Thinking Anglicans

House of Lords: Monday in committee on the Marriage bill

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Hansard record starts here, and later continues here.

The more detailed list showing speakers names is over here.

Two bishops engaged in the debate, the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Hereford.

The archbishop’s two interventions start here.
The bishop’s three interventions start here.

The debate continues on Wednesday. There is already a Second Marshalled List of Amendments here. There is now a Revised Second Marshalled List.

Updates

David Pocklington has listed out what happened yesterday to each amendment that was discussed, see Same Sex Marriage Bill – Committee Stage, 1st Day.

Andrew Brown has written John Sentamu and the Church of England’s slow retreat on gay marriage.

…The archbishop, John Sentamu, asked: “What do you do with people in same-sex relationships that are committed, loving and Christian? Would you rather bless a sheep and a tree, and not them? However, that is a big question, to which we are going to come. I am afraid that now is not the moment.”

No. It isn’t. That moment passed years ago, when civil partnerships were first brought in, and the archbishop’s was one of the loudest voices demanding that the Church of England have nothing to do with them. The bishops still don’t realise what damage they did then…

Paul Johnson has written at ECHR Sexual Orientation blog Same-sex marriage in England and Wales – more references to the ECHR.

David Pocklington has written again, Clarifications from withdrawn amendments, Same Sex Marriage Bill, Day 1 which adds a lot of useful explanation about the various amendments discussed.

Chris Sugden has written an Update for the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

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Erika Bakerrick allenJCFTobias HallerFather Ron Smith Recent comment authors
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CRW
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CRW

Isn’t the Bishop of Hereford the guy who sacked a youth worker for being gay?

Hardly a fit an proper person to be given a seat in the lords!

Laurence
Guest
Laurence

A lot of withdrawal going on – their moral and spiritual balance will soon be totally empty – bankrupt. Quoting the Bible as one did, and alluding to some imagined consensus fidei as others did, is no substitute for moral reflection on the facts of human sexuality and loving, as discovered by genetics, psychoanalysis and the written and visual culture of civilised societies. Having devoted my life to religion and given my own personal witness to gay life and love, it grieves me to see how little religious spokesmen ordained or otherwise, seem to have nothing to say lgbt people… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The youth worker was not sacked, rather he was refused the appointment. See http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002939.html for the full story.

Bob McCloskey
Guest
Bob McCloskey

The Bishop of Hereford’s formal farewell into retirement will be celebrated on September 8.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Everything so far has been withdrawn or not put. Is this what Anglican mainstream means by “the fight goes on”?

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

From what I can tell the House of Lords is somewhat different to the Commons. Amendments seem only to be made when everyone agrees. Controversial amendments seem to be there to test the waters on order to bring the issue back at report and third reading. A lot of the amendments appear to be there to allow the Minister to explain things and read certain things into the record. On the other hand, the debate over the conscience clause for registrars is closely argued. It seems there is a lot of sympathy for the idea of allowing a limited conscience… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

This is quite an extraordinary article from Andrew Brown who only a few months ago was still defending civil partnerships with a spiritual component over marriage equality. I believe many in the church are still walking a similar development. They have heard all the arguments for marriage equality but they haven’t truly understood them. When the Archbishops apologised for the way the church has treated lgbt people I believe they were being completely sincere. And they are still stuck in the “equal but different” groove where they genuinely do not see the damage they’re doing and that different is never… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Craig, I would support an amendment that “protected” existing registrars but not new ones. You and I may believe that widening marriage to include gay people is really no big deal, but it is clear that it seems to be a major redefinition of marriage to others. Although I do not understand them I respect them and as long as I CAN get married in a register office and as long as there was a registrar available to marry me in any register office in the country, I would not mind if someone who works there at the moment did… Read more »

Fr Alan-Bury
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Fr Alan-Bury

What Craig Nelson suggests and some of their Lordships along with the Human Rights Joint Committee are asking for can only have limited effect. All marriages are signed off by the Superintendent Registrar and presumably she/he would have to step down to claim the ability to pass on registering such a marriage.

Karen MacQueen+
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Karen MacQueen+

The argument of the conservative voices in the House of Lords, including all of the CofE bishops, focuses on the very dated pseudo-scientific and pseudo-natural divisions of gender into two opposite but “complementary” camps: male and female. This argument is advanced as if there had been no progress in our understanding of gender in the last sixty years or so. A body of scientific research in genetics, epigenetics, brain structures, hormones, and physiology provides so much complexity to our current understanding of gender that the division of the human species into two genders can no longer be considered accurate. As… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

David Pocklington’s summary is worth reading for light relief. Not a single one of the amendments that the bishops and their friends so carefully proposed got to the stage of being moved, never mind being voted on. They were just a waste of paper and time. The opposition to ssm has presumably realised that it’s got no votes and no chance, so is just reading stuff into the record so that it can later tell its supporters that it tried, at least. What a farce.

Neil
Guest
Neil

Re Karen McQ – I agree that the intersex minority must be treated fairly and justly. To do so no doubt means that their situation needs to be highlighted in the way she does. However, surely the percentage of people who do not fit into the obviously and clearly male or female is surely minuscule? I’d be interested if she could say what kind of numbers we are talking about.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Careful, Interested Observer. This is how it works in a HoL committee. Amendments are not usually voted on at this stage, but may be brought back at a later stage.

Karen MacQueen+
Guest
Karen MacQueen+

@Neil: reliable statistics are hard to agree upon. Some recent estimates count 2% of Iive births as sexually “dysmorphic”. This does not include major categories such as Kleinfelter’s Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, 5 Alpha Reductase Deficiency, Hypospadias, Intertile Males, and Complete Androgen Insensitivity. The point is that the theory of grouping is ahead of the surveys of incidence. Some studies that come in at 1% of live births are fifteen years old and do not include current taxonomy. My competence is in Nursing and human rights work not in directly wperforming studies. I am familiar enough with current research to feel… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“Rowan Williams said the other week, … ‘I am not wholly clear to what problem same-sex marriage is the answer'”

Beggars belief. Kyrie eleison! [Rowan, don’t go away angry—just go away.]

Murdoch
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Murdoch

The intersexed are physical evidence that humankind is not divided into male and female, but consists of individuals who have developed to places along a continuum. How many may be gathered at any point isn’t the issue; allowing each to develop their potentials should be the goal. A majority felt free to disregard the rights of gays and lesbians when they supposed they comprised only 1% of the population. Now that they’re a visible and functioning 6% and growing, their needs cannot be so plausibly denied. The scarcity of intersexed persons and the plethora of Anglicans in Africa shouldn’t weigh… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

One might of course equally say ‘I am not sure to what problem opposite sex marriage is the answer’. Or alternatively ‘I am not clear as to what problem marriage is the answer’.

If you can come up with any answers that help Rowan as to what problems marriage solves the next step is to ask if they apply to same sex couples as well. If they do…

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ah yes, Chris Sugden’s new website with its 10 points asking us to employ reason and to see that marriage equality would harm children! If children need their own biological parents, it would be more helpful to stop that part of the huge and largely straight fertility industry that relies on egg and sperm donation. That way, you would also catch the few hundred among the currently parenting 8000 gay couples who might have used their services. But even if we follow the implied logic that children living with only one or no biological parent is only dangerous when the… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Erika – The new Sugden “Gay Marriage:No Thanks” website is sheer nastiness. It corrals what it thinks are arguments about children into ten points so that it can try and tug the heartstrings of the HoL – just look at what he says in his FCA update about the ineffectiveness of the opposition so far! All very Simpsonsy “But who will care about the children?”. Somehow I don’t think the Noble Lords and Peeresses and Prelates are as dumb as he clearly thinks they are. All his ten points one wants to argue with strongly. But 6 is irrelevant –… Read more »

Will Douglas Barton
Guest
Will Douglas Barton

Erika – Registrars are employed public servants. We don’t allow police officers to choose not to enforce new laws or teachers to ignore changes to the national curriculum. If their contract says they officiate at marriages according to the law of the land, they should do so, even when that law changes.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Actually, same-sex marriage is the answer to exactly the same situation to which mixed-sex marriage is the answer: “it is not good for the human one to be alone.” God left it to Adam to choose which helper was suitable to him; the church should do the same for each person, “for force is not of God.”

Tobias Haller
Guest

@Craig Nelson, actually I’ve written a book on the subject that approaches “the question” from that standpoint, and I personally gave a copy of it to +Rowan at his sole visit to the synod of The Episcopal Church. My approach was to examine the “causes” for marriage laid out in the Book of Common Prayer — with due notice of the fact that the liturgy, since 1549, has directed the omission of the prayer for procreation when the woman is past child-bearing; which neither negates nor nullifies the marriage. Since procreation (at least as far as child-bearing goes) is a… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Jeremy,
I fully agree. But I wanted to make the point that, even if completely taken on their own limited terms, their argument makes no logical sense at all.

Will,
you’re right, we don’t allow public servants to choose who to serve and who not to.
The question is, though, whether an exception could made in this particular case for registrars who are already employed.
There are good reasons for and against it. In itself it would be a relatively minor compromise in this particular case.
But I take your point that it would set a dangerous precedent.

David Bieler
Guest
David Bieler

I get frustrated when I read the sort of thing on the “no thank you” website. The Regnerus study and all the work by Whitehead and NARTH that are cited have all been discredited or at least rejected by their respective professional communities. Other items are “unfounded” assertions (to use their same brush. So I go round and round trying to understand if these people are simply hopelessly blinkered (wearing blinders to us in the US), just willing to say anything in pursuit of power, or perhaps completely amoral and intellectually dishonest. As a university professor who tries to teach… Read more »

rick allen
Guest

“the division of the human species into two genders can no longer be considered accurate.”

Nevertheless, each human being stubbornly comes into the world as a result of one (male) father and one (female) mother.

Those babies obviously aren’t keeping up with the research.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Dr. Sentamu, in his speech today in the House of Lords, talks aout the deep regret felt by him AND THE PRIMATES OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION at the diminishment of gay people?
Well, that is a bit of legerdemain if ever one saw one! Hyperbole, at the very least. The Dromantine accord on the matter of respect for gays was never truthfully acceded to by the GS Primates.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rick, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. No-one is trying to stop straight couples from having babies and no-one doubts that it takes a female egg and a male sperm to create them. What does that have to do with the fact that some people are intersex, that your biological sex says nothing about your sexuality and that sexuality should be no bar to marriage? That the British civil marriage service says nothing about children – about having them, not having them, adopting them, fostering them, step parenting them, having them by assisted conception as the… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

No, rick: many intersex people are capable of reproducing. Are you trying to say that their reproductive function shoehorns them into “one or the other”, apart from every other factor? Reductio ad absurdum.

rick allen
Guest

“Rick, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.” Erika, simply that a catelog of sexual variations, which I don’t think would be surprising to, say, a Roman writer of the Silver Age, doesn’t nullify the basic biology of reproduction, which has, thus far, been the natural basis for the relations of family and wider kinship. To that the two sexes, male and female, remain fundamental, and will so remain, no matter what we call “marriage.” “Are you trying to say that their reproductive function shoehorns them into “one or the other”?” JCF, yes, basically. It’s not so… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

@Rick Allen: except, of course, Jesus.

It is all a question of significance. The fact that biological reproduction in humans takes place as the result of the merger of gametes, just as in almost all other animals and many plants, does not in and of itself commend itself to a discussion of the apparently solely human institution of marriage. There is no necessary connection between biological reproduction and marriage, and the complete absence of one has no effect on the reality of the other.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“But that doesn’t change the things themselves.”

Not as YOU define them, rick. You live by your definitions, I’ll live by mine, and to God alone be glory.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rick, yes, but this is becoming a tedious argument. Unless we disallow straight childless and childfree marriages, fostering, adoption and step parenting, and in particular the straight fertility industry that relies on egg and sperm donation, there is no single credible reason why gay couples should not be admitted to the state of marriage. Yes, it’s a novelty. Every change is initially new. That is not an argument against it. I think our real challenge in society is not to use the concept that marriage is (partly) for children as an argument for keeping out a small percentage of humanity… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“It’s what sex means.” I think this is a very important statement. Because what is actually happening is that a lot of people have always assumed that this is what sex means and they have never had to challenge their assumptions until now. We don’t ask about people’s thoughts about the deeper meaning of sex, we just assume that they have it when they are married and we overlay it with the meaning it has for us. Since the advent of contraception is should have become abundantly clear that for most of us the meaning of sex goes far far… Read more »

rick allen
Guest

“this is becoming a tedious argument.” Erika, it is indeed, and I have told myself I’m going to hereafter stay out of all this. In my defense I can only point out that my first comment didn’t reference marriage at all. Still and all, having made the mistake of piping up in the first place, I will at least try to extricate myself with some shred of dignity. My post was about one of the new dogmas that has appeared in support of our new revolution, this notion of two sexes being behind-the-times and a kind of Ptolemaic science. I… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rick, I suppose the question is whether we say there are two sexes and some accidental intermediates in between, or whether we say there is a sex that is expressed by being neither male or female. It’s a little like the homosexuality debate, where we used to believe that people are intrinsically straight and that those who deviate from that biological norm are abnormal. The prevalence of homosexuality in society has not changed but our interpretation of it has and we now see a certain percentage of homosexual people as the biological norm. So we have the choice to see… Read more »