Thinking Anglicans

House of Lords: challenge to civil partnership regulations withdrawn

Updated again Friday morning

The House of Lords today debated the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2011. See earlier reports, starting here.

No vote was taken, as Baroness O’Cathain eventually withdrew her motion:

That a Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that the regulations, laid before the House on 8 November, be annulled on the grounds that they do not fulfil the Government’s pledge to protect properly faith groups from being compelled to register civil partnerships where it is against their beliefs.

Links to Hansard:

The permanent record of this debate now starts here. See below the fold for links to the speeches made by the Bishop of Oxford, and the Bishop of Blackburn (twice).

Meanwhile, media reports:

And press releases:

This morning, the Guardian had published this editorial comment: Civil partnerships: questions for the church

…Today’s motion should be opposed. Opposing it would be more straightforward if the Church of England were to come off the fence on the issue of gay and lesbian equality. Britain has taken great strides towards wider tolerance and equality in recent years. Yet on civil partnerships, as on women bishops and gay priests, the church has recognised the moral wrongness of discrimination while failing to embrace the moral rightness of equality. Everyone can see where this journey is leading. But leading is the one thing the church is reluctant to do. It could make a start by throwing its weight clearly against the conservatives in the Lords today.

And earlier, the Cutting Edge Consortium had published this briefing note for peers.

The leaders of the religious bodies who had originally sought this legislation wrote a letter to parliamentary leaders, which is reproduced in this Ekklesia article: Faith bodies urge Lords to support civil partnerships.

Bishop of Oxford’s speech starts here.

Bishop of Blackburn: first speech starts here; second speech starts here.

12
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
12 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
Craig NelsonbadmanRichard AshbyNatLaurence Roberts Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Lord Ali said “… first you take a spurious argument. You dress it up in legal language. You get a senior QC or two to write a lot about very little. Then you throw in a very large dose of prejudice. Finally you add that secret ingredient: fear. Fear that people will be coerced into acting against their conscience.” This is exactly what happened and the Baroness ought to be ashamed for the anxiety she caused and the time and effort which she made others put into the rebutting of her spurious arguments. I am glad to see that the… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Encouraging to read so many sage, personal and great speeches.

Some great testimonies to faith among lgbt peoples.

karen macqueen+_
Guest

Since the Liberal Democrats and many of the Conservatives, including the Prime Minister, seem committed to equal marriage legislation next year, we will be in for some very interesting debates within the CofE. I don’t see how the state Church can be exempted altogether from performing lawful marriages for same sex couples, while opposite sex couples can be married in their local parish, even if they have not seen the inside of it for years and don’t believe in much that could be called Christian doctrine. I think that +RW would be happy to avoid all of this by retiring… Read more »

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

All friends of religious liberty should be delighted at this outcome. But look at the speeches of two peers who supported Lady O’Cathain: the Bishop of Blackburn and Lord Cormack, a long-standing member of the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament. The Bishop of Blackburn said: “there is surely no need for the Church of England to be included in these regulations at all. Indeed, it should be expressly excluded from them”. Lord Cormack said “It is important that the Church of England should have its special position recognised and there should be exemption for it”. So: they claim that the Established… Read more »

JeremyP
Guest
JeremyP

I think Nelson Jones’s article is especially noteworthy, looking, as it does, beyond this small storm in a teacup to the future when, conceivably, the government will legislate for marriage equality. At that point the nice distinction between marriages and civil partnerships will evaporate in the popular mind – as will the defence against charges of discrimination that the churches now enjoy by virtue of that distinction. Unless the churches can get a religious exemption written into future legislation then marriage will presumably be open to all in all contexts. And I wonder if Parliament is likely this time around… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘Baroness O’Cathain eventually withdrew her motion.’

But her statement was grudging. Also she felt so down about it, and about the horrible letters saying she was ‘homophobic’ of all things. I do feel for her, even though I think she may have misunderstood something.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘Baroness O’Cathain: My Lords, I thank everyone who has taken part in this debate. I was very relieved that I was not at the butt-end of accusations of being homophobic, toxic, odious or even old, as I was in some of the letters that I got. I know I am old, but I do not like it to be said pejoratively. I have listened intently. I remember-this is a flashback to my childhood-that when my parents asked me what I wanted to do, I said I wanted to become a lawyer. Thank goodness I did not, that is all I… Read more »

Nat
Guest
Nat

“I think that +RW would be happy to avoid all of this by retiring into a quiet academic post where he can grow his eyebrows as long as he wants.”

While I find myself in enthusiastic agreement with the rest of what Karen McQueen writes, surely the last shot here is gratuitous?

badman
Guest
badman

The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon has a letter in The Guardian on the subject.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/15/church-and-partners-marriage

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Following Liz Badman’s link to the letter from the Bishop of Brecon. The Bishop wrote ‘Opposition to the government’s proposal rested properly on the basis of its illogicality and not on the basis of any offence to equality or hostility to homosexuality’.

I don’t know what the Bishop has been reading but it was certainly not Hansard or the published reports. His intervention thus further points up the fact that they really don’t know what they are talking about.

badman
Guest
badman

JeremyP, I think the distinction between marriage and civil partnerships has never really existed in the popular mind; I think most people thought of civil partnership as gay marriage from the moment it was introduced. Did you notice, in the same House of Lords debate that this post covers, the maiden speech of Lord Collins of Highbury, in which he referred straightforwardly to his husband? http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/111215-0001.htm#11121598001415 “Lord Collins of Highbury: My Lords, in my maiden speech to this House, my first thanks went to the officials and staff for their warm introduction. Not only did they make me feel extremely… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

Oh dear, the bishop of Brecon seems to have missed a lot of points. Then again maybe he’s given the game away – the attempt to annul the regulations is just a rerun of the debate that was had when the Alli amendment was passed (by the Lords) and then carried into law. Of course that is not what the proponents of the prayer to anul were saying.

On another point, I noted that the EDM to annul the regulations in the Commons had only 11 supporters.