Friday, 28 March 2014

Religious leaders express support for same-sex marriage

The Cutting Edge Consortium and the LGBTI Anglican Coalition have issued a joint press release and are holding a press conference today to announce a statement signed by a number of religious leaders expressing support for same-sex marriage.

The full press release is copied below the fold. The statement itself is quite short:

We rejoice that from tomorrow same-sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales.

As persons of faith, we welcome this further development in our marriage law, which has evolved over the centuries in response to changes in society and in scientific knowledge.

We acknowledge that some (though not all) of the faith organisations to which we belong do not share our joy, and continue to express opposition in principle to such marriages. We look forward to the time, sooner rather than later, when all people of faith will feel able to welcome this development.

Press Release EMBARGOED until 11 am Friday 28 March 2014

CUTTING EDGE CONSORTIUM
LGBTI ANGLICAN COALITION

Religious Leaders Support Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

A number of religious leaders have signed the statement below. A press conference and photo-call will be held at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ at 11 am on Friday 28 March 2014.

We rejoice that from tomorrow same-sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales.

As persons of faith, we welcome this further development in our marriage law, which has evolved over the centuries in response to changes in society and in scientific knowledge.

We acknowledge that some (though not all) of the faith organisations to which we belong do not share our joy, and continue to express opposition in principle to such marriages. We look forward to the time, sooner rather than later, when all people of faith will feel able to welcome this development.

List of Signatories
* denotes Friday attendance expected

Revd Steve Chalke
Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism*
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches*
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain *
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism*
Revd Sharon Ferguson, Senior Pastor, MCC North London*

Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham*
Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth, former Bishop of Oxford
Rt Revd Richard Lewis, former Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich*
Rt Revd Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester
Rt Revd John Saxbee, former Bishop of Lincoln
Rt Revd Michael Doe, Preacher to Gray’s Inn, former Bishop of Swindon*
Rt Revd David Gillett, former Bishop of Bolton
Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, former Bishop of Hulme
Very Revd Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans
Very Revd Jonathan Draper, Dean of Exeter
Very Revd Mark Bonney, Dean of Ely
Very Revd Lister Tonge, Dean of Monmouth
Very Revd Mark Beach, Dean of Rochester

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The Cutting Edge Consortium is an alliance of faith-based LGBTI-supporting organisations, trade unions, and others united in challenging faith-based groups to promote equality and human rights.
More information at https://sites.google.com/site/cuttingedgeconsortium1/about-us

2. The LGBTI Anglican Coalition provides UK-based Christian LGBTI organisations with opportunities to create resources for the Anglican community and to develop a shared voice for the full acceptance of LGBTI people.
More information at
http://www.lgbtac.org.uk/

3. If you are planning to attend the press conference on Friday it would be helpful to let Anne van Staveren at Friends House know. Annev@quaker.org.uk.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 11:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

Wow! Especially to those still in post in C of E!

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 12:30pm GMT

A splendid list of signatures. I just wish a serving Bishop or two would add their names to the 'former bishops'!

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 1:57pm GMT

PS I know Alan Wilson has and we rejoice in his support but he must feel lonely

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 1:58pm GMT


Thank you dear friends.

God Bless you all.

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 2:14pm GMT

Respect to Steve Chalke for signing this. With his constituency, it takes guts.

Always a pleasure to see Alan Wilson.

But where, oh where, is the signature of self-professed equal marriage supporter Nicholas Holtam?

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 2:19pm GMT

If you go to the Bishop of Salisbury's website and look up Media you will see that he issued a statement yesterday congratulating those who will enter into same sex marriages.

Posted by: Tim Newcombe on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 4:08pm GMT

The signature of every member of the House of Bishops is on their infamous letter. Unless they publicly and unequivocally say otherwise.

Posted by: Turbulent Priest on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 4:13pm GMT

Two reps from Wales!
Diolch!

The Welsh bishops have welcomed equal marriage without a comment, not even a whisper, and certainly no guidance. Of course our Canons do not have the force of law...

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 4:17pm GMT

Well done, Richard Lewis! He was always a top bishop!

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 5:01pm GMT

The notes on the media release by the Bishop of Salisbury congratulating same-sex couples who will get married are longer than the text itself.

One must read the fine print. The C of E has not changed its homophobic and sexist teaching on marriage being between one man and one woman, again not seeming to recognize the difference between civil and religious marriage. (There is no mention of transgender. It might take the church a few more decades to recognize transgender.) Lay same-sex couples who get married can only be offered blessings. Marriage is forbidden in the church. The third note is totally unrelated and gives the numbers of couples who marry and have entered into civil partnerships.

Most interesting, however, is that in the message, the Bishop of Salisbury calls same-sex couples getting married a new reality, as if there had no been no ongoing discrimination and exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. This is something new so the church can take its time dealing with it, apparently. There is no ongoing injustice in the church but only a new social phenomenon of people coming out fo the closet.

What a lovely advertisement for the C of E!


Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by: Gary Paul Gilbert on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 7:10pm GMT

Sarum 4 Manchester Nil

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 9:27pm GMT

Describing the conscientious views of others as e.g. "infamous" does not help the discussion - a discussion I hope those on either side, not least the extremes on either side, might allow to be courteously continued. In this respect I very much stand with the Archbishop of Canterbury. A liberal Anglican, I welcome civil unions when as intended also in the marriage of a man and a woman, there is "mutual society, help, and comfort...both in prosperity and adversity", faithfulness and commitment. However, I believe (as does the Book of Common Prayer, our standard) that the marriage of a man and woman is also "for the procreation of children" (even though, of course, some marriages will be childless). It seems to me that therefore a civil union and a marriage cannot be equivalent. Furthermore, in old age, as an honorary chaplain still meeting dozens of hospital patients every week, sick in mind or body, or infirm, some dying, and often family members, and living in retirement in a city where despite considerable prosperity, there is also a good deal of poverty, many fatherless households, loneliness, the never easily solved situation of indigenous people, and in general considerable societal breakdown and disorder, I think there are other issues that deserve more of our attention rather than what seems to me a never-ending obsessive concern in the Church with this one issue however important it is to some.

Posted by: John Bunyan on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 9:59pm GMT

Tomorrow is a special and precious day, and may God bless those who are dedicating their continuing lives together, and bless their precious love. In the end, that's at the heart of it all: love, and dedication.

It seems like our society has matured enough to celebrate that love, and its public and social recognition in marriage, regardless of gender.

Welcome to the new norm, which is actually the old norm, extended and enriched, in a generosity and acceptance.

Hopefully the Church will come to understand and embrace this new norm as well, as it already does in various places, and reflect the values and acceptance already there in the pews, where ordinary church members have friends and relatives who are gay, and must reflect the societal acceptance of gay and lesbian marriage that is already the majority view in this country.

At the very least, the Church needs to stop acting and talking as if opposition to gay sex and marriage was the consensus of the Church, when everyone knows that more and more members want to welcome gay and lesbian couples into their communities, not treat them differently.

On this happy day, the simplicity and the normality of couples who love each other, and want that love shared and acknowledged by their communities, and recognised as marriage... is wonderful, lovely and awesome.

This is people's lives, their intimacies, their sacrifices.

It is so precious.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 10:16pm GMT

What a wonderful display of Christian solidarity with the outcast and marginalised of the Church!
The spiritual leadership given by serving Deans, Bishops and former Bishops of the Church of England must give heart to the LGBT community of Faith that has longed for ecclesial recognition of their acceptance by God and God's Church.

May their sterling efforts be rewarded with a positive response from both Church and Society.
(And may Dean Jeffrey John soon be accorded episcopal responsibility - together with those women of the Church who have been overlooked.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 11:28pm GMT

"Very Revd Lister Tonge, Dean of Monmouth"

Good heavens! When "Lister Tonge" has been w/ us here at TA, I always thought it was pseudonym! [I, the Ignorant Yank, thought it sounded so Dickensian. My bad! :-X]

Many thanks to the signatories (esp. Very Revd Tonge): may their numbers increase! Mazel Tov to all the marrying couples...right about now! :-D


[@John Bunyan: your post was both most unexpected (from you) and very sad (to me personally). I guess the lesbian couple I know, where one woman carried the child created from her wife's egg doesn't count as "marriage...'for the procreation of children'" for you? Furthermore, I guess the fact that same-sex couples WANT to be legally ***"married"*** (quote-unquote) counts for nothing either? :-(]

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 1:16am GMT

I'm up early this morning, partly to watch the qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, partly because I slept badly owing to a nagging worry that my marriage had been undermined overnight by Sandy Toksvig, and somehow nothing will ever be the same between my wife and I. I shall listen to the lunchtime repeat of The News Quiz with some trepidation, as her voice is but a sign of the end times in which we are now living.

We must think today of Andrew and Camilla Symes, whose marriage will need our support and sympathy to survive in its now reduced, degraded and diminished form. Poor Andrew: now same-sex marriage is legal, he must be worrying every day that his wife is going to leave him for a woman who has better collection of power tools, and dear Camilla is even now scanning his wardrobe of clerical garb for the appearance of a pair of leather chaps. And we must also think of Andrea Minichiello Williams, who is this very morning struggling with the twin realisations that her prayer did not avail her (perhaps her God, in fact, rather likes happy people marrying? I know, just a crazy thought) and that their CD collection has overnight been replaced with a copy of Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville and two Kylie compilations.

An injustice righted, couples celebrating, decent people happy, narrow-minded obsessives discomfited. It's hard to see a downside, really.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 6:55am GMT

Well said John Bunyan, you absolutely nailed it for me

Posted by: Stephen on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 7:22am GMT

What worries me about John Bunyan's definition of Marriage (above) is when, at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, there will be no sex or gender agenda anymore. Whatever will heterosexual couples do? Maybe, as St Paul advised, it would be better for all of us to remain single.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 9:05am GMT

Today is a happy day for human rights; Archbishop Justin and Bishop Nicholas both recognise this, yet as long as their own clergy are not counted in their congratulations, their good wishes for same-sex couples are disingenuous and hypocritical. Now the bishops need to publicly rescind the brutal Valentine's Day Pastoral Guidance and ensure that no clergy will be disciplined or intimidated for entering into a same-sex marriage.

Possibly too much to ask, but it's a demand that needs to be made.

Posted by: Tim Moore on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 9:08am GMT

The bishop of Salisbury's statement is bizarre - the notes undo whatever goodwill it might have encouraged. Meanwhile +Welby also plays his game of double speak - say one thing and do another. I am still waiting for the deeds towards LGBT folk which will show how the church has repented its homophobia, though I am not holding my breath. I would like to feel enthusiastic about these small steps towards LGBT people but until I see something concrete I will remain sceptical and just see it as a PR game.

Posted by: sjh on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 9:49am GMT

As a gay Anglican, I have been with my partner one for 38 years. Thank God that the Anglican hierarchy still has bishops, priests and deacons who have the courage of their convictions, and are willing to add their signatures to this statement. I sincerely hope and pray that it will not be long until the Anglican Church feels able to bless gay relationships.

Posted by: Michael Ardern Mason on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 10:14am GMT

Today is a wonderful day of realisation of many years of prayers and labours. The supportive statements are a wonderful antidote to the negativity down the years that Churches have seen fit to throw the way of gay people without much of a thought as to whether that was a good idea or of the impact it had but I think those attitudes are, ever so slowly, slipping away. And that's a very good thing.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 11:01am GMT

Bishop Alan could be in trouble... is this another David Jenkins moment?

Alan is under oath to defend the whole doctrine of the Church, not just pick and choose the theological and moral beliefs he teaches: "Will you teach the doctrine of Christ as the Church of England has received it, will you refute error, and will you hand on entire the faith that is entrusted to you?"

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 12:41pm GMT

sjh, I believe Nicholas Holtam wanted to make clear his support for equal marriage again without pretending that this represents the official position of the House of Bishops. I think more bishops should be encouraged to speak out in this way.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 12:48pm GMT

John Bunyan writes: "However, I believe ... that the marriage of a man and woman is also 'for the procreation of children' (even though, of course, some marriages will be childless)."

So procreation is foundational to marriage - except when it isn't. Well, thanks for sorting that out -_-

"It seems to me that therefore a civil union and a marriage cannot be equivalent."

This "therefore" is misplaced. What does procreation have to do with sexual orientation? Are you confusing homosexuality with sterility? As JCF says, some lesbian couples do indeed marry "for the procreation of children". So, too, do some gay men - I think of a close friend of mine who has never undergone hysterectomy and is trying to get pregnant with his boyfriend. So it's a non sequitur to say that marriage is necessarily tied to procreation and "therefore" by definition heterosexual: heterosexuals don't have the market cornered on procreation!

Unless you're saying that civil partnerships should be for childless and/or infertile couples (gay or straight) and marriage for those (gay and straight) open to procreation?

Posted by: Geoff on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 4:04pm GMT

Are you saying that using technology to fertilise an egg is the same as what used to be called a good of the estate of marriage, the result of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who made vows before God? This sounds close to Brave New World logic.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 6:55pm GMT

@ cseitz. My friends' son's name is Cameron.

And Yes.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 1:19am BST

"Are you saying that using technology to fertilise an egg is the same as what used to be called a good of the estate of marriage, the result of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who made vows before God?"

If this was directed to me, no: I have not said anything about in vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technologies, which in any case are hardly a lesbian purview. What I am saying is that something is either a "good of the estate" or it isn't. Too many militant advocates of heterosexuality treat marriage as one of those "irregular verbs" - "I enter into an honorable estate, you reject God's design, they are setting up the plot of Brave New World!"

Posted by: Geoff on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 2:14am BST

"Are you saying that using technology to fertilise an egg is the same as what used to be called a good of the estate of marriage"

Are you saying that a heterosexual couple who conceive via IVF are not "real" parents?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 8:30am BST

Is your point that technological devices alter forever the moral and creational dimension of human existence in Christ? Technology now puts a thumb on the scale that makes the material and creational realites incidental to what really matters: our alleged intentions and access to technologies.

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 2:35pm BST

"Technology now puts a thumb on the scale that makes the material and creational realites incidental to what really matters ... "

You're missing the word "other" here. What could technologies possibly be but "material and creational [sic] realities"?

Posted by: Geoff on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 3:21am BST

The creational act of man and woman within the thick description of Christian marraige is now made equivalent to recently confected technologies to which any with funds have access. They are both creational! This is marraige equality's claim in respect of procreation as a good of the estate of marraige. 'Equality' as a term would appear now to require this equivalence. Ranged alongside each other as equals are now married couples procreative acts, as created male and female, and all others which can find their way to this end -- should they so wish or if they have the means -- for begetting children.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 2:11pm BST

Dr. Seitz:

Either begetting children is a good in and of itself or it is not. The manner and means of so doing is irrelevant.

Again I am reminded of lines from "Inherit the Wind" (paraphrasing from memory):

Drummond: All this begetting, it was done pretty much the same way we do it today?

Brady: I do not think your scientists have improved it any....

But, today, some 90 years after the events portrayed in that play, we have indeed improved on it, so that the formerly infertile and those who were born with a different orientation can "beget" as well as anyone else.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 9:43pm BST

"The manner and means of so doing is irrelevant."

Thank you for the breath-taking character of your candor. The Christian tradition under full assault and without any adverbs to distract.

I have written on this topic from a number of angles and at present am preparing a paper for a conference that must deal with where we now are -- not the Luke Johnson approach of late 90s; or the earlier 'we can make the Bible say that Sodom was not what Jude thought' or Paul was talking about cult prophets (Bernadette Brooten and others rejected that tout court).

Now we have the "The manner and means of so doing is irrelevant" leveling of anything like the Christian consensus throughout time.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 11:20pm BST

"I think there are other issues that deserve more of our attention rather than what seems to me a never-ending obsessive concern in the Church with this one issue however important it is to some."

Justice is the business of all.

I don't know about your culture, but here in the US the anti-gay people are also the anti-poor, anti-public school, anti-universal healthcare crowd.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 3:30am BST

Dr. Seitz:

Are you then saying that children begat by IVF (or some other means still to be developed in the future) are less children of God than those begat by "traditional" methods? All those couples dealing with infertility struggling to become parents are deluding themselves because the manner of their begetting is inappropriate and will not result in the "good" of children blessed by God?

Has it ever occurred to you, at all, on any topic, that the "Christian consensus through time"--being a product of human nature--might actually be wrong? That the Holy Spirit continues to speak to us even today, telling us that new science, new technologies, even new thoughts regarding the nature of human sexuality are not only not evil, but blessings from God?

BTW, "the Christian consensus through time"--at least until the early 20th Century--was that all creatures were the result of "special creation," that evolution did not happen. Are you denying the reality of the basis for all modern biology and medicine, because it does not align with "the Christian consensus through time"?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 3:37pm BST

It is the idea of leveling the basic procreative structure of male-female so that it is simply one of several same-level options that I confess to find chilling.

And no, I do not hold to a Whig account of history and nor am I an Hegelian idealist or Marxist.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 5:30pm BST

"It is the idea of leveling the basic procreative structure of male-female so that it is simply one of several same-level options that I confess to find chilling. "

Why? Why is it "chilling"? Explain your reaction so we can understand it.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 6:48pm BST

PS -- You might take a look at Edward J. Larson's 'Summer for the Gods' which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in the late nineties. A brilliant evaluation of the romanticism of things like 'Inherit the Wind' and the effect on American culture.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 7:36pm BST

In Matthew 19 Christ appealed to the protological purpose of God. He did not appeal to Whiggish progressivism. He did not appeal to the Holy Spirit doing a new thing. He appealed to God's purpose at time's origin, for time.

To range this alongside what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) is to consumerize and technologize procreation.

What I find chilling is that you don't see this (I don't see anyone else defending this).

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 11:26pm BST

"Thank you for the breath-taking character of your candor. The Christian tradition under full assault."

Please explain why in vitro fertilisation is anti-Christian?

I think you are confusing what is Christian with what you are used to.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 2:32am BST

"In Matthew 19 Christ appealed to the protological purpose of God. He did not appeal to Whiggish progressivism. He did not appeal to the Holy Spirit doing a new thing. He appealed to God's purpose at time's origin, for time.

To range this alongside what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) is to consumerize and technologize procreation.

What I find chilling is that you don't see this (I don't see anyone else defending this). "

Oh, I see it...I just don't believe it's a bad thing. We have "technologized" (and there's an awkward neologism) many things in the modern world and with good results--communication, medicine, transportation, to name just three. Why is it "chilling" for procreation to be so changed...as long as we maintain adequate moral and ethical strictures about it (no eugenics, if you please).

Do you believe that God's purpose is ever-unchanging? Or that the humans who wrote Genesis or, for that matter, even Matthew 19, understood it completely? I don't--which is why I accept the idea that the Spirit continues to urge us to look at Scripture in the light of modern understandings and not those of the Bronze Age or even the First Century AD.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 3:39am BST

"To range this alongside what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) is to consumerize and technologize procreation."

I presume you advocate the refusal of all medical treatment. After all, it's just what technology can do (with those with the means to access it) to consumerize and technologize illness and death.

But hey: if Christians want to go out and stump for the position that all fertility treatment and, by extension, medical treatment for other conditions is wrong and un-Christian, they are entirely welcome to do so. They won't look mad at all.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 11:03am BST

The issue isnt whether technology can do great things. It can and does. At issue is leveling creational verities so given by God in order to declare them incidental to preferences and purposes of our own.

Jesus speaks from the NT, including Matthew 19. The church takes guidance from that reality.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 1:50pm BST

You need a richer account of time. Proust and Faulkner and Marx and Hegel and Whiggish accounts are but a sample. There is also Qoheleth and Jesus Christ and St. Paul.

The Third Reich had a very specific view of time that came from Hegel and assumed progress and inevitable elimination of racial defects. Other options existed.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 4:56pm BST

"The Third Reich had a very specific view of time that came from Hegel and assumed progress and inevitable elimination of racial defects. Other options existed. "

Aha! Godwin's Law prevails even on Thinking Anglicans!

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 9:28pm BST

Godwin's was already at work in the idea that my comments were anti-technology -- a wilfull confusion of my concern about the leveling of male-female procreation, so as to make it but one 'species' of how to procure children. Even the Ward-Rogers view of same sex relating does not do this.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 3 April 2014 at 2:25pm BST

Dr. Seitz:

Clearly you do not understand Godwin's Law:

Godwin's law (or Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies)[1][2] is an Internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1" [2][3]—​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism. [per Wikipedia]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law
No one used a Nazi reference or comparison in regard to your stance about technology. The first person to bring up the Third Reich was you.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 2:18am BST

You consistently turned a point about the created male-female procreative role into anti- technology. I put that down to a flat-footed account of time, in which Jesus appeal to Genesis is insufficiently 'modern'.

You might spend some time reflecting on what a whig account of time entails.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 1:50pm BST
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