Comments: House of Lords defeats Lord Dear by large margin

So, no bishop with enough gumption to vote against the wrecking amendment then?... What a surprise! The House of Bishops isn't known for its spiritual courage, is it?

Anne B

Posted by Anne Brooke at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 8:54pm BST

Who was not present? Beside York?

Posted by Ann at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 9:26pm BST

did Canterbury really speak against the amendment and then vote for it?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 9:31pm BST

From the Guardian:
But Welby criticised Lord Dear, the former chief constable of West Midlands police, who is attempting to kill off the bill by tabling an amendment that would decline to give it a second reading. The archbishop said of the Dear amendment, which is due to be put to a vote on Tuesday : "Personally, I regret the necessity of having to deal with the possibility of a division at this stage on a bill passed by a free vote in the other place [the House of Commons]."

I took this to mean that Welby would vote against the Dear amendment or abstain. I guess that was naïve.

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 9:40pm BST

You're right of course, AnneB, but I find myself ready to gratefully acknowledge the abstainers, anyway. Baby steps.

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 9:41pm BST

Anne, actually supporting the amendment was 'the gumption' I.e they weren't in favour of the bill simply passing through in its current wording. This was their protest! For those that stood, keep standing!

Posted by Deoninbris at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 10:03pm BST

"The House of Bishops isn't known for its spiritual courage, is it?"

What I don't understand, as an outsider, is who the bishops are pandering to. There's not even a majority against same-sex marriage in the CofE itself.

You could understand it if they were Conservative MPs, voting against their better judgement in order to shut up their backswoodman local association. If the self-appointed "pastors" of independent churches that meet in school halls had seats in the Lords, the attitudes of the "pastors" would match the attitudes of their congregation, both lacking a certain nuance.

But I can't believe that educated men like this are actually hate-filled homophobes, and I can't believe that they have a seething mass of parishioners demanding that they pretend to be. I think they genuinely believe in their nonsense, that gay marriage is going to encourage people to go the gay way [1], or that vague arguments about non-consummation are proof of something other than a prurient interest in other people's sex lives. That the only people who care about non-consummation are a few Catholics who presumably aren't likely to be having same-sex marriages in the first place seems to pass them by (when was the last time a marriage was annulled because of non-consummation?)

Justin Welby has revealed that his CofE plans to tack right, to pander to the most conservative elements in the church. That is unlikely to end well.


Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 10:18pm BST

Like others I took it Canterbury would not support Dear.

What do you think of this disaster Iain?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 10:37pm BST

This vote is truly seismic. Labour Lords have been predicting this kind of result for some time. However the Telegraph and Tory antis honed in on the Lords "mauling" the bill - or even throwing it out.

The Lords may of course amend the bill. Here I would say that the opponents have badly played their hand and should have put more energy into amendments. The majority for the bill is so large that the opponents may not get much leverage.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 10:39pm BST

There were many voices in the HofL this evening saying the same as Craig Nelson.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 11:04pm BST

Paul Waugh reports that the breakdown of votes on Dear's wrecking amendment was:
For/Against: Conservative peers 66-80, Labour peers 16-160, LibDem peers 2-73, Crossbench peers 46-68, Bishops 9-0, Others 9-9

In every party the wrecking amendment had majorities against.

But the bishops voted for it nem con.

This does not augur well for their future in a reformed House of Lords. It is not only that they are out of touch. It is not only that they voted against freedom for those outside their own church. It is also that to vote against further debate was widely criticised by peers as an inappropriate step for members of an unelected revising chamber.

Posted by badman at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 11:43pm BST

Martin (and all). Just mystified. But agree it is the worst possible outcome for CofE Central. However unlike in 1832 (the last equally disastrous call) the Abc's coach will not be attacked in the streets of Canterbury

Posted by Iain McLean at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 11:45pm BST

One small crumb of comfort from this dismal tally is that it might be construed that the five bishops who dissented from their colleagues were actually against the wrecking amendment but did not wish to embarrass their colleagues by stating so openly. That, at any rate, might be the perception - although, judging by his public pronouncements, the Bishop of Leicester might well have joined the aye lobby with the nine supporters of the amendment. I am surprised that he didn't.

At any rate it gives the perception that the Church is split (which it is anyway), and that it is not a uniformly antediluvian in its attitudes. That said, there is plenty of ammunition here for the opponents of the lords spiritual.

Personally, I am very largely indifferent about how marriage is or isn't defined. It certainly isn't a sacrament in a protestant church like the Church of England. It is an economic, emotional and erotic arrangement - in that order, pure and simple.

Posted by Froghole at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 12:08am BST

Welby voted in favor of the wrecking amendment to deny the bill a vote in the Lords. Evidently he has little actual respect for the processes of parliamentary democracy and even less for LGBTI persons and our families. Spare us the irenic interpretations that would pretend that the Mad Hatter makes sense. To have thrown away so much good will so shortly into his time in office is a serious mistake.

Welby claims the marriage equality bill should be amended to allow civil servants and teachers to discriminate against gay couples and children. Really??? Further, he claims that marriage equality will render useless the ideas of consummation of a marriage and adultery. Is he such a poor theologian that he cannot figure out the meaning of these realities in 21st century terms? Consummation in the era of contraception means the bodily giving of each to the other in the context of a recognized declaration of love, fidelity, and life-long commitment. Which organ goes where is now beside the point. And adultery is having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse when you are in the marital relationship as described above. Am I supposed to believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury, with vast theological resources available to him, cannot do better than the arguments that he presented in the Lords?

It makes far more sense to believe that Welby is pandering to the homophobic right in the CofE and the murderously homophobic prelates in the Communion. We have learned to expect so little from the ABC in recent years.

Posted by Karen MacQueen+ at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 1:12am BST

The Church of England HofB have acted in bad faith and without accountability.

Having obtained their own quadruple lock' they then went on to rubbish the whole enterprise.

Shame on Welby for affecting to be sorry, while being totally unrepentant, as shown by his behaviour.

Let's hope for a backlash on pccs.,AGMs., synods, and the general synod. Let's hope for a campaign of protest. disobedience from lay members and ministers.

I'd love to see picketing of cathedrals and churches.

Posted by Laurence at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 4:17am BST

Welby is to the right of Williams and Bergoglio is to the right even of Ratzinger -- today the pope denounced political correctness as incompatible with the Gospel.(surely referring to feminism and gay rights, which the CELAM Aparecida document sees as rampant individualism).

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 6:21am BST

How many hereditary peers voted for the Dear amendment? Quite likely the removal of hereditary peers and the bishops will figure in the next manifestos of Labour and Lib Dem?

Posted by Perry Butler at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 7:53am BST

May I enquire if the Committee stage in the Lords follows the practice in the Commons, which is the makeup of the Committee reflects the proportions of the vote?

Posted by commentator at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 8:43am BST

Having taken the time to listen to Archbishop Welby's speech, encouraged by Fr Reynolds that the tone made all the difference, I was not won over. It is clear that we have an Archbishop of Canterbury who is no friend to gay Christians. If actions do speak louder than words then this is now clear.
it is also clear that whoever votes for a wrecking motion wishes to call a halt to the democratic debating processes of Parliament. This is in itself a scandal and should bring forth the strongest condemnation from their colleagues and those whom the appear to serve. Let us not wait for the reform of the Lords but let us petition that the Lords Spiritual who supported such a wrecking motion surrender their voting privilege immediately. Lord Hope, it seems, has already done this. Why - I do not know. But it shows that this is possible. It may yet provide their Spiritual Lordships with an opportunity to redeem themselves.

Posted by commentator at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 8:57am BST

The idea that it is desirable to provide further safeguards for teachers is extraordinary. Surely, whatever their personal views might be, it would be unprofessional for teachers to say anything in a classroom situation that would be hurtful to pupils with parents in a same-sex relationship. Similarly it would be out of order for them to express criticism of the many parents who are living together but not married.

Posted by Flora Alexander at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 9:10am BST

How did the bishops who are crossbenchers vote? (Lords Carey, Harries, Williams - any others?)

Posted by Mark Hart at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 9:20am BST

Answering my previous question (I didn't notice the link provided):
Carey - content
Harries - not content
Williams - no vote

Posted by Mark Hart at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 9:47am BST

What a terrible day for the Church of England. Those vote breakdowns are truly damning. The bishops just voted away their claim to moral leadership.

Again Canterbury shows himself more concerned with saving his role in Africa than with saving souls in his province.

Such bitter fruit does empire bear.

And the sad thing is that the bishops' votes were pointless. The distinction--England permits gay marriages, but the CofE does not--will make little difference to homophobes, who will denounce the culture of England, and the CofE by association.

If Canterbury thinks this outcome will win him many points with conservatives, in Africa or anywhere else, he is mistaken.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 10:09am BST

I had a look at the speech by Welby, around him were a sad little group of bishops including London on his left and Leicester behind him. The all looked sheepish and nervous as though they were going against the grain - as they were.

Thirty years ago in the synodical system you could have seen a similar sight and have heard a rearguard defence against women priests.

In thirty years time I am sure that the bishops (should they still exist in the House of Lords or for that matter if the House of Lords exists) will have accepted gay marriage with equanimity.

But how long O Lord, how long, and must the Church always oppose things until it can't any longer?

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 10:14am BST

I think it's what is known as a Pyrrhic defeat!

Posted by ExRevd at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 10:40am BST

Sadly the Bishops have demonstrated once again how far they are from the bulk of society. What they did is an insult to gay and lesbian people and a damaging blow to the Church's mission.

Mercifully a few abstained and Lord Harries did us proud. If only he had been AB instead of Carey , the Church would be in a very different place today.

Posted by Jean Mayland at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 10:42am BST

John Milbank's concerns about "adultery" and "consummation" suggest to me that there is a confusion between marriage equality and marriage identity. Yes, samesex sex is different from the heterosexual sex in several ways. But within the life-project of a couple its role is positive and valuable. Just as we give the same legal and moral respect to the sterile marriage of an elderly couple as we do to the life-promising marriage of the young, so we should give the same legal and moral respect to samesex marriages as to traditional ones. Of course we also give respect to unmarried couples and such words as "concubinage" are little used; here the legal and moral respect is not equal to what is given to married couples simply because the unmarried couple has not asked for the blessing of society and church in the same way.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 11:39am BST

This is well worth reading ! What sounded condescending and threatening when delivered on the day, with patrician tones, now looks totally ridiculous in cold print. So if you are in need of a bit of cheer after the bishops poor showing -- here you are !


Posted by Laurence at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 11:54am BST

"This is well worth reading ! What sounded condescending and threatening when delivered on the day, with patrician tones, now looks totally ridiculous in cold print."

By far, my favorite is Lord Tebbit's argument against same-sex marriage -- the succession problem caused by sperm donors to a lesbian queen and her wife:

"There is, I believe, no bar to a lesbian succeeding to the Throne. It may happen. It probably will, at some stage. What, then, if she marries and her partner bears a child by an anonymous sperm donor? Is that child the heir to the Throne? If the Queen herself subsequently bore a child by an anonymous donor, which child then, if either, would inherit the Throne? The possibilities must have been discussed in the deep consideration of this Bill in government, so the Minister must know the answer. If she does not know it immediately, I am sure that her officials will be able to give it to her, because it has all been discussed thoroughly."

I have read many satirical pieces about the House of Lords but nothing approaches this. This is just brilliant and creative. Absurd of course, but brilliant and creative, nonetheless!

Posted by dr.primrose at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 6:20pm BST

I met one of the homophobic bishops. He was very friendly until I introduced him to my partner. Then he was frosty, the only frosty response we've ever had in 9 months or more in England.

His sermons lacked inspiration and intellectual vigor. Not really the sort who seemed capable of really wrapping his mind and heart around the issues.

How does the CNC pick these people? And what is to change so that CoE doesn't have to endure another generation of this hateful drivel?

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 12:44am BST

"But I can't believe that educated men like this are actually hate-filled homophobes,"

Well, I met one of those bishops and he was definitely not one of the brightest bulb on the tree. Don't know about the others.

Doesn't seem to be a lot of independent thinkers. Something has encouraged an extraordinary level of "group think" that is disconnected from the rest of the church (CoE), the rest of England, compassion, mercy, and the love of God. Let alone a realpolitik sense of how destructive this vote may prove to be. It would be sad, except these people have had the power to crush people for a very long time. Happily, their era is ending, just not soon enough.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 3:29am BST

Yes drprimrose one couldn't make it up ! Hilarious quotations.

I still find it hard to choose just one !

Posted by Laurence at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 3:50am BST

Anne Brooke: 'So, no bishop with enough gumption to vote against the wrecking amendment then?'

Well, it's not quite the same as a consecrated bishop, but... if Eton College's claim to be a Royal Peculiar is valid, then that makes Lord Waldegrave of North Hill an Ordinary in the CofE, and he voted against the wrecking amendment.

The full list of what peers who are (or might be) Ordinaries of CofE peculiar jurisdictions did is as follows:

Lord Waldegrave of North Hill (Ordinary of the possible Royal Peculiar of Eton College): against the wrecking amendment.

Lord Eatwell (Ordinary of the possible Royal Peculiar of Queens' College Cambridge): did not vote.

Lord Patten of Barnes [not to be confused with the other Lord Patten] (Ordinary of the certain Archiepiscopal Peculiar of the University of Oxford): did not vote.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville (Ordinary of the certain Archiepiscopal Peculiar of the University of Cambridge): did not vote.

Lord Williams of Oystermouth (Ordinary of the possible Royal Peculiar of Magdalene College Cambridge): did not vote.

Lord Dannatt (Ordinary of the possible Royal Peculiar of the Tower of London): in favour of the wrecking amendment.

Posted by Feria at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 11:30pm BST
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