THINKING ANGLICANS

fast track for equal civil marriage law?

The Daily Mail reports: MPs to vote on gay marriage ‘within weeks’: Fast track plan as opposition campaign gathers momentum by James Chapman

Plans to allow gay marriage could be voted on and approved by MPs within weeks, it emerged last night
David Cameron and Nick Clegg have agreed to fast-track the controversial change in the law – bringing it before Parliament in the New Year…

And other newspapers have followed:

Telegraph Gay marriage could be approved within weeks by Rosa Silverman

Guardian Patrick Wintour Plans for gay marriage vote likely to get go-ahead before Christmas

…There is also a belief that with Christian evangelicals on the back foot over the vote on the ordination of women bishops it may be the right time to show they may have over-played their hand, and are in the minority in terms of public opinion.

The government has repeatedly stressed that the church will not be required to administer marriages stating “no religious organisation will be forced to conduct same-sex religious marriages as a result of these proposals”.

In a sign of the potential cross-over, Sir Tony Baldry, the Tory MP and second church commissioner, told MPs that church members would be “deluding themselves” if they thought their views on moral issues would be given the same weight as before.

He said: “If the Church of England thinks that parliament is going to listen to them on moral issues such as same-sex marriage with considerable attention when the Church of England seems to be so out of step on others issues of concern to parliament then they are simply deluding themselves.”

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TomFather Ron SmithDavid ShepherdCraig NelsonErika Baker Recent comment authors
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Jean Mayland
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Jean Mayland

Hurrah!

Roll on our Quaker and Unitariarian friends

Jean

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

‘The spirit bloweth where it listeth’ I see !

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

I think ‘fast track’ is perhaps the wrong term. It will have to go through all of its parliamentary stages including examination by the Joint Committee on human rights which will be more important than usual given people’s anxieties. However, unlike most legislation that goes through Parliament, it is going to be very simple, with only a few clauses and a few schedules. Really the key issue is whether same sex couples can marry or not and one is either for that or against it. Most MPs already know the answer to that. There is obviously a potential for the… Read more »

Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

I wonder if this issue has been brought in now because Government managers sense an opportunity. They know that the the women bishops vote has discredited (or emasculated?) any opposition from church sources to the gay marriage debate. As Tony Baldry said in Parliament “I suspect that every right hon. and hon. Member has recently had representations from Church members on same-sex marriage. If the Church of England thinks that Parliament will listen to it with considerable attention on moral issues such as same-sex marriage and so on when the Church of England seems to be so out of step… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I think fast track here means, hurriedly brought forward for immediate consideration, rather than pushed through parliament quickly.

I am very interested to know that the legislation is going to be just a few short clauses. I was led to expect a new Marriage Bill when I questioned the Whitehall observers who accompanied the consultation process here in Wales. So, are we now just to expect a few deletions and insertions?

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

If one looks at Stonewall’s draft Bill http://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/stonewallmarriagebill.pdf one can see it can be done quite simply albeit I do expect the government’s version to be somewhat more complicated, especially regarding religious marriages and amendments to the equality act etc.

Political Realist
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Political Realist

” interesting to see the role of the bishops here “ If the Church of England wants to commit political suicide, its bishops could propose wrecking amendments, as they did during the debate on Civil Partnership. The Parliament Act will be used ruthlessly (this was a manifesto commitment, so there is no question as to its applicability) and if a group of men who have already demonstrated that they are representatives of an organisation which supports discrimination engage in supporting discrimination, then calls for (a) their removal from the Lords and (b) disestablishment will be deafening. The CofE would then… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Yes. I had seen this draft Bill.

As I said, it’s interesting to know the government are following this route. I was expecting something very different.

Tim Chesterton
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…the Church of England seems to be so out of step on other issues of concern to Parliament…

It’s the Church’s business to be out of step. Jesus did not say, ‘Go into all the world and tell them they are quite right’. This is not a popularity contest; it’s about the complex business of discerning what faithful discipleship means, in a church which has consistently refused to lay down narrow theological norms (as has been emphasised countless times on this blog). Colluding with parliamentary sabre-rattling won’t help.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“It’s the Church’s business to be out of step.” Up to a point. There is a regretful tendency in the church to assume that being immersed in the same cultural battles as the secular world but taking an opposing position makes you counter-cultural and therefore right-on and holy. In fact, it makes you precisely as cultural as the world you live in. Simply adopting 1950s social values and then claiming piously that you are following Jesus because you are out of step with the surrounding culture completely misunderstands what being counter-cultural should be about. And there is a theological case… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“Colluding with parliamentary sabre-rattling won’t help.”

You will soon discover that it’s more than sabre-rattling. And it will happen whether anyone colludes or not.

Evidently no one on the anti-WB side is much of a strategist.

They knew they had the votes. They should have thought a bit more about the repercussions.

Sow the wind….

Tim Chesterton
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Evidently no one on the anti-WB side is much of a strategist. Jeremy, please don’t assume that I’m against female bishops. Check out which diocese I work in: Edmonton, in Canada. I’m simply not going to rejoice when a non-Christian parliament decides to make up the church’s theological mind for it. And no, Erika, I think you know me well enough to know that I’m not assuming that every time the church disagrees with society the church is right. I simply think that the principle that the church must keep in step with the values of secular society is very,… Read more »

Counterlight
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There is indeed being out of step with the culture, and then there is just plain being wrong. In the 1950s USA, religious arguments for racial desegregation were few and very out of step with the cultural norms of the time. History would later vindicate those views which are now seen as courageous and pioneering. I wonder if clinging to what was once the dominant cultural norm on same sexuality long after that norm is discredited and discarded by the rest of society rises to that level of pioneering non-conformity? Or is it just being incorrigibly stubborn? I suppose that… Read more »

David Shepherd
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‘Evidently no one on the anti-WB side is much of a strategist.’

I love this rhetoric. As if those who are anti-WB are also, to a man (or woman), anti-same sex marriage. As if losing the Women Bishops vote was part of a long-term strategy to win secular support for same-sex marriage.

Ridiculous.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Tim Chesterton, that sentence was not directed at you in particular; it was a more general observation.

David Shepard, I was not in favor of the measure, in part because the Act of Synod has fostered enclaves of untenable theology that the measure would have permitted to remain.

There should be no “honoured place” for bigotry, and no “respect” for misogyny.

That principle may be advanced by this week’s events, and what follows.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Tim I had not intended my words to be a criticism of you, I hope you know that. But I do find the commonly held view that the church must be purely self referential and that society’s values can only be accepted if they tie in with those of the church very dangerous. Too often it leads to insular theology where everything is acceptable provided it can somehow be tied in with what we’ve thought before however obviously unjust it might be. I can’t remember how often I’ve heard the claim that “I would give gay people equal rights if… Read more »

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

The two subjects are of course completely separate except in this regard. The Church of England has behaved very poorly in regard to the government’s proposal regarding same sex marriage (I’m not saying it shouldn’t express its views – it should – but the manner in which it was done was truly outrageous). This bad behaviour is one of haughtinees and self righteousness on the part of the Established Church. Now it has its come uppance and its self evident (to it) moral superiority seems a little rickety from the outside. Pride goeth before a fall. A more humble church… Read more »

David Shepherd
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Craig: The Stonewall draft bill is naive, since changing the law to genderless marriage would involve a lot more than a ‘cut-and-paste’ expunging of male/female references. For example, it means that the legal presumption of biological primacy in parenting is undermined. In the event of divorce, a person having no biological relationship to the child will be presumed to have the same parental rights (education, access and healthcare decisions, etc.) as the biological parent. The State will overrule natural affinity to arbitrate the best interests of such a child, even if the natural mother/father has decided it best to end… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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“As I’ve said on another post, the default position of genderless marriage is to overrule the primacy of biological kinship.” – David Shepherd – Why do I squirm when I see these words; “As I’ve said (before)” ? In answer to your conundrum, David, perhaps the two [positions can exist together – much like the ‘Two Integrities’ on other matters in the Church of England. What may be more important is that the promotion of solely procreational kinship – in these days of declining natural resources – may lead to a more accelerated decline of the planet. So perhaps we… Read more »

Tom
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Tom

Dear Political Realist You say “The Parliament Act will be used ruthlessly (this was a manifesto commitment, so there is no question as to its applicability)…..” Are you referring to Civil Marriage rather than Civil Partnerships here? Col Bob Stewart has been tweeting that the PA can’t be used because this was not in the Manifesto. But is he right about that principle? I thought the PA could be used for any legislation (not a private bill or one introduced in the Lords) where the Lords sought to thwart the will of the Commons, whether it was over a Manifesto… Read more »