Comments: Discussions in the House of Lords on same-sex marriage

The main problem with the civil partnership upgrade legislation, if reports are true, is that we won't be given a marriage certificate but an upgrade certificate.

While this may have the same legal standing in Britain as a marriage certificate we will end up with yet another non-portable piece of paper.

As a translator who has many customers needing certified translations of their marriage certificates for all kinds of reasons, I foresee another new source of income for the certified translation of an official confirmation of the legal standing of upgrade certificates...

And we're still faced with the problem that not all countries will recognise them in an emergency.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 8:56am BST

This is the beginning of the end for the bishops' guidelines. Well done, Norman Fowler!

Posted by John at Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 9:02am BST

What is quite clear is that the C of E does not have the two years' set aside for facilitated discussions. Too little, too late.

Posted by Susan Cooper at Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 10:03am BST

As the second Law and Religion post linked above (but the first in time) explains, the withdrawal of the CP-to-marriage conversion regulations came through pressure from the Quakers among others. Quakers expect to talk to government and opposition peers, and to government lawyers, before the regulations are reintroduced so that they can permit religious conversion ceremonies for those religions that have opted in. Anybody (especially lawyers) with views on how the regulations should be redrafted could contact me offlist at, where your input will be very welcome. The withdrawn regulations are linked from the Law & Religion post.

Posted by Iain McLean at Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 10:32am BST

"The C of E does not have the two years.... Too little, too late."

I thought this after November 2012. I was wrong. The muddle continued, and the women-bishops measure won't become final until after Parliament acts.

So I hope I'm wrong--I would be delighted by more pressure, and quick action--but I wouldn't read too much into a few questions in the Lords.

The Synod elections are what's important.

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 2:57pm BST

It would seem that Bishop Inwood's position is:

"if you marry and then starve, that's your problem. You should have followed the rules. Now get out."

Strange times we live in when a Tory MP provides a more faithful witness to the Holy Spirit's ministry of reconciliation than does a Christian bishop.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 4:47pm BST

What is needed is a " Philadelphia eleven" but not one bishop will break ranks......

Posted by robert ian williams at Friday, 1 August 2014 at 9:47am BST

It is entirely good for the Lords,Spiritual, to be challenged on their own ground. Let's see how they react.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 6:31am BST

The job offer to Jeremy Pemberton has now been withdrawn. Bishop Inwood and his sponsor ++York should be hanging their heads in shame at their mean and petty minded actions which have deprived the man who was clearly the best candidate, of his employment, debased their office and further degraded the Church which they are supposed to be leading. Shame on them.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 8:26am BST

Entirely agree, Richard. The reason I think Norman Fowler's intervention good news is that the bishops' policy is going to look very bad in the public context where, sooner or later, British notions of fair play are going to trump theological contortions, especially given the C of E's ambiguous - and vulnerable - public status.

Posted by John at Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 11:48am BST

Sad news but not surprising. The hierarchy has got past the women-bishops crisis. So they will now feel free to marginalize gays.

Those who care about a better outcome should look to the next Synod elections.

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 2:15pm BST

The Church of England's exemption from the Equality Act has long been thought to be in breach of European law because it is too broad.

The facts of Jeremy Pemberton's case would make a challenge on this basis very likely to succeed.

That would have implications beyond his own case.

Posted by badman at Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 3:13pm BST

Well said Richard...they should hang their heads in shame, as I do that I belong to such an organisation. Proud to be C of E?...not at the moment! Why has there not been more of an has appeared on the BBC Television News on both Thursday and Friday evening as well as radio news? What can we do collectively to show our outrage? Is the October demonstration still on at Southwell? Jeremy my thoughts and frustration are with you and hopefully something else will come your way.

Posted by robertellis at Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 7:10pm BST

@ Richard Ashby: don't you love it that while a Tory MP, asks the government to find ways to prevent this from getting ugly, two Christian bishops can't wait to grab the stick and start beating.

One would think that the experience of the American church might be enough at least to make Christian priests hesitate before destroying a good man's livelihood, be he priest or not. Evidently the temptation to punish is just too compelling.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Wednesday, 6 August 2014 at 12:07am BST
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