Comments: Equality Bill: revised amendment on civil partnerships

I understand this is still all to play for, and the attitude of the Conservative and Labour groups in the Lords as well as the Bishops could be crucial. Could I urge any readers who agree with us (Quakers etc) to lobby any Peers they know, especially in those two groups, in the next 24 hours?

The revised amendment (I hope) alleviates the concerns of some thinking Anglicans that a liberal vicar might try to force the hand of a conservative bishop by "just doing it". Whether or not that would be a good thing, it is NOT what the Quakers and the other 2 denominations are seeking. It might be good to stress this point to any wavering peers.

Posted by Iain McLean at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 11:31am GMT

Simon - can you explicate more?
As you have reported it it seems to say that civil partnerships can be contracted in other premises than those registered for civil marriages - so a hotel could be licensed for the one and not the other, I presume.

And then at the same time while the civil partnership is being signed there can be no religious service.

But does this mean that if, say, a liberal Jewish Synagogue decided it wanted to be a place for the registering of the civil partnership it could apply to become that, and that therefore, in theory, immediately after the signing of the partnership (in other words, at the END of the contracting of the civil partnership) a religious ceremony could follow immediately? And if I have read this right, would that satisfy what our Quaker, Jewish and Unitarian friends are wanting?

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 11:42am GMT

That the Church of England attempts to control the choices of other gay-affirming religious bodies gives the lie to its claim that it is only upholding religious freedom. The Church of England -- or, rather, the evangelicals who control it -- want the freedom to dictate their religious views to the rest of the nation.

Well, they were the same under Cromwell, and they were the same in Winthrop's Massachusetts Bay Colony, too. They didn't just dictate to Quakers in those days; they whipped them out of the settlement. Will the Church of England be seeking that "right" next?

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 1:39pm GMT

'The Church of England -- or, rather, the evangelicals who control it -- want the freedom to dictate their religious views to the rest of the nation.' (Quote)

I hope this is not true but it may be for all I know. Or it may come to pass in the future- but it is hard for me to credit it. I thought the C of E with all its many and glaring faults, still had a liberal-ish base and pluralistic approach to doctrine, ethics and worship.

Perhaps I am simply engaging in wishful thinking ?

I try to practise this kind of way myself and fin most people pretty open to various spiritual approaches. Most can't stand heavy doctrinaire approaches of the We-Know-What's-Good-for-You vreity --- whether Evo or Anglo -- I find.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 5:05pm GMT

'The Church of England -- or, rather, the evangelicals who control it -- want the freedom to dictate their religious views to the rest of the nation.' (Quote)

I hope this is not true but it may be for all I know. Or it may come to pass in the future- but it is hard for me to credit it. I thought the C of E with all its many and glaring faults, still had a liberal-ish base and pluralistic approach to doctrine, ethics and worship.

Perhaps I am simply engaging in wishful thinking ?

I try to practise this kind of way myself and fin most people pretty open to various spiritual approaches. Most can't stand heavy doctrinaire approaches of the We-Know-What's-Good-for-You variety --- whether Evo or Anglo -- I find.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 5:05pm GMT

Thank goodness for those who wrote in The Guardian and for Lord Alli and Lady Butler-Sloss and colleagues. They, one might hazard, Cyrus-like, are doing the work of G-d and the kingdom of heaven. Filling the terrible vacuum left by the authorities of the C of E who SHOULD have ministered to lesbian and gay people and provided for this special community so treasured by G-d.

I understand that the Church of England was expressly Called to serve lgbt people in prophetic and costly ways and has failed to -- it has preferred Jonah-like to slink away from the Call, and sulkily ignore the Divine Imperative.

Obviously, Love is now trying the House of Lords, as it has before and also the Commons for the civil welfare of gays and now for the spiritual welfare too. Along with those excellent sign-posts to Infinity, the Liberal shuls, the Unitarian & free Christian Churches and the Society of Friends.

The whole work of G-d in bringing lesbian and gay people out of the old egypt of oppression and obloquy, into the Land of PROMISE OF CIVIL RIGHTS and spiritual emancipation is wonderful to behold ! Tragic that the C of E should have so shamelessly opposed it, when so well placed to answer the divine vision, having so many lgbt parishoners and ministers and bishops.

I have experienced such fellowship, kindness and consideration from lesbians, gays, Jews, Unitarians and Quakers over the years that this development seems quite natural.

Even the Plymouth Brethren are seeing sense more and more these days and opening their hearts and minds -- in that order !

Nehemiah 8:10

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 5:40pm GMT

I remember how the registrar's 'assistant' almost had apoplexy at our Civil Partnership when she caught sight of my Testament Newydd, urging me to put it away ! I thought that quite inappropriate but strangely funny and heart warming the idea that the avoidance of a word "God" will keep G-d out strikes me as rather ludicrous -- as if G-d were at the beck and call of our syntax and vocab !!

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 5:48pm GMT

“No religious service is to be used while the civil partnership registrar is officiating at the signing of a civil partnership document”

I wonder how narrow this is. You could have a religious element, then the signing which is just that (perhaps even the registrar needs to sit in a spare room until the signing), then carry on with the religious element... No?

It looks like it traps an clergy who are also able to do the registering, but on the other hand he or she could do the religion, then pause to do the signing, then do the religion again.

I suppose the amendment isn't to trap clergy but to keep the partnership signing itself civil. I don't think this is right. I think the signing should be a religious act.

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 5:55pm GMT

‘Well, they were the same under Cromwell, and they were the same in Winthrop's Massachusetts Bay Colony, too. They didn't just dictate to Quakers in those days; they whipped them out of the settlement. Will the Church of England be seeking that "right" next?”--Charlotte

Don’t forget the Quakers who were hanged on Boston Common by the Calvinists in the 1650s.

Posted by Kurt at Monday, 1 March 2010 at 6:43pm GMT

What a ghastly failure of nerve!!

I wonder who were the major influences among the C.of E. House of Bishops who brought pressure to bear on the movers of the amended Amendment? I hope their names are published and noted by all who favour the abolition of the abiding sin of homosphobia in the Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 2 March 2010 at 12:45am GMT

"...but on the other hand he or she could do the religion, then pause to do the signing, then do the religion again."

We do this - not in the context of civil unions but of doing board business - when the board on which I sit, which does business for a second board during the same meeting, changes its hat. We stand up, then we sit down again as the other board. When it's time to return to the matters of the first board, we stand up and sit down as the previous board. Quite liturgical. I recommend this.

Posted by Lois Keen at Tuesday, 2 March 2010 at 2:47am GMT
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