Updated 12 December
The Bishops of the Church in Wales, at a recent meeting of the Bench of Bishops, agreed the following statement on Civil Partnerships:
In December 2005 the Civil Partnership Act comes into force. As a result, two people of the same sex will acquire a new legal status through registering a civil partnership. This will have very significant implications for their rights and responsibilities in respect of taxation, nationality and immigration, inheritance, liability for maintenance and child support, tenancies, employment and pension benefits. The Bishops of the Church in Wales cannot and would not wish to prevent what the law allows for Church members, both lay and clerical. The legislation leaves entirely open the nature of the commitment that members of a couple choose to make to each other when forming a civil partnership. It is not predicated on the intention to engage in a sexual relationship. The new legislation makes no change in the law in relation to marriage and the Government has stated that it has no intention of introducing same-sex ‘marriage’.
As a result, people in a variety of relationships will be able to register as civil partners. The Act does not allow church buildings to be used for registering civil partnerships, and the Bishops do not intend to produce an authorised public liturgy for such registrations.”
Copies of the statement have been distributed to members of the church’s Governing Body and to all clerics serving within the Church in Wales.
END 3rd December 2005
Update 12 December
Andrew Goddard has published a response to this statement here