Monday, 25 January 2010

Equality Bill: voting results on Clause 2

Updated twice Tuesday morning

All of the amendments proposed by Baroness O’Cathain and others were agreed today.

See here for what each amendment says.

Amendment 98 216-178 agreed by 38 votes

Amendment 99 agreed

Amendment 99A 174-195 disagreed by 21 votes (government amendment)

Amendment 100 177- 172 agreed by 5 votes

More details tomorrow. Eight bishops participated in these votes.

Updates

The Hansard record of the debate on the amendments of Baroness O’Cathain listed above starts here. The PDF version is over here.

Slightly earlier, the amendments of Lord Alli had been debated. That record begins here.

Official news report

Voting details:
Amendment 98
Amendment 99 - no division
Amendment 99A
Amendment 100

Press reports on all this are sometimes inaccurate on the voting figures. But here they are:

Telegraph Equalities Bill: Church leaders defeat Government over gay staff

BBC Government defeated three times over church gay plan

Reuters Government loses its Equality Bill faith proposals

Daily Mail Lords defeat for Harman over forcing churches to hire gays

Independent Peers defeat Government on church gay ban

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 25 January 2010 at 11:37pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

I'm dying to hear your take on the debate. In many ways it was quite ridiculous - with both sides saying they wanted to maintain the status quo. The pre-debate hoo-haa from, for example CCfON and David Skinner, about this being a showdown between the secular state and the church appeared to be just ever-so-slightly overblown when you listened to the debate: which boiled down to the inclusion or exclusion of "proportionality" (a principle accepted by both sides) and the meaning of "exists to". The whole thing was quite ridiculous, almost childish, on one level, but on another level there seemed to be hidden agendas and distrust.

I love listening to Archbishop Sentamu but I don't know why he felt the need to address the principle of religious freedoms when he accepted that the debate was about wording.

There was a great deal of vague disingenuity going on and the whole thing made me rather dispondent about our second chamber.

Posted by: Paul Walter on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 11:46am GMT

And another few hundred people quietly leave the church never to come back again.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 12:02pm GMT

I was told yesterday, that all of the Bishops who voted in the House of Lord about the abolition of slavery voted against it in the 19th Century. Is this true?

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 12:31pm GMT

So is it this, then?

A parish needs the services of a bookkeeper. A qualified candidate presents herself, and they are ready to contract with her. But then the whispers go round: "Oh, but we can't have *her* in; she lives with another woman, don't you know..." So she is told her services will not be required after all.

Thanks to the intensive lobbying of the senior Church of England bishops, is it now completely legal for the parish to do this?

Is this the "victory" the Church of England has just won?

I am sickened by this.

Posted by: Charlotte on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 2:17pm GMT

++York: ""But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organi[s]ations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions."

I love it when freedom to some means to retain the right to limit another's.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 3:09pm GMT

As I understand it the Archbishop of York is asking for no less than Legal Immunity for the Church. Just like Rome.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 3:59pm GMT

So it appears that all 8 bishops who voted at all voted against equality. So Tom Wright made the effort to get all the way to London from Durham, and John Sentamu all the way from York just to strike a blow against equality.

Isn't doing that a really deluded twist on what it means to be working for the Gospel of Jesus, who preached radical respect for the outcast? Travelling hundreds of miles just to stick the boot in and cast us out further wasn't anything Jesus had in mind, was it, or have I been following the wrong religion all these years?

What worries me as much is that there would appear to have been no bishops at all who turned up to vote for equality. Or have I missed something somewhere?

It is hard to believe that every bishop in the C of E is committed to official homophobia. Is the problem that the nicer bishops are so feeble they just can't be bothered to vote; or are they too scared that My Lords of Winchester and Durham will send in their private armies to deal with them? Oh no, that was hundreds of yeas ago, of course not, modern bishops wouldn't behave at all like their high-handed baronial mediaeval predecessors. How silly of me.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 6:06pm GMT

No Charlotte, that's not correct. The law, as it stands,does not allow discrimination even by a church on the grounds of sexual orientation, for posts such as bookkeepers.

What has happened here is that attempts by the government to clarify the law, so that everyone could see that this was the case, have been rebuffed by the Lords.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 6:11pm GMT

Erika I find your comment strange. Do you really think this would make someone abandon Christ? If so what does it say about their faith? Are you really advocating a church that never debates anything or says no to some things for fear of offending? If so that sounds like a very strange church that could never be salt or light.

What are you saying by mentioning attendance figures? I do understand you feel deflated and annoyed....am sorry about that. I know only to well how it feels (usually EVERY time Synod meets!!!)

For my money I think the decision was correct. We do not want too much interfering in life from government and, most every church i know, would appoint gay people to non priestly roles in any case. You may have lost a battle but you have won the war- certainly within the C of E. So pour a gin and put your feet up and wait a while!!

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 6:44pm GMT

Because, after all, we know that there are no LGBT people in senior positions in the CofE, the Roman Catholic Church, among the Baptists, ...

Posted by: peterpi on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 7:13pm GMT

"What has happened here is that attempts by the government to clarify the law, so that everyone could see that this was the case, have been rebuffed by the Lords."

Simon, what now happens vis-a`-vis the EU? Wasn't it an EU Commission "reasoned opinion" that found that the current UK law was non-compliant with the EU Employment Discrimination Directive? Surely just leaving the status quo will now lead to some EU response? Or do Ebor & Friends just think that the EU will now simply cease and desist from its troublesome interventions on the side of equality?

Posted by: David da Silva Cornell on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 7:40pm GMT

Simon: "The government tried to amend the bill so that exemptions to equality provisions applied only to those whose jobs "wholly or mainly" involved taking part in services or rituals, or explaining the doctrines of religion." Quotes mine, from the BBC News...so I would infer that this DOES cover Lay Clerks, Vicars Choral, etc..since our jobs 'wholly or mainly' involve taking parts in services or rituals...

A certain singer is going to be a 'ringer' in both Exeter and Durham next year...nah...they'd never listen, as they aren't any good at listening to begin with, except that they've been listening to us queer folk singing back to them for years..

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 7:53pm GMT

Well I'm a bit foggy when it comes to the Lords and Parliament - our own home grown USA Congress is plenty arcane, believe me - but this odd discussion/vote seems to have been more about perceptions and cover stories, than about the real meaning and effect of the tabled clarifications.

This leads me to an even odder passing bit, in which it looks like the nay saying Lords were unduly worried that having too much clarity about how the equality regs apply would further dispel the foggy niches in which various conservative sound bite creatures like to take wing and warble.

We are being persecuted for being religious, is one bright bird, whose territorial songs we seem to hear often, and distinctively. A relative creature is the trilling and brightly colored, If we don't mistreat and preach negatives about queer folks we are embracing immorality, bird.

Even rarer and more brightly colored is the elaborately feathered up bird relative, I'm a religious flat earther and proud of it when it comes to queer folks. Canterbury and York sometimes sound closely related to this genus.

The mating dances and calls of these fowl are distinctive and of more than passing interest when it comes to ecological niches and passing moments like these latest from the Lords.

Legislative concerns about hiring workers from among a range of competent candidates have just about flown right out the window; the air is so heavy and thick with the flurry of these imposing wings.

It's a convoluted tempest in a teapot, except that it is all about perpetuating a customary space within which to repeat false (and highly offensive) religious narratives about queer folks?

No matter what?

If I sojourn I shall have to very carefully select CoE services, alas, Lord have mercy. Truth be told, I sheepishly find the mating calls and behaviors of these Lordly creatures to be a bit distasteful and unseemly, and though I do try to keep a wide open mind, I actually have better things to do than watch them spin and call and dance in this admittedly distinctive mating season ritual. Guess I'm not all that called to Rare Birds Ornithology after all?

Truth and fairness left the room, quite a bit back, as I am hearing it after these facts. Only a compassionate deity could stay to stomach it all, still, flying around unnoticed among these odd beasties?

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 7:59pm GMT

"No Charlotte, that's not correct. The law, as it stands,does not allow discrimination even by a church on the grounds of sexual orientation, for posts such as bookkeepers.

"What has happened here is that attempts by the government to clarify the law, so that everyone could see that this was the case, have been rebuffed by the Lords."

That's good, at least. But why, then, the objection to clarifying the law? There's something here I don't understand.

Posted by: Charlotte on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 8:10pm GMT

I think Lord Alli's comments in Hansard are interesting

"What the law actually says is that an exemption is made for,

"a requirement related to sexual orientation".

Sexual orientation is not the same as having sex inside or outside of marriage. This is not semantics, and it is at the heart of what I am seeking to correct. Simply by being gay, the law allows religious organisations-in this case the employer-to sack a priest, in this case the employee. So even where a gay man takes a vow of celibacy, the law still allows for his dismissal. The law is not about adultery; it is not about sex outside of marriage; it is not even about gay sex. It simply allows for the dismissal of the individual for being gay. I am not sure that is what we intended when we wrote the Bill. It is like saying it is all right to be sacked for simply being black. How can that be right?"

As in the Jeffrey John case - a gay celibate is still a gay, and is still unacceptable.

Simon

Posted by: Simon Robert Dawson on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 8:45pm GMT

This is a fascinating farrago of vanity and deceptions.

I loved the moment when the former bishop of Oxford made the evidently unwelcome observation that the bishops were in fact arguing the government’s case …….
Winchester, York and cronies had obviously been advised that even with the government’s huge climb-down they were better off under the old dispensation, and as I have said elsewhere, the momentum of a certain defeat of the government as punishment for not consulting them was anyway sweeping them on, like lemmings, over the precipice.

My own view is that the government amendment would have given the bishops all they were asking for – and more. The price would have been some very rigid boundaries that would irk some.

I believe the bishops were badly advised and have cut off their nose to spite their face – Lord Lester compared them to turkeys voting for Christmas, as the dust settles and the whirlwind of hyperbole and confusion the Christian lobbyists threw up dies down there will be - regrets.

Earlier the government’s acceptance that some arrangement will have to be made to facilitate the signing of the Civil Partnership Register in a religious context was also very welcome.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 10:07pm GMT

Regardless of the House of Lords' defeat of the Government's intention towards the freedom of discrimination against the employment of LGBTs in the Church (influenced, in all probability, by the likes of their Lordships, Spiritual, of Chester, Winchester and York), there is still a faint possibility that the more Gospel-oriented Bishops of the Church of England may see fit to employ such a category of human beings in the service of their dioceses.

One would hope that not all Bishops of the C.of E. are so conservative as to insist on availing themselves of their legal right to discriminate against a class of people who, in all other respects, are seen to be fellow bearers of the divine Image and Likeness. Let's hope so anyway.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 11:29pm GMT

Charlotte
Why the objection to clarifying the law? Because the clarification on offer also threatens to limit the scope of the exemption for other posts which are much less clearcut. And the government, quite rightly in my view, doesn't wish to give them a wider exemption. Remember the church officials have been making the same argument since 2003, look back at this TA post, for example:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003813.html
That quotes the wording they originally asked for in 2003:

“Nothing in parts II to IV of these Regulations shall render unlawful anything done for the purposes or in connection with an organised religion so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion or avoid offending the religious susceptibilities of a significant number of its followers.”

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 11:39pm GMT

choirboy

That wording you are quoting is from the original draft of the bill, which is what Amendment 100 has now deleted. The wording that the government wanted to substitute for this, which has also been rejected now, was quite clearly not aimed at singers, that was Amendment 99A.

I can't take responsibility for what the BBC says.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 11:42pm GMT

David
The bishops do not appear to be very well versed (or perhaps it is not very well advised ) in European law. As Lord Lester of Herne Hill - and he IS an expert in European law - said in the next part of the debate:

I cannot resist making the observation that, in the Division, the Lords Spiritual managed to vote as turkeys for Christmas - if noble Lords will forgive me for saying so - by removing the new and magnanimous protection that they were given. Proportionality was taken out of the Bill, probably encouraging the European Commission to suggest that our statutory powers will infringe its own and lead to further trouble.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 11:45pm GMT

Simon: "Why the objection to clarifying the law? Because the clarification on offer also threatens to limit the scope of the exemption for other posts which are much less clearcut. And the government, quite rightly in my view, doesn't wish to give them a wider exemption."

So does this mean, then (to get back to my original example) that:

While the parish does not explicitly have the right under law to refuse to hire a bookkeeper because she is rumored to be a lesbian-

There is also no clear-cut law forbidding the parish to refuse to hire her on these grounds.

So that in certain parts of England the parish could get away with refusing to hire her, because the law continues to be murky on this point.

Whereas, if the law had been clarified, refusing to hire her would clearly have been unlawful discrimination, and the parish could not have rejected her application on the grounds that she was rumored to be lesbian.

???

Posted by: Charlotte on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 12:21am GMT

"We[church] do not want too much interfering in life from government..."

It's called separation of church and state and no established denomination on this side of the pond.

It has worked pretty well for us.

Not perfect, but nothing beneath the orbit of the moon is perfect [perhaps that view of the universe would be acceptable to ya'lls' conservative bishops].

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 12:28am GMT

I might be being a bit dense, but could you Simon, or someone else, confirm whether Lord Alli's amendment 119 re civil partnerships was passed or not?

in friendship, Blair

Posted by: Blair on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 12:37am GMT

Simon, I appreciate what you told Charlotte about churches hiring bookkeepers, but it seems to me that that is precisely what certain Lords Spiritual want: For churches to absolutely be able to decree whom they can hire and fire, right down to the lowest file clerk. Look at the silly and sensational headlines floating around the British press. I doubt all of those came from the over-eager minds of the copy editors. Some probably had some outside assistance in agitating the British masses.
I seriously doubt that Government is proposing that the RCC be forced to hire women as priests, for example, or that the CofE be forced to appoint Jews as bishops. But when it comes to acknowledging GLBT equality, no claim is ever too hysterical to be made.

Posted by: peterpi on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 1:31am GMT

Again, WHY are we in TEC trying to stay "in communion" with the unholiness that is the CofE leadership?

Good Heavens! This is ridiculous. Vicious, small, soulless men parading around as if they were medieval lords - men whose mediocrity would not be rewarded in any other field - and we believe they have anything to offer us? We have anything that they will accept?

The fact is, irrefutably, that our church, whatever the "corporate logo" attached to it, existed long before any ersatz "anglican communion" - a communion which has become coercive, therefore meaningless. The national churches don't depend on the communion for their validity, but the AC depends on the national churches for *its* validity. Take that validity away, build it with other churches, and let the "Lords Spiritual" squat in their stagnant pond 'til they die off without issue. Extend a hand to those disaffected in the CofE who want to join us - read *The Lead* and you'll see our worship might be quite nice to them!

As for "ecumenism" - imagine a communion that embraces more than just "Anglican!" Wow!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 4:31am GMT

Blair
No, the amendment was withdrawn. The government has undertaken to pursue the issue separately.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 8:06am GMT

Charlotte wrote:

There is also no clear-cut law forbidding the parish to refuse to hire her on these grounds.

So that in certain parts of England the parish could get away with refusing to hire her, because the law continues to be murky on this point.

Charlotte, the law is entirely clear with respect to bookkeepers. The law is entirely clear with respect to the clergy. Where the law is less clear is for posts that are in the middle ground, of which the "youth worker who teaches bible classes" is a favourite example.

The lack of clarity is to do with what jobs are covered.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 8:09am GMT

Simon,
but it goes beyond "the youth worker who teaches bible classes", doesn't it? I seem to remember Ekklesia carrying an article explaining that there is absolutely no employment protection for all teachers in all church schools.

So what are the likely legal consequences of this in terms of Europe now? Presumably, the legislation as it now stands cannot be upheld in the long run?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 10:46am GMT

I am told by Prof Andrew Linzey that my claim that bishops acted like lemmings is unfair to lemmings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemming

I have also had emails from other lemming activists who write that unlike bishops gay and lesbian lemmings are not discriminated against by their own kind.

I offer a profound apology to lemmings

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 12:00pm GMT

Neil -- what I have read (about Wilberforce) has said that the Bench of Bishops voted for slavery because it was endorsed by Scripture, but I have never seen the actual tallies (& it is curious, since bishops always used to vote the way the party that appointed them wanted -- bishops may get a private conscience only at the worst times ...)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 2:56pm GMT

Erika
Teachers in schools are a special category, and have their own special exemption in Schedule 22 of the Equality Bill.
This exemption is much wider in scope than anything in Schedule 9. It is not new. It has been in the School Standards and Framework Act (1998) for a long time now. Once again, the Equality Bill does not change current law, it merely reenacts it. Voluntary Aided faith schools are particularly seriously affected by this exemption. (VC schools escape the most stringent part.)

As the ACCORD consortium argues,

"The consequence is that—in contrast to other employers with a religious ethos—voluntary aided faith schools can appoint, remunerate and promote teachers on grounds of their religion, without needing to show its an occupational requirement. More shocking still, any teacher at a voluntary aided faith school can be dismissed for “conduct ...which is incompatible with the...tenets of the religion” of the school, even if they were not appointed on grounds of their religious beliefs, and even where the conduct only concerns the private life of the teacher.
Thus the religious requirements that can be imposed on a PE or maths teacher at a voluntary aided school go far beyond those that could be applied even to the chief executive of, for example, a Catholic adoption agency."

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 3:22pm GMT

Thank you PriorA. I was told the Bishops voted for slavery to a man (for the reasons you outline) - but hoped this could be verified by some of our well-read commentators here! It is not easily available info on the web...

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 4:00pm GMT

Thinking of the seven deadly sins, is it possible for people to be dismissed from voluntary aided faith schools on the grounds of excessive pride, or gluttony? Depression, maybe?

Posted by: Tony B on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 4:36pm GMT

I share Lord Lester's view. I think that the church is hoping that it can win employment tribunals, but the evidence is that they tend not to.

But it is strange given that the government amendment would have simply cemented the status quo which exists without the amendment...and wasn't this story badly reported?

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 4:41pm GMT

Martin Reynolds at 12:00 GMT, Bravo! That was quite good.
Do we know if ACNA or FiF has made any effort to establish an extra-provincial episcopal presence there to serve orthodox lemmings who are disaffected? Under Bishop Duncan, perhaps?

Posted by: peterpi on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 8:42pm GMT

oh are depression and gayness the two new sins (in no particular order) ?

When I was ordained being gay and in a relationship was no bar to ordination in the C of E.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 8:55pm GMT

The C of E bishops also kept the death penalty going and were thus responsible for many deaths. In the end humanitarian thinking defeated them and it will over human rights too.

No wonder church-going declined from the time they blocked the abolition of the death penalty onwards ...

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 8:58pm GMT

Bravo Ed T for so deftly sidestepping the obvious practical main point, that gilding our holier than thou traditional morality and holiness, based mainly upon our holding nasty-traditional (and flat earthed) beliefs about queer folks, with established leeway to repeat false witness against these very neighbors while somebody in power sacks them outright from employment for happening to be queer in the first place - is, well? - NOT actually a very good common sense witness to the gospel nor to Jesus of Nazareth whom we all profess to follow.

This modern occasion of hot scandal (especially in western democracies?) will hardly lessen, let alone fade completely. The animosities are way too clear for many to miss hearing their brute nastiness. Worse, the flat earthed contradictions are simply too deep for anybody listening who already knows a decent-caring-competent (and often believing?) queer person - real, live queer person - in daily life as family member, friend, coworker, classmate, sports teammate - and that list goes on, on, on, on.

I would best guess the Lords will come round, as others similar, only when it has completely ceased to matter as a hot button controversy in innumerable other minds and hearts. Wrapped up with a whimper of change, long after everybody else?

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 10:02pm GMT

"When I was ordained being gay and in a relationship was no bar to ordination in the C of E." (Rev. L. Roberts @ 272055ZJan10

Indeed, in some dioceses, I gather it was a requirement.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 5:05am GMT

Ed
Of course people don't abandon Christ. Are you suggesting that the Holy Spirit allows herself to be restricted to acting in the church, and even more limiting, in the anti gay sections of the church?

But whichever side of the debate you happen to be on in the lgbt wars, you might agree that it is hugely damaging if, time and time again, the church is seen as reactionary, conservative and actively working against what society considers to be human rights and human dignity. And it is even proud to be "counter cultural" and to stick to repression and exclusion, claiming them to be God given virtues.

Whether rightly or wrongly, being seen like that isn't going to do much for your attendance figures.

That doesn't mean that people abandon their faith! Round here, private prayer groups are flourishing, as are more inclusive housegroups where all views are represented and respected but where it is axiomatic that no-one is excluded from anything, and where people just get on with living with Christ in their daily lives.
They just don't bother with church any longer.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 8:44am GMT

For Neil:

"Clearly, merchants had the ears of a great many Parliamentarians in the House of Commons such as Colonel Banastre Tarleton (MP for Liverpool) and the Duke of Clarence (son of George III). A significant number of Bishops in the House of Lords were among those in favour of maintaining the slave-owning plantation system. They argued that any move to abolish the trade would result in planters being ruined or massacred. Their interest was substantial. When slavery was finally abolished in 1833, the Bishop of Exeter received £12,700 in compensation for his 655 slaves. "

http://www.blackhistorymonthuk.co.uk/freedom/black_abolitionists.html

On the hand, Bishop Porteus, who was Bishop of London, was a keen "abolitionst" and supporter of William Wilberforce:

http://www.culture24.org.uk/history+%2526+heritage/work+%2526+daily+life/race+and+identity/art49975

"Bishop Porteus first came to prominence as an abolitionist when he began preaching against the slave trade whilst serving as the Bishop of Chester. After several years of campaigning he became the Bishop of London in 1787 and quickly threw his weight behind the first Slave Trade Bill of 1788 from the benches of the House of Lords.

Years of preaching from the pulpit and debating in the House of Lords made Porteus a prominent supporter of men like William Wilberforce and Granville Sharpe when the Slave Trade Bill secured its eventual passage through Parliament in 1807."

Posted by: Paul Walter on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 11:00am GMT

Having viewed the list of voting bishops in this debate I was not surprised by the names. One might call them 'the usual suspects'. At least now we are publicly aware of His Grace the Archbishop of York's position. Will he plead his Ugandan roots or fear of prosecution under future laws of that land?

I am surprised that the Bishop of Liverpool, after his 'apology' to Dr Jeffrey John over the Reading fiasco, should continue to be numbered amongst this group. I am also saddened that more bishops, whom one might have thought more enlightened, did not stir themselves to be present and voting. Where was the Bishop of Southwark, who sat through so much of the debate on previous days? Where were the Affirming Catholic bishops, notably the Bishop of Salisbury? Shame on them all for allowing the Church of England to be portrayed in such an monochrome homophobic light.

Posted by: Commentator on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 4:59pm GMT

Neil: I think the Reform Bill controversy may be a better analogy. Many (all?) of the bishops held out valiantly against the onward march of democracy by means of voting against the enlargement of the electoral franchise.

Quite what Christian doctrinal motivation they had is difficult to comprehend nowadays; but it certainly led to a loss of credibility of the part of the Church of England amongst the working classes.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 5:10pm GMT

"When I was ordained being gay and in a relationship was no bar to ordination in the C of E." (Rev. L. Roberts @ 272055ZJan10

Indeed, in some dioceses, I gather it was a requirement.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 5:05am GMT.

No never a requirement - but you did need young men (and later not so young) to commit themselves to those 'inner city parishes' and 'sink estates' where married clergy and their (in those days) wives worried about their children's fresh air and schooling.

It is true a good number of the diocesan 'top brass' seemed to be gay too-- but we also had John Robinson and Hugh Montefiore

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 8:05pm GMT

Thanks Paul and Fr. M. Someone must have remembered Richard Burridge's talk about a year ago wrongly, for they said that all the bishops were in favour of retaining slavery because of biblical precedent. They needed to move on re that part of the Bible, just as they do on the present issue. Silly things they are.

Posted by: Neil on Friday, 29 January 2010 at 9:56pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.