Friday, 5 March 2010

Equality Bill: news reports

Updated

First, the Church Times has this report, written by me, on this week’s debate in the House of Lords, Religious bodies can host gay ceremonies, say peers.

Last week’s report, also by me, is now available to non-subscribers, see Civil partners: call for religious option.

This morning, Martin Beckford reports in the Telegraph that Harriet Harman could kill off ‘gay marriages in church’ plan.

In the same paper, Norman Tebbit writes about Why I tried to stop Lord Alli forcing through same-sex church ‘weddings’.

Update

Church Society has a press release, Religious Ceremonies for Civil Partnerships.

Changing Attitude has Changing Attitude’s goals and bishop’s changing attitudes.

Jonathan Bartley has Gay Church blessings and a crisis of faith: Fisking Damian Thompson.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 8:44am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

I see the Torygraph is now accepting articles from the planet Zog. A brief and dispiriting look at the comments beneath the article have furthered my Lenten self-mortification.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 12:13pm GMT

Indeed. Tebbit has the voting wrong (should be 95-21) and only one of the two bishops supported his viewpoint.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 12:35pm GMT

Tebbit repeats the canard that other religious bodies will be compelled to conduct civil partnership - indicating that he, like the Bishop of Winchester, is either dishonest or stupid. Indeed, I hadn't noticed before, but Lord Alli's amendment actually includes a specific clause to indicate that his amendment is permissive, not compulsory.

But this leads me to another question.

At some point, some poster made a comment to the effect that CofE clergy are compelled to solemnize any (conventional) marriage of people within their parish barring a legal impediment.

Surely that can't be correct. If a 60-year-old, five times divorced man with a history of spousal abuse turns up at the vicarage door with an 18-year-old girl from a dysfunctional family and asks to be married, surely the vicar has some discretion?

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 3:10pm GMT

Malcolm,
As the law stands,if the couple you mention have a legal right to marry in a parish church of the Church of England, then the incumbent can not say no. However, there are many ways to try and persuade people that a particular wedding maybe should not happen in that church. Of course they are free to marry somewhere else! the law takes very little notice of matters pastoral or moral. Also note that the right to marry in a particular place does not mean that the incumbent can be forced to conduct the service - he or she can not - under the 1965 marriage act.

Graeme Buttery

Posted by: Graeme Buttery on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 4:19pm GMT

So far as I know, the only discretion I would have, Malcolm, would be because the 60 year old was divorced.

I heard years ago of a case where the family asked the pp to intervene in a proposed marriage. He was a bachelor, she a widow. Sadly, her husband had committed suicide because of said lady's affair with said gentleman. But they lived in the parish, and no-one could find an obvious means of denying them their wishes.

Personally, I'm pleased it's like that. I'd HATE to have to adjudicate. But maybe I'm just irresponsible?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 4:30pm GMT

Surely that can't be correct. If a 60-year-old, five times divorced man with a history of spousal abuse turns up at the vicarage door with an 18-year-old girl from a dysfunctional family and asks to be married, surely the vicar has some discretion?

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 3:10pm GMT

The clergy are not obliged to marry any divorcees,so that rules many a parishioner out, these days.The vicar has the discretionary power to conduct the service though.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 5:12pm GMT

So then, have I got this right.

Provided there is no legal impediment, any couple are entitled to marry in the parish church, but the vicar is not obligated to preside?

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 6:34pm GMT

But that "Right to Marry" only COMES because the CofE is a State Church!

Surely, the answer is DISESTABLISHMENT, rather than denying ALL non-CofE religious groups the right to ***marry those couples that THEY choose***???

[I swear, the British talent for making a mountain out of a molehill, never fails to astonish this Yank (And yes, God knows that the US of A---and TEC---has *its* problems...)]

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 5 March 2010 at 8:07pm GMT

Church Society never issued a statement on divorce and re-marriage , because as Godly evangelicals they can't agree as to what the plain word of God says on this subject.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Saturday, 6 March 2010 at 7:41am GMT

Robert, thanks for your comment on Church Society.
What is your own Roman Catholic ruling on such things? For instance, what are the basic requirements for an annulment in Wales? And can someone who has receive the grace of an annulment go forward into another Church Wedding?
Just asking!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 6 March 2010 at 8:33pm GMT
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