THINKING ANGLICANS

Marriage and Civil Partnership changes?

The Telegraph is observing Christmas Eve by publishing a clutch of articles relating to possible changes in the law relating to marriage and civil partnerships.

Tim Ross writes that Coalition ministers consider gay marriage plans.

He also provides a Q&A: same-sex marriages and civil partnerships.

The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Rev Tim Thornton writes that Marriage should be between a man and a woman.

And the Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of LGCM, writes that We were brought up to believe we would fall in love and get married.

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David WilsonFather Ron SmithRobert ian WilliamsNom de PlumeLaurence C. Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

As a transsexual Christian, there is an issue in this debate that can impact on us, and it is this: in order to be recognised as legally female, and have legal rights to women’s services, women’s pensions, women’s facilities, women’s clubs, and generally to be recognised legally by society as female, I have to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Otherwise, a shop could decline to let me use women’s loos, a club could bar me from membership, I could be placed on a male ward or in a male prison, it could effect my pension and insurance status, and… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“So they have legally made divorce obligatory, if a transsexual woman wants her legal rights as a woman.”

This is OBSCENE. Wonder what the good bishop of Truro would say to it? Oh wait: he’s too busy living in his imaginary world where LGBTs simply *don’t exist*.

MarkBrunson
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I thought that they taught some degree of effective writing in homiletics – Bp. Thornton produced the most puerile piece I’ve ever read, however. It reads as “Marriage is between man and woman because they make babies. I believe marriage is between man and woman. People don’t like gay sex. There are civil unions. So there should not be gay marriages, because marriage is only between a man and a woman, because I believe that and there are civil unions.” Seriously, that’s the whole argument, and I’m not even being sarcastic – that’s the style of the presentation, as well.… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Susannah,
So you would have to divorce but were then free to enter into a civil partnership with the same person?
This is absolutely ridiculous!

Father Ron Smith
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“There is clearly a strong element within the Christian church who would be still very opposed to the understanding of what one element of what civil partnership might be about, which is a blessing of homosexual practice, to put it in crude terms.” – Bishop Timothy Thornton – ‘Crude’ is your word, dear Bishop. I wonder what you and the ‘strong element’ you are speaking of here, would think about officially describing heterosexual marriage as ‘a blessing of hetero-sexual practice’? It seems that you and the people you speak of are discussing the Sacrament of Marriage as a blessing of… Read more »

Lister Tonge
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Lister Tonge

Not the excellent +Tim’s most theologically argued piece (I’m glad to say!).

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

The Rt Rev Tim seens to have an odd and limited view of marriage as well as human sexuality. Marriage as the blessing of sexual activity? Really? I don’t know if this is true in England, but for heterosexuals in the States, ‘boyfriend’ now refers to ‘the guy I’m sleeping with,’ and ‘fiance’ means ‘the guy I’ve been sleeping with for some time [and may have had children with him].’ Rates of marriage are falling; rates of divorce are steady and high.Marriage has been, for many, subsumed under the idea of My Perfect Wedding – so much so as to… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
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I’m not sure the Bishop believes this stuff himself. That article repeatedly asserts statements the majority of people don’t agree with anyway without any underlying argument. That sounds to me like someone making a lame defence of a party line, either because they think any party line is worth defending out of institutional loyalty or because they want preferment. If he really believed it, I presume that as an intelligent man he’d come up with something better than “heterosexual marriage is different from gay civil partnership because heterosexual couples can have babies, even though not all heterosexual couples can have… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Having just returned from our 10am Sung Mass at St.Michael and All Angels in Christchurch, New Zealand – where we exeprienced 2 short sharp after-shocks (1 @ 4.9 Richter) – I have become even more philosophical about the Church’s arguments about gender and sexuality. The righteousness doom-sayers might have expected that we in the congregation – who are largely inclusive catholics, with an open mind towards the phenomenon of the LGTB constituency in the Church – would have been shaken off the face of the earth. Whereas, after the lights had gone out (we had lots of candles alight, though)… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Excellent post, Gerry Lynch, thank-you for it.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Fr. Ron: good for you and your church! Hope damage and especially casualties minimal. Alleluia!

Nom de Plume
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Nom de Plume

Two points: 1) “During the 2010 election campaign, the Conservatives were the only main party to suggest that they would consider allowing full marriage for same-sex couples.” Rather ironic that it was the _conservatives_ proposing same-sex marriage! 2) Article 32 of the 39 seems to me to say all that needs saying: “… it is lawful for [bishops, priests and deacons], as for all other Christian[s], to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.” And if their discretion leads them to marry a same-sex spouse? Funny that we possess a heritage… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
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As we’re still in the season of goodwill, let me thank Fr. Ron for a lovely post. Puts our problems in perspective. We survived our main heating system bursting a pipe – spectacularly so – about two hours before Midnight Mass started, in the middle of the coldest December for over a century with every plumber and heating engineer in the region booked solid for weeks. Despite the temperature in the nave dropping to 12 degrees dy the end of the service, we had a beautiful Midnight Mass, and then moved Christmas Morning and St. Stephen’s Day services to the… Read more »

Laurence C.
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Laurence C.

“So you would have to divorce but were then free to enter into a civil partnership with the same person? This is absolutely ridiculous!” Ridiculous but true. My understanding is that one is allowed to enter into a CP on the same day as the divorce so that there is no ‘break’. Another bizarre anomaly is that, prior to the Gender Recognition Act, it was possible for a person who had transitioned to marry a person of the same gender because the transitioned person was still deemed, in law, to be of their orginal gender, as shown on their birth… Read more »

Nom de Plume
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Nom de Plume

Gerry Lynch: I think we’re on the same page. Where I live same-sex marriage has been the law of the land for five years. (And there’s no sign of the sky falling in.)

Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

When the Anglican Communion accepted contraception in 1930 they effectively turned over the traditional teaching of Christian marriage.

That was the day the Anglican horse effectively bolted out of the stable.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

So, Robert, for you the teaching of Christian Marriage is all about the begetting of Children – rather than the the joy that sexuality can be to the partners in a marriage. I still remember the old phrase, which was supposed to enshrine the expectations of the wife in the connubial bed;
“Just lie back and think of Mother England!”

This ia hardly a tribute to the joys of sexuality that God intended for his human creation! Is it any wonder that the larger number of Catholic partners in marriage avoid this particular ban?

David Wilson
Guest
David Wilson

Father Ron Smith – the principle would seem to be yes – that is why God ordains marriage – for Godly offspring. Malachi 2:15. Indeed it seems to involve a work of the Holy Spirit as a blessing of such unions. “And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth.