
    One still wonders why good news for LGBT people in the UK ,will be causing big problems for our African bishops?

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “The amendment to the Equality Bill, moved by openly gay peer Lord Alli, would allow – but not compel – religious organisations to host civil partnerships” – UK Press Association –

    What splendid news for those religious same-sex couples who only wish to receive the blessing of their respective faith communities in publicly celebrating their declaration of monogamous and loving relationship to one another. Surely no right-thinking believer in a God of Love could deny them this privilege (not to mention, human, right).

    Those who maintain that this will diminish the purpose and sanctity of heterosexual marriage have no understanding of what the differences are. Firstly, there is no prospect of producing children unique to their relationship – which, in itself is a sadness for some same-sex couples. But this is also a reality for some heterosexual couples, who cannot, for one reason or another, produce children of their own. The circumstances may be different but the deprivation is shared.

    To deny same-sex couples the opportunity of raising children by adoption is just as cruel as it would be to deny this right to heterosexual couples. Love is not conditional on gender or sexual orientation.

    Let’s hope now that the Church of England will move towards allowing committed same-sex couples to celebrate their relationship among those friends in their congregations who share, with them, the Love of Christ in the Eucharist!

  • Rev L Roberts says:

    ‘This is the doing of Adonai and it is wonderful in our eyes.’

    G-d can always raise up a Cyrus when G-d’s more obvious Choice do a Jonah or a Saul !

    The only sadness for me and lgbt communities is that this fought every inch of the way, by some who should have the initiators of the holy work, and its Welcomers and Rejoicers ! But that too makes one turn to the Cenacle of the heart –

    ‘continuing together in prayer

    with Mary the Mother of Jesus.’

    ‘The Spirit and the Bride say Come ! ‘

    As Julain teaches us

    ‘all manner of thing shall be Well.’

  • Jeremy Pemberton says:

    Three cheers for the Bishop of Newcastle!

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    The government and office of the Registrar General will have to consider carefully how to allow the full impact of this amendment to be implemented.

    It offers all we have asked for. A “one stop” ceremony, similar to the marriage service where the couple and witnesses retreat into the vestry for the civil registration, for the first time the fact that a CP only requires four signatures proves a great advantage!

    I imagine the Registrar General will compose a separate register of places of worship approved for CPs. Each will require the “owner” to consent and I suspect there will be some stringent checks in place!

    The local Superintendent Registrar has no ability to designate local clerics as registrars for CP’s – the suggestion that clerics could be so designated is rather mischievous – though the unique legal framework pertaining to Friends Registrars might see them with this role. What will happen is exactly as marriage – the declaration of intent is made at the Registry the Registrar attends at the Church and completes the registration there – I do not know of anyone who conducts a religious service while the registers are being signed!

  • Craig Nelson says:

    I think this is a positive development and I have to congratulate Lord Alli on being a far more effective legislator than some we could mention.

    I think these issues will only be properly resolved when marriage and civil partnerships are available to all on a basis of equality and then each body can make its own decisions based on their consciences.

    Speaking of which I like how the Anglican conservatives effectively hoist themselves by their own petard by making a big play of spiritual independence and conscience and then seeking to deny it to other church bodies.

  • Charlotte says:

    I’m glad to see this result confirm that while extreme conservative Evangelicals may be the majority in the Church of England, they have little standing or influence in Britain at large. I am relieved that the extreme conservatives will not be dictating doctrine to members of other religious bodies in Britain, and that the principle of religious freedom has been upheld, despite their best efforts to the contrary.

  • Kurt says:

    “Speaking of which I like how the Anglican conservatives effectively hoist themselves by their own petard by making a big play of spiritual independence and conscience and then seeking to deny it to other church bodies.”–Craig Nelson

    Yes, the con-evos always seem to do this, don’t they? When the Evangelical movement first began to grow in the American Church in the 1830s and 1840s, its partisans called for “freedom” and “liberty” for their theological faction. When the Catholic Revival moved into its ritualism phase in the 1860s and 1870s, the conservative Evangelicals were the first to demand sanctions, punishments, etc. They exposed themselves as total hypocrites to average Episcopalians. The most intransigent Calvinists left with Cummins, and the rest evolved, with Philip Brooks, into Low Church Latitudinarians.

  • Erika Baker says:

    Martin
    ” I do not know of anyone who conducts a religious service while the registers are being signed!”

    Would that not depend on how you interpret “religious service”? At a register office nothing even remotely religious is allowed, you cannot choose religious music or readings etc.
    In churches Wedding couples often arrange for people to play religious music or sing religious songs during the signing of the register. Presumably, that could still be forbidden in the case of civil partnerships?

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    Charlotte, I don’t think that extreme conservative evangelicals are a majority in the C of E, except in their dreams….

    My experience in the England is that it is much higher in liturgics and actually fairly well-rounded in their application of the Gospel in their daily lives. I confess to being somewhat influenced by my limited participation in large parishes and cathedrals, which might be a narrow scope, but my sense is that the only thing conservative about the C of E is it’s still-excellent liturgics.

  • Olivia says:

    Charlotte:

    “while extreme conservative Evangelicals may be the majority in the Church of England…”

    They most certainly are not.

  • while extreme conservative Evangelicals may be the majority in the Church of England (Charlotte).

    Mercifully not yet true. And, rather like a swimming pool, most of the noise comes from the shallow end….

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    Pleased to see C of E blocked from interfering with Jews, Unitarians, and Quakers, although I had rather looked forward to Quakers recovering their 17th c. protest techniques.

    These included, but were not limited to, swarming into ‘steeple houses’ during services and disrobing.

    They could have invaded the cathedra of the ob nox … whoops … objecting bishops.

    That would have gone viral on YouTube!

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    Erika,

    We will have to soundproof the vestry then;-)

    But joking apart I suspect that what is happening in another room will not be pertinent – and the rules over music etc are much less rigorous at the outside “Brandreth” venues than they are in Registry Offices (The only place you cannot pray out loud in the UK!) There has been a change in attitude in the last few years too, following instructions from the top.

    Looking at this closely, I think something will have to done differently in the end.

    Those who are calling for a complete revision of marriage/civil partnership law will win out, this is a web that needs careful handling and I think Lord Alli has just poked a large hole in it!

  • Rev L Roberts says:

    d to see this result confirm that while extreme conservative Evangelicals may be the majority in the Church of England, they have little standing or influence in Britain at large. I am relieved..
    (Charlotte).

    Charlotte, it my belief that they are in a minority.–Visit any Deanery or district, you’ll be likely to find about one Evangelical parish of any stripe to c. every 10 or 12 parishes. Conservative or ‘Reform’ parishes are fewer on the ground.

    Would others here concurr with that ?

    They may have more clout on the various synods and committees of the Church — and I do mean clout ! But at the end of the day they need to convince others by their godly and rational reasoning of the validity of their opinions; and at a later stage policies voted in, have to be implemented –quite another matter !

  • Rev L Roberts says:

    Also Charlotte many of us entered our teens as Conservative Evangelicals but left our teens with a greater grasp of the wideness of God, life, the universe-multiverse, theology and Everything !

    It is true others underwent similar transformations in their 20s , 30s and onwards !

    And many of those who remain ‘definate Evangelicals’ mellow a lot with the passage of time.

    Even the Brethren have come round to a more open approach to ‘Headship’, ‘women’ and gays – and believe me, that is saying Something !

    And as someone remarked here– ah yes, the shallow end ! — lot of splashing

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    Meanwhile in the U.S. the Roman Catholic Church uses blessed logic that defies any sense:

    “The Catholic Archdioceses of Washington announced earlier this week that due to the new law which allows marriage of same-sex couples in the District of Columbia, they will no longer be offering health insurance to the spouses of their employees in the district. “-HRC News

    That’s just as bad as the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s head cleric banning altar girls to prevent more child abuse a few years ago.

    Unbelievable, I’d laugh if it weren’t true.

  • Rev L Roberts says:

    I see that the Evangelical Alliance and also Peter Ould are bowing to the inevitable.And Peter Ould even as a lovely gay marriage cartoon in pride of place ! Both parties are beginning to come to terms with the change, and how they will live with it.

    I think they realsie it won’t be that difficult and as the noble Baroness said, “It’ll make a lot of people happy.”

    Yes, that’s right HAPPY — not a bad outcome for deliberations in Their Lordships’ House eh !

    And Peter and Don have nothing, but nothing to fear ….

  • Rev L Roberts says:

    Winchester ‘ said he believed the next step would be vicars being sued for discrimation if they obeyed Church of England law and refused to do gay weddings.’ (The Times)

    No Michael there is no such ‘Church of England law’ –I am surprised Ruth didnt challenge him on this vital point.

    And is this really a fudge (unlike the ‘re-marriage’ of ‘divorcees’ !)– it all seems pretty clear to me.

    And it did to most peers, and to Rabbi Julia Neuberger who spoke beautifully as both “a Jewish” mother and as an experienced solomnizer of gay Jewish marriages.

  • Martin says:

    Martin R. says:
    “The local Superintendent Registrar has no ability to designate local clerics as registrars for CP’s – the suggestion that clerics could be so designated is rather mischievous – though the unique legal framework pertaining to Friends Registrars might see them with this role.” But RC priests can become ‘registered persons’ for marriage, and when they are so approved a local civil registrar is not required to attend to witness the civil aspect of the ceremony. I think it’s a question of “watch this space” …
    Martin P.

  • peterpi says:

    Hallelujah! Praise God!
    Common sense and decency have prevailed.
    Now, all that those who object have to do is say “it won’t happen here”, and let those who approve go on their merry way.

  • john says:

    Yes, Jeremy, and what a contrast to his peer in the next diocese down.

  • JCF says:

    Thanks be to God! 😀

    [I have to say: if *I* were to be visiting England sometime soon (highly unlikely, FWIW), I might return to the *Quaker* roots on my mother’s side (unfortunately, for this TEC Anglo-Catholic).]

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    “That’s just as bad as the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s head cleric banning altar girls to prevent more child abuse a few years ago.”

    Oh come on – you’re making this up, no? If true, I have some quite large splinters from the True Cross to sell, as well as Paul’s skull as a young man…

  • Robert Ian williams says:

    As for Scott-Joynt , now the darling of the conservatives..he was the person who masterminded the Church of England’s re-marriage after divorce turn around.

  • Dion says:

    What a Friend we have in Jesus… =:-)

  • Pluralist says:

    No, it’s what a Jesus (and others) we have in Friends.

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    Cynthia: I remember it distinctly, but cannot find references today, and I was shaking my head in dis-belief as well. That church in C-Ville is Christ, not Trinity as I erroneously reported.

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