Sunday, 11 September 2005

yet more from ND on CP

I have previously linked to earlier articles on Civil Partnerships in New Directions by Nicholas Turner. Now here is the latest, from the September 2005 issue: Blessings of silence.

The same issue also has What did they mean? by Gerry O’Brien who:

was not happy with the House of Bishops’ statement on Civil Partnerships, viewing it as too subtle and convoluted by half. He preferred the more forthright response of Archbishop Akinola

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 11 September 2005 at 11:52pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

The two articles from New Directions are themselves an example of the opposing views with respect to CPs.
The one argues Pete Broadbent’s view that they are a “non-category” or “nonsense category” made clear by the fact they have no declarations or vows to give context and real expression to what is happening. Thus, as a silent nothing they only qualify for a silent response (and not I assume intended as Prayerful or affirming in the Quaker sense!)
While the other says Akinola is right to see CPs as gay marriage in all but name and the CofE is wrong for not clearly recognising this fact and taking a stand against them rather than just standing silently aloof.
Holding the first view will soon qualify you for exclusion from the new Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 12 September 2005 at 12:32pm BST

I think Nicholas Turner's criticism is unfair and disingenious. Remember the history of this legislation.

The partnership procedure was originally proposed to rectify longstanding unfairness in current legislation surrounding, for example, pension rights, rules for inheritance, "next of kin" rights in hospital visiting etc. The Church itself said in its response that this legislation is necessary and would lead to greater justice and fairness. But the Church also said that there would be problems if this partnership was seen to copy marriage too closely.

The Government therefore produced a partnership register based on an economic agreement to rectify the legal/financial financial problems. At the request of the Church any attempt at making concurrent vows or having a religious content was to be banned.

So is it fair for Nicholas Turner to criticise the procedure as being only economic, and having no vows or religious content?

In practise gay people will sign the parnership register to gain the economic safeguards, and then they will do what they have done since the early years of the Church; find a friendly priest, create a ceremony, invite their family and friends. It is then that they will create "what philosophers call ‘a performative utterance.’" with real meaning.

Simon

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Tuesday, 13 September 2005 at 9:29am BST

"a partnership register based on an economic agreement to rectify the legal/financial financial problems" - if only it were so!

There are many categories of people who would welcome such an arrangement - siblings sharing a house, people caring for relatives, for example - which would only put them on a par with what rich people can organise for themselves with the help of accountants and lawyers.

The very reason why civil partnerships are being viewed as gay marriage is precisely because so many people have been excluded from them because sexuality has effectively been written into the nature of the partnership, by imposing Affinity exclusions.

Turner's article is simply silly. Of course there is no service of blessing or celebration when people sign legal documents for a mortgage or even a business partnership. But what the government has created is not some new type of legal document, as the intention of the Act makes perfectly clear in the restrictions imposed on who may benefit. It is a direct analog of civil marriage provided for same-sex couples.

Posted by: Vincent Coles on Tuesday, 13 September 2005 at 11:28am BST
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