To all serving clergy
As you will be aware, on 5th December 2005, the Civil Partnership Act came into force. As a result, two people of the same sex will be able to 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, immigration, heritance, liability for maintenance and child support, tenancies, employment and pension benefits.
The Bishops recognise that there is a variety of views in the Church on the subject of civil partnerships. They also realise that there may be members within your congregations, or colleagues in ministry who may be considering entering into such partnerships now, or at some time in the future. This may raise pastoral issues for you which you would wish to discuss with your Bishop. This note is to confirm that, in every diocese, the Bishop is happy to make himself available to discuss any such pastoral issues should they arise.
It should be noted that the Act does not allow Church buildings to be used for registering civil partnerships and there is no authorised liturgy in the Scottish Episcopal Church for the blessing of such partnerships.
The Most Rev Bruce Cameron
Primus and Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney