Thinking Anglicans

Civil Partnerships & Marriage: yet more comment

Updated Wednesday

Ruth Gledhill has interviewed Giles Fraser on YouTube, watch Canon Giles Fraser tells Ruth Gledhill why Church should celebrate gay marriage.

Austen Ivereigh has written a further article about this for America see Bishops to challenge UK laws allowing gay marriage in churches.

Colin Coward has written about Changing Attitude England’s campaign for civil partnerships to be held in Church of England churches.

Michelle Hutchinson has written at Practical Ethics about Civil Partnership, Religion and the BNP.

Updates

Riazat Butt reports in the Guardian the remarks of RC Archbishop Peter Smith, in Catholic archbishop accuses coalition over gay marriage in church move

The Catholic church is on a collision course with the government after declaring it will oppose in the “strongest terms” changes to the Equality Act that will allow gay couples to register civil partnerships in places of worship.

A statement from the archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, said it was neither “necessary nor desirable” to allow gays and lesbians to have civil partnership ceremonies in religious premises and accused the government of “considering a fundamental change to the status of marriage”.

You can read the full statement made by the archbishop over here.

Austen Ivereigh has continued (see link above) to defend the archbishop’s position on this, at Cif belief, see In marriage we trust.

…But civil partnerships are not marriage. The last government made that clear when it said they could not be religiously solemnised. Implicit in that restriction was a final vestige of recognition that marriage is a natural institution, beyond the state or churches to redefine. Now a Conservative government (committed, now there’s the irony, to restoring the vigour of civil society) wishes to use the power of the state to refashion the primary cell of civil society. Allowing churches to solemnise gay marriages is one of the most statist acts ever attempted by a government, and an assault on religious freedom.

The fact that Quakers and Unitarians are happy to host this government’s totalitarian fantasy is neither here nor there; they have no more right to redefine marriage than has the state…

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Laurence RobertsMarkBrunsonMalcolm French+drdanfeeFather Ron Smith Recent comment authors
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Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Composer to the Queen speaks out

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/02/21/queens-composer-hits-out-at-gay-bashing-thugs-in-church-of-england/

Very, very true !

This is how the Church’s ‘witness’ goes down.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Telling that the “America” article is headlined “Bishops to challenge UK laws allowing gay marriage in *churches*”…

…because if it said “Bishops to challenge [. . .] marriage in *synogogues*”, the naked bigotry would be exposed.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Here’s a link to the full text of the statement by the RC Archbishop of Southwark which is what the America article is based upon.
http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=17707

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“The government recognises the place of individual conscience and says the provision will be permissive and religious organisations that do not wish to host civil partnerships will not be required to do so.” – Changing Attitude – Perhaps the Church of England ought to recognise the desirability of needing to accommodate ‘the individual conscience’ as against the R.C. Church legislation which denies this right to their flock on issues like contraception. The State Church can never legislate for a corporate conscience – it can only recommend a particular ethical stance – on any matter. Otherwise one’s private conscience is allowed… Read more »

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

The RC Archbishop of Southwark (a canon lawyer, we are told) is, according to Austen Ivereigh, doing exactly the same as the Anglican bishop of Winchester did last year. In the name of spiritual freedom, he would deny the Quakers (etc)the spiritual freedom to follow the Light that our Yearly Meeting found in 2009.

Stephen Bates
Guest
Stephen Bates

The first comment on Austen’s latest article is interesting in showing how the RC Church is already starting to tie itself in knots on this issue – and probably the CofE too. It says, by definition, marriage is between two people of the opposite genders so marriage between two people of the same gender is impossible, but anyway it must be stopped. Of course the state, here and elsewhere, has been conducting civil marriage ceremonies for many decades without church interference and so has effectively been defining what marriage is anyway. The churches want to stop people in stable same… Read more »

Amanda Goody
Guest
Amanda Goody

“marriage between two people of the same gender is impossible, but anyway it must be stopped”. This has implications not just for gay/lesbian couples but also for other smaller groups. Watching this legislation closely are those couples where one partner is transgendered – after transitioning this person cannot receive a GRC ( new birth cert) unless their marriage is annulled. A growing number of couples wish to stay married, not necessarily identifying as gay/lesbian but wanting to continue committed to the relationship. Another group presumably affected (though I do not have any direct knowledge) are those who are intersex and… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

Please, Mr. Bates, let’s not be unkind.

After all, it’s been several years since Ivereigh’s extramarital affairs caused a public scandal.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Christianity just hasnt caught up with the fact that not everyone is simply male or female.” – Amnda Goody, Tuesday – And herein, Amanda, lies the great myth of the either/or argument as to sexual identity. Until the Churches come to terms with the biological reality of multi-sexual identities, there will still be earnest attempt to retain the status quo: of attitudes towards personal relatinships and to the posiblities of marriage between more than just the male/female extremes of the sexual continuum. One day, the Church may be able to engage with the scientific realities of human life. Then the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The excellent video’s interview of Canon Giles Fraser by reporter Ruth Gledhill gives a very convincing argument for the need of the Churches of England and Wales to take advantage of the opportunity being offered by the UK Government to allow religious organisations to celebrate, on their premises and in their liturgies, the union of Same-Sex, faithful monogamous relationships. As Giles says, he will be obedient to the rule of the Church on this, but is hopeful that pressure from those who understand the integrity of faithful committed same-sex relationships will encourage the Churches to open up the way to… Read more »

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

Sorry to come in again on the same thread, but Austen Ivereigh has it backwards when he says “The fact that Quakers and Unitarians are happy to host this government’s totalitarian fantasy is neither here nor there; they have no more right to redefine marriage than has the state.” First, the initiative for this reform came from Quakers, Unitarians, and Liberal Judaism. It did not come from this government or the last one. It was resisted by both front benches when it came to the House of Lords in March 2010. It is very explicitly NOT totalitarian: it is only… Read more »

Peter Copping
Guest
Peter Copping

God made me who I am. But God’s Church doesn’t want me.

Se you all on the Last Day

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“The fact that Quakers and Unitarians are happy to host this government’s totalitarian fantasy is neither here nor there; they have no more right to redefine marriage than has the state…” – Austen Ivereigh – ‘They have no more right to re-define marriage than has the state’? No, but surely if the state allows, then their can be no legal objection. Is this really what Mr Ivereigh, and the RC Abp. of Southwark are really worried about. They need to really understand what the word ‘marriage’ really means. We speak, for instance, of a ‘marriage of minds’ – nothing at… Read more »

badman
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badman

Austen Ivereigh displays a Lewis Carrollean ability to believe a number of impossible things. He says: “marriage is a natural institution, beyond the state or churches to redefine. Now a Conservative government… wishes to use the power of the state to refashion the primary cell of civil society.” So the state and churches cannot redefine marriage in one sentence; but in the next sentence the government is accused of redefining marriage. In fact, marriage as a civil institution has always been defined by the state. Marriage as a religious institution has always been defined by the religion in question –… Read more »

sjh
Guest
sjh

A cursory glance through history reveals that marriage has been redefined over and over again. The idea that it is a given in nature is pure fantasy as far as I can see. Even in the pages of Scripture the idea that marriage is the “exclusive union of a man and a woman” as Reform maintains doesn’t stand up to the briefest of examinations, as in the Old Testament polygamy was the norm. I am often amazed at how “Biblical Christians” never seem to read it. And is the dislike of gay people so visceral in some quarters that they… Read more »

Laurence C.
Guest
Laurence C.

“As Giles [Fraser] says, he will be obedient to the rule of the Church on this” Ron Smith Why be obedient when, quite clearly, following such a rule is in direct contradiction to what he believes to be the right thing to do? Perhaps it’s because the Church pays his salary, provides his housing and gives him those grand-sounding titles – I can’t say that my integrity wouldn’t wobble with those inducements – or maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick entirely. I’m neither a Christian nor a theologian so can’t end with an apposite nugget from scripture… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

The British Bishops’ statement and the incredible crassness and inanity of its defenders’ comments in the America combox convince me that it is time to move on. The Catholic Church, as much as any other, faces the reality of gay marriage and needs to come up with an intelligent response, based on dialogue and consultation. Their present posturing just makes them look ridiculous. For my own effort to address the issue in this spirit, see http://www.cairn.info/resume.php?ID_ARTICLE=CITE_044_0027

martin
Guest
martin

Stephen Bates is not being unkind but rather providing a fuller context for understanding Ivereigh’s remarks. For reasons unknown, AI seems to have a bit of an obsession about LGBT people ‘out to get the Church’. When he was Public Affairs Advisor to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, he tried to squash the now exceptionally strong Soho Masses, by suggesting to various quarters that “they (LGBT Catholics)were out to get him (Cardinal Cormac)”. Nothing was further from the truth, of course, but then for AI truth, like beauty, might be more in the eye of the beholder, not least when it challenges… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

The archbishop added: “Marriage does not belong to the state any more than it belongs to the church. It is a fundamental human institution rooted in human nature itself. It is a lifelong commitment of a man and a woman to each other, publicly entered into, for their mutual wellbeing and for the procreation and upbringing of children.” Except when a heterosexual couple has no desire to have and/or physically cannot have children. Life-long except when the Church declares that a heterosexual marriage is annulled, rather than the couple is divorced, in which case the marriage magically never happened, which… Read more »

Robert ian williams
Guest
Robert ian williams

Ron ..are you and Diana ok? .. I’ve just seen the pictures of your Church…total devestation.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘As Giles says, he will be obedient to the rule of the Church on this,’

Why ?

‘Obedient’ and ‘will of the Church’ sound very very odd on his lips. Is this liberal ?

The only time anglicans use such language is around lesbian and gay equality. I smell a rat…

MarkBrunson
Guest

I’m fairly outspoken on the idea of cowardice amongst clergy – especially once they start getting titles like Dean, Canon and Bishop – but, in all fairness, it is possible to follow the rule while opposing the rule; to snatch a line from the disloyal opposition, it’s about behavior, not orientation. In this case, you follow the church’s rules – behavior – while you vocally opposing the rule – orientation. It *can* be cowardice if one tries to rationalize the rule – and, admittedly, I have not seen this video, but Giles Fraser doesn’t seem to justify the church’s rule,… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“God made me who I am. But God’s Church doesn’t want me. See you all on the Last Day” – Posted by Peter Copping

Peter, you are COMPLETELY WELCOME—as God made you, with your beloved—at the Episcopal Church. See you this Sunday?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

re: the obedience stance of Canon Giles Fraser on the subject of Gay Marriage; may I point out that the Church of England has long been the cockpit of a situation we might call ‘equivocation’ (not to say ‘levitation’) which, because of the conservative tenor of Church polity, occasions the double-mindedness of ‘believing one thing and practising another’. This has obtained within the Church of England on the matter of Gay Clergy for centuries now – and one suspects the R.C. Church – not only on the subject of gay relationships but also in the area of the overt practice… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

No ! ‘obedient’ is a weasle word.Liberals in the Church excell at them I have found.

‘We obey… God rather than men’ (Acts)

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Hmmmm? The longer I listen to these loud protests – all with the surface theme of protecting/defending marriage – the tag words include, natural, one man plus one woman, traditional, and similar? – the more I think I hear and sense a deeper subtext. The dominant emotion sounds like profound fear, wrapped in sacred righteous indignation. Not too far beneath these cognitive and emotional surfaces, however, I do hear more. I think the good church leaders making such negative pronouncements are indeed telling us something, as in: 1) folks are more afraid than they actually wish to spell out, plus… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Peter Smith is the Roman archbishop of Southwark. The ‘Catholic Church’ is on a collision course with no-one- neither the UK government nor anyone else. The RC denomination may well be — for all I know. But that denomination is not the Catholic Church. Check it out with your Creed, if in any doubt on this important matter. Very lax reporting – + some kind of failure of the religious imagination ? For those who pray the Creed, ponder it + meditate on it, line by line, how can the Catholic Church be thus mentally abandoned ? – its apostolicity… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

“‘We obey… God rather than men’ (Acts)”

The problem is, look what happened to the people who said that; do you have the courage to follow that path without being forced to? If not, it’s rather disingenuous to expect someone else to do so *for* you.

We all excel at weaselling out of the hard road.

Malcolm French+
Guest

I agree that words like “obedient” can be misused, and that sometimes disobedience is required by the Gospel.

That said, most struggles are engaged on a number of fronts, and both obedience (or in the language of an earlier Anglican culture, passive obedience”) and disobedience (or, in the secular context, civil disobedience) are tactics which may be appropriate in the course of the struggle.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

The problem is, look what happened to the people who said that; do you have the courage to follow that path without being forced to? If not, it’s rather disingenuous to expect someone else to do so *for* you. We all excel at weaselling out of the hard road. Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 25 February 2011 Since you ask, Mark Brunson,I did do it years ago and paid for it. No kudos- I am not (+ was not brave) but did what ‘I’ had to. I am sure what you are – apparently – getting so cross about. I… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

You seem to be projecting your “hot under the collar” as my “crossness” – I assure you, I am not cross, but arguing for a position of accepting that Canon Fraser may be both obedient to a rule, while not simply weaselling out of duty. He still publicly decries the church’s position – I do not use Church, but church, to indicate one ecclesial structure among many, in this case CofE – and does so regularly. As I noted, I have and will continue to criticize Giles Fraser at those times he tries to pacify and conciliate with the status… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

ok MarkB not to worry – these can get tangled !

Given your understanding of ‘Church’:

We can rejoice the The Church has spoken clearly through the authority of the Religious Society of Friends.

As I say attending a Quaker Wedding in a few weeks.

best wishes