Thinking Anglicans

Equality Bill: voting results on Clause 2

Updated twice Tuesday morning

All of the amendments proposed by Baroness O’Cathain and others were agreed today.

See here for what each amendment says.

Amendment 98 216-178 agreed by 38 votes

Amendment 99 agreed

Amendment 99A 174-195 disagreed by 21 votes (government amendment)

Amendment 100 177- 172 agreed by 5 votes

More details tomorrow. Eight bishops participated in these votes.

Updates

The Hansard record of the debate on the amendments of Baroness O’Cathain listed above starts here. The PDF version is over here.

Slightly earlier, the amendments of Lord Alli had been debated. That record begins here.

Official news report

Voting details:
Amendment 98
Amendment 99 – no division
Amendment 99A
Amendment 100

Press reports on all this are sometimes inaccurate on the voting figures. But here they are:

Telegraph Equalities Bill: Church leaders defeat Government over gay staff

BBC Government defeated three times over church gay plan

Reuters Government loses its Equality Bill faith proposals

Daily Mail Lords defeat for Harman over forcing churches to hire gays

Independent Peers defeat Government on church gay ban

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Paul Walter
Guest

I’m dying to hear your take on the debate. In many ways it was quite ridiculous – with both sides saying they wanted to maintain the status quo. The pre-debate hoo-haa from, for example CCfON and David Skinner, about this being a showdown between the secular state and the church appeared to be just ever-so-slightly overblown when you listened to the debate: which boiled down to the inclusion or exclusion of “proportionality” (a principle accepted by both sides) and the meaning of “exists to”. The whole thing was quite ridiculous, almost childish, on one level, but on another level there… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

And another few hundred people quietly leave the church never to come back again.

Neil
Guest
Neil

I was told yesterday, that all of the Bishops who voted in the House of Lord about the abolition of slavery voted against it in the 19th Century. Is this true?

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

So is it this, then?

A parish needs the services of a bookkeeper. A qualified candidate presents herself, and they are ready to contract with her. But then the whispers go round: “Oh, but we can’t have *her* in; she lives with another woman, don’t you know…” So she is told her services will not be required after all.

Thanks to the intensive lobbying of the senior Church of England bishops, is it now completely legal for the parish to do this?

Is this the “victory” the Church of England has just won?

I am sickened by this.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

++York: “”But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organi[s]ations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions.”

I love it when freedom to some means to retain the right to limit another’s.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

As I understand it the Archbishop of York is asking for no less than Legal Immunity for the Church. Just like Rome.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

So it appears that all 8 bishops who voted at all voted against equality. So Tom Wright made the effort to get all the way to London from Durham, and John Sentamu all the way from York just to strike a blow against equality. Isn’t doing that a really deluded twist on what it means to be working for the Gospel of Jesus, who preached radical respect for the outcast? Travelling hundreds of miles just to stick the boot in and cast us out further wasn’t anything Jesus had in mind, was it, or have I been following the wrong… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

No Charlotte, that’s not correct. The law, as it stands,does not allow discrimination even by a church on the grounds of sexual orientation, for posts such as bookkeepers.

What has happened here is that attempts by the government to clarify the law, so that everyone could see that this was the case, have been rebuffed by the Lords.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Erika I find your comment strange. Do you really think this would make someone abandon Christ? If so what does it say about their faith? Are you really advocating a church that never debates anything or says no to some things for fear of offending? If so that sounds like a very strange church that could never be salt or light. What are you saying by mentioning attendance figures? I do understand you feel deflated and annoyed….am sorry about that. I know only to well how it feels (usually EVERY time Synod meets!!!) For my money I think the decision… Read more »

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Because, after all, we know that there are no LGBT people in senior positions in the CofE, the Roman Catholic Church, among the Baptists, …

David da Silva Cornell
Guest
David da Silva Cornell

“What has happened here is that attempts by the government to clarify the law, so that everyone could see that this was the case, have been rebuffed by the Lords.”

Simon, what now happens vis-a`-vis the EU? Wasn’t it an EU Commission “reasoned opinion” that found that the current UK law was non-compliant with the EU Employment Discrimination Directive? Surely just leaving the status quo will now lead to some EU response? Or do Ebor & Friends just think that the EU will now simply cease and desist from its troublesome interventions on the side of equality?

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Simon: “The government tried to amend the bill so that exemptions to equality provisions applied only to those whose jobs “wholly or mainly” involved taking part in services or rituals, or explaining the doctrines of religion.” Quotes mine, from the BBC News…so I would infer that this DOES cover Lay Clerks, Vicars Choral, etc..since our jobs ‘wholly or mainly’ involve taking parts in services or rituals… A certain singer is going to be a ‘ringer’ in both Exeter and Durham next year…nah…they’d never listen, as they aren’t any good at listening to begin with, except that they’ve been listening to… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well I’m a bit foggy when it comes to the Lords and Parliament – our own home grown USA Congress is plenty arcane, believe me – but this odd discussion/vote seems to have been more about perceptions and cover stories, than about the real meaning and effect of the tabled clarifications. This leads me to an even odder passing bit, in which it looks like the nay saying Lords were unduly worried that having too much clarity about how the equality regs apply would further dispel the foggy niches in which various conservative sound bite creatures like to take wing… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

“No Charlotte, that’s not correct. The law, as it stands,does not allow discrimination even by a church on the grounds of sexual orientation, for posts such as bookkeepers.

“What has happened here is that attempts by the government to clarify the law, so that everyone could see that this was the case, have been rebuffed by the Lords.”

That’s good, at least. But why, then, the objection to clarifying the law? There’s something here I don’t understand.

Simon Robert Dawson
Guest
Simon Robert Dawson

I think Lord Alli’s comments in Hansard are interesting “What the law actually says is that an exemption is made for, “a requirement related to sexual orientation”. Sexual orientation is not the same as having sex inside or outside of marriage. This is not semantics, and it is at the heart of what I am seeking to correct. Simply by being gay, the law allows religious organisations-in this case the employer-to sack a priest, in this case the employee. So even where a gay man takes a vow of celibacy, the law still allows for his dismissal. The law is… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

This is a fascinating farrago of vanity and deceptions. I loved the moment when the former bishop of Oxford made the evidently unwelcome observation that the bishops were in fact arguing the government’s case ……. Winchester, York and cronies had obviously been advised that even with the government’s huge climb-down they were better off under the old dispensation, and as I have said elsewhere, the momentum of a certain defeat of the government as punishment for not consulting them was anyway sweeping them on, like lemmings, over the precipice. My own view is that the government amendment would have given… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Regardless of the House of Lords’ defeat of the Government’s intention towards the freedom of discrimination against the employment of LGBTs in the Church (influenced, in all probability, by the likes of their Lordships, Spiritual, of Chester, Winchester and York), there is still a faint possibility that the more Gospel-oriented Bishops of the Church of England may see fit to employ such a category of human beings in the service of their dioceses. One would hope that not all Bishops of the C.of E. are so conservative as to insist on availing themselves of their legal right to discriminate against… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Charlotte Why the objection to clarifying the law? Because the clarification on offer also threatens to limit the scope of the exemption for other posts which are much less clearcut. And the government, quite rightly in my view, doesn’t wish to give them a wider exemption. Remember the church officials have been making the same argument since 2003, look back at this TA post, for example: http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003813.html That quotes the wording they originally asked for in 2003: “Nothing in parts II to IV of these Regulations shall render unlawful anything done for the purposes or in connection with an organised… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

choirboy

That wording you are quoting is from the original draft of the bill, which is what Amendment 100 has now deleted. The wording that the government wanted to substitute for this, which has also been rejected now, was quite clearly not aimed at singers, that was Amendment 99A.

I can’t take responsibility for what the BBC says.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

David The bishops do not appear to be very well versed (or perhaps it is not very well advised ) in European law. As Lord Lester of Herne Hill – and he IS an expert in European law – said in the next part of the debate: I cannot resist making the observation that, in the Division, the Lords Spiritual managed to vote as turkeys for Christmas – if noble Lords will forgive me for saying so – by removing the new and magnanimous protection that they were given. Proportionality was taken out of the Bill, probably encouraging the European… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Simon: “Why the objection to clarifying the law? Because the clarification on offer also threatens to limit the scope of the exemption for other posts which are much less clearcut. And the government, quite rightly in my view, doesn’t wish to give them a wider exemption.” So does this mean, then (to get back to my original example) that: While the parish does not explicitly have the right under law to refuse to hire a bookkeeper because she is rumored to be a lesbian- There is also no clear-cut law forbidding the parish to refuse to hire her on these… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“We[church] do not want too much interfering in life from government…”

It’s called separation of church and state and no established denomination on this side of the pond.

It has worked pretty well for us.

Not perfect, but nothing beneath the orbit of the moon is perfect [perhaps that view of the universe would be acceptable to ya’lls’ conservative bishops].

Blair
Guest
Blair

I might be being a bit dense, but could you Simon, or someone else, confirm whether Lord Alli’s amendment 119 re civil partnerships was passed or not?

in friendship, Blair

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Simon, I appreciate what you told Charlotte about churches hiring bookkeepers, but it seems to me that that is precisely what certain Lords Spiritual want: For churches to absolutely be able to decree whom they can hire and fire, right down to the lowest file clerk. Look at the silly and sensational headlines floating around the British press. I doubt all of those came from the over-eager minds of the copy editors. Some probably had some outside assistance in agitating the British masses. I seriously doubt that Government is proposing that the RCC be forced to hire women as priests,… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Again, WHY are we in TEC trying to stay “in communion” with the unholiness that is the CofE leadership? Good Heavens! This is ridiculous. Vicious, small, soulless men parading around as if they were medieval lords – men whose mediocrity would not be rewarded in any other field – and we believe they have anything to offer us? We have anything that they will accept? The fact is, irrefutably, that our church, whatever the “corporate logo” attached to it, existed long before any ersatz “anglican communion” – a communion which has become coercive, therefore meaningless. The national churches don’t depend… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Blair
No, the amendment was withdrawn. The government has undertaken to pursue the issue separately.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Charlotte wrote: There is also no clear-cut law forbidding the parish to refuse to hire her on these grounds. So that in certain parts of England the parish could get away with refusing to hire her, because the law continues to be murky on this point. Charlotte, the law is entirely clear with respect to bookkeepers. The law is entirely clear with respect to the clergy. Where the law is less clear is for posts that are in the middle ground, of which the “youth worker who teaches bible classes” is a favourite example. The lack of clarity is to… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Simon,
but it goes beyond “the youth worker who teaches bible classes”, doesn’t it? I seem to remember Ekklesia carrying an article explaining that there is absolutely no employment protection for all teachers in all church schools.

So what are the likely legal consequences of this in terms of Europe now? Presumably, the legislation as it now stands cannot be upheld in the long run?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I am told by Prof Andrew Linzey that my claim that bishops acted like lemmings is unfair to lemmings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemming

I have also had emails from other lemming activists who write that unlike bishops gay and lesbian lemmings are not discriminated against by their own kind.

I offer a profound apology to lemmings

Prior Aelred
Guest

Neil — what I have read (about Wilberforce) has said that the Bench of Bishops voted for slavery because it was endorsed by Scripture, but I have never seen the actual tallies (& it is curious, since bishops always used to vote the way the party that appointed them wanted — bishops may get a private conscience only at the worst times …)

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Erika Teachers in schools are a special category, and have their own special exemption in Schedule 22 of the Equality Bill. This exemption is much wider in scope than anything in Schedule 9. It is not new. It has been in the School Standards and Framework Act (1998) for a long time now. Once again, the Equality Bill does not change current law, it merely reenacts it. Voluntary Aided faith schools are particularly seriously affected by this exemption. (VC schools escape the most stringent part.) As the ACCORD consortium argues, “The consequence is that—in contrast to other employers with a… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Thank you PriorA. I was told the Bishops voted for slavery to a man (for the reasons you outline) – but hoped this could be verified by some of our well-read commentators here! It is not easily available info on the web…

Tony B
Guest
Tony B

Thinking of the seven deadly sins, is it possible for people to be dismissed from voluntary aided faith schools on the grounds of excessive pride, or gluttony? Depression, maybe?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I share Lord Lester’s view. I think that the church is hoping that it can win employment tribunals, but the evidence is that they tend not to.

But it is strange given that the government amendment would have simply cemented the status quo which exists without the amendment…and wasn’t this story badly reported?

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Martin Reynolds at 12:00 GMT, Bravo! That was quite good.
Do we know if ACNA or FiF has made any effort to establish an extra-provincial episcopal presence there to serve orthodox lemmings who are disaffected? Under Bishop Duncan, perhaps?

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

oh are depression and gayness the two new sins (in no particular order) ?

When I was ordained being gay and in a relationship was no bar to ordination in the C of E.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

The C of E bishops also kept the death penalty going and were thus responsible for many deaths. In the end humanitarian thinking defeated them and it will over human rights too.

No wonder church-going declined from the time they blocked the abolition of the death penalty onwards …

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Bravo Ed T for so deftly sidestepping the obvious practical main point, that gilding our holier than thou traditional morality and holiness, based mainly upon our holding nasty-traditional (and flat earthed) beliefs about queer folks, with established leeway to repeat false witness against these very neighbors while somebody in power sacks them outright from employment for happening to be queer in the first place – is, well? – NOT actually a very good common sense witness to the gospel nor to Jesus of Nazareth whom we all profess to follow. This modern occasion of hot scandal (especially in western democracies?)… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

“When I was ordained being gay and in a relationship was no bar to ordination in the C of E.” (Rev. L. Roberts @ 272055ZJan10

Indeed, in some dioceses, I gather it was a requirement.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ed Of course people don’t abandon Christ. Are you suggesting that the Holy Spirit allows herself to be restricted to acting in the church, and even more limiting, in the anti gay sections of the church? But whichever side of the debate you happen to be on in the lgbt wars, you might agree that it is hugely damaging if, time and time again, the church is seen as reactionary, conservative and actively working against what society considers to be human rights and human dignity. And it is even proud to be “counter cultural” and to stick to repression and… Read more »

Paul Walter
Guest

For Neil: “Clearly, merchants had the ears of a great many Parliamentarians in the House of Commons such as Colonel Banastre Tarleton (MP for Liverpool) and the Duke of Clarence (son of George III). A significant number of Bishops in the House of Lords were among those in favour of maintaining the slave-owning plantation system. They argued that any move to abolish the trade would result in planters being ruined or massacred. Their interest was substantial. When slavery was finally abolished in 1833, the Bishop of Exeter received £12,700 in compensation for his 655 slaves. “ http://www.blackhistorymonthuk.co.uk/freedom/black_abolitionists.html On the hand,… Read more »

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

Having viewed the list of voting bishops in this debate I was not surprised by the names. One might call them ‘the usual suspects’. At least now we are publicly aware of His Grace the Archbishop of York’s position. Will he plead his Ugandan roots or fear of prosecution under future laws of that land? I am surprised that the Bishop of Liverpool, after his ‘apology’ to Dr Jeffrey John over the Reading fiasco, should continue to be numbered amongst this group. I am also saddened that more bishops, whom one might have thought more enlightened, did not stir themselves… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Neil: I think the Reform Bill controversy may be a better analogy. Many (all?) of the bishops held out valiantly against the onward march of democracy by means of voting against the enlargement of the electoral franchise.

Quite what Christian doctrinal motivation they had is difficult to comprehend nowadays; but it certainly led to a loss of credibility of the part of the Church of England amongst the working classes.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

“When I was ordained being gay and in a relationship was no bar to ordination in the C of E.” (Rev. L. Roberts @ 272055ZJan10 Indeed, in some dioceses, I gather it was a requirement. Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 28 January 2010 at 5:05am GMT. No never a requirement – but you did need young men (and later not so young) to commit themselves to those ‘inner city parishes’ and ‘sink estates’ where married clergy and their (in those days) wives worried about their children’s fresh air and schooling. It is true a good number of the diocesan ‘top… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Thanks Paul and Fr. M. Someone must have remembered Richard Burridge’s talk about a year ago wrongly, for they said that all the bishops were in favour of retaining slavery because of biblical precedent. They needed to move on re that part of the Bible, just as they do on the present issue. Silly things they are.