Thinking Anglicans

Civil Partnerships and Marriage: latest views

Damian Thompson asks: Catholic bishops mount ferocious attack on gay weddings. So why don’t they want to talk to the press about it?

The National Secular Society thinks that Church-state confrontation over gay marriage could be solved with disestablishment.

Giles Fraser says I don’t see a threat in gay blessings.

Benny Hazlehurst has written: Towards a Theology of Gay Marriage.

And there was a letter in the Guardian published under the headline Toilets, insects … but not civil partnerships.


  • Laurence Roberts says:

    ‘I won’t ever conduct a same-sex blessing until that becomes the policy of the Church of England. That may mean I never will. But we all have the right to argue for change. And change we must.’

    The Revd Dr Giles Fraser is Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral and Director of the St Paul’s Institute.

    A religious liberal of the C of E kind.

    Lovely words ..

  • JCF says:

    “As Riazat Butt notes in the Guardian, Archbishop Smith is implicitly condemning not just politicians but *other religions* who solemnise gay partnerships in church, synagogues or wherever.”

    This is the key (and not just “condemning”, but trying to use Power-Over to STOP).

    Even if he’s just quoting R Butt, I’m glad D Thompson is getting to the heart of the matter.

  • JCF says:

    “Over the past few years, the Church has been making enemies in large parts of society — and not just the gay community — because it has failed to recognise that the love two members of the same sex can have for each other is legitimate or genuine.”

    This CANNOT be overestimated.

    Same-sex marriage won’t kill the Church(es), but homophobia might.

  • Randal Oulton says:

    Divorced people are allowed to remarry, but C of E dioceses are not compelled by law to have to do the dirty deed. I don’t see why they feel this would be any different.

    Honestly, the Church is wrapping itself around a fence pole over the “gay issue”, even though prohibitions against eating shellfish, women going about with uncovered heads and men shaving are mentioned far more. Very bizarre, and it’s getting quite boring, frankly. I think it’s all a cover-up to keep on dodging the biblical encouragement to give away all you have to the poor. No one had it more right perhaps than Samuel Butler in “The Way of All Flesh”, when he wrote “they would have been equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practised.”

  • ” We do not believe it is either necessary or desirable to allow the registration of civil partnerships on religious premises. These will not take place in Catholic churches.”

    – R.C. Archbishop Peter Smith –

    The royal ‘WE’ is obviously considered by Abp. Peter Smith to include the whole panoply of the Roman Catholic Church – although he may only be speaking on behalf of the Magisterium. However, that does not entitle him to disenfranchise other religious bodies (e.g. Quakers & Liberal Jews) from the prospect of doing what the government seems to think could happen – that Civil Partnerships could be welcomed by those religious organisations who wish to ‘bless’ gay relationships. – whatever we are disposed to call them.

    More welcome, were the articles by Benny Hazlehurst and Canon Giles Fraser, who both seem to see no theological reason why homosexual partnerships could not be given the blessing of the Church. These two Anglicans – from different types of churchmanship – give heart to those gay and lesbian couples who want to profess their life-long partnership in the presence of their fellow believers in their own church setting.

    This goes to show that this issue is a universal talking point, and not just relevant to any particular ‘party’ in the Church. May their articles be discussed by church people, so that there may be more light than heat projected into the ongoing conversations.

  • Cheryl Va. says:

    Amen to all those who see the need for reform.

    The love between two individuals does not preclude love between two other people. The wellbeing of one household does not compromise the wellbeing of another household.

    Unless, and only unless, the parties of one group make forays against the other. The issue then is the act of aggression and refusal to live well amongst thy neighbours.

    It is always amusing to hear Christians bemoaning how they are being oppressed and denied civil liberties in some parts of the world. They bemoan that they can not marry opening and honestly in their own faith in these places. Yet often, these same Christians are at the forefront of denying GLBTs access to civil liberties and to openly marry honestly in their own faith. They complain that they can not opening express their gifts and faith, yet repeatedly move to thwart and limit women’s ability to honestly and opening express their faith and gifts. They cry out for justice and freedom, yet are prepared to move heaven and earth to deny justice and freedom to others.

    God bless the secular states who are taking responsibiltiy for providing justice and freedom to their people, thank God there are leaders who are prepared to apologise for Christian abuse and put in place measures to assist those with unbearable burdens that the Christians have systemically abused or refused to assist.

  • john says:

    Laurence, Are you being sarky? There are lots of C of E priests who conduct such blessings and have done for years. I know some. You must know many more.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    NB john.

    You assume a lot about what and whom I know.

    But to be honest, I know nothing of the sort. Should I try to be more vigilant in perusing the Announcements in The Church Times,The Times and the Independent etc.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    john I don’t know what you mean by ‘bein snarky’- I’m not even sure I should be responind to your anonymous comment really. In future, I shan’t.

    But I am sick to the back teeth of the constant betrayals of lesbian and gay people and others by self styled liberals in the denomination.

    Rowan Williams par excellence but far from unique.

    Great wordsmiths but expect no real action and nothing that will in convenience them.

    I think I’m wasting my time…

  • John says:


    I certainly intended no offence. I wasn’t sure how to read your comment: whether you were commending G Fraser’s words or criticising him for the fact that it was ‘just words’. I think the ‘I’m not going to do it until policy changes, as it should’ line tenable, but when a prominent cleric such as he puts it in print I don’t like it: it seems to me to be toadying to the powers-that-be.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    OK John, I see. I must assume you are sincere. I still do not know why you imagine I ‘must know many more’ anglican ministers who have conducted or will conduct the Blessing of same-sex couples. I know none; and have never been invited to one in my entire life. They certainly are not done openly like opposite sex solemnization.

    I am attending a Quaker Wedding -and I do mean Wedding – of 2 women in April.

    As you seemed in doubt as to my meaning John –

    I am sickened by liberals in the Church of England who are all talk, to date (I’m only going back to 1975 onwards) on this issue.
    They are pretty spineless on theological issues such as authority and Christology. I realize few of us bother our heads about Christology; and are happy for the Church to spout all manner of obscurantist nonsense, which leaves most people cold.

    John Robinson was soon packed off back to Cambridge, having been warned to behave himself – and by god he did ! And Don Cupitt & David Holloway etc left out in the cold.

    While the bishops’ bench was filled with many an idiot both Evo + Anglo- and these have brought official christianity into further disrepute – and indeed disdain.

  • Simon Dawson says:

    John write “There are lots of C of E priests who conduct such blessings and have done for years. I know some. You must know many more.”

    And not always without official authority. When my partner and I asked our rector for a blessing service for our relationship back in 2001 ( the rector asked the arch-deacon for advice. The arch-deacon asked us not to be seen to “ape” the marriage service, but apart from that one caveat the rector was told that this sort of service was “exactly what the church should be doing”.

    Simon Dawson

  • Laurence Roberts says:


    I have been contacted by a friend, and reminded that s/he and partner DID invite me to their Blessing. So I must apologize to them and to all here.

    (I don’t think I had thought of that as being ‘in church’- but ill health prevented me. I think I thought it was on a hill-).

    My memory is not perfect these days. Maybe there will be a flood of comments here, with good news of happy events under the spiritual care of the anglican church.

    I am very happy for Simon, too. Is such ministry be offered widely I wonder. I’ve never seen such ministries offered on CofE notice boards, but have on notice boards of other churches.

    Also ‘aping’ does nt inspire much confidence in me.

    I am not scoring points here (I hope). It’s not a nice situation at all.

    in previous post I meant Richard Holloway of course.

    Why am I worrying about his stuff on a Monday morning ? – must get a life !

  • John says:

    Laurence and Simon,

    This is all good.



  • drdanfee says:

    So far as drafting a theology of equal marriage goes?

    Just put Tobias Haller’s book, next to Gray Temple’s book – and there we have very erudite, useful, thoughtful first steps. Published by pastors and scholars in USA, I might add; with various other Anglican provinces including UK dragging their feet and ho-humming and looking sideways with frowning faces at queer folks making ethical commitments of care to their partners and to their children.

    Just imagine the outlandish scandal of making a commitment to care, what will these horrid queer folks dare to do next that will destroy faith and decency?

    It is all just silly.

    That all the anti folks continue to act as if this theology were simply unthinkable/undoable, and that if we did do such a theology, it would rip scripture plus reason plus tradition to tawdry paper tissue shreds, flapping in a polluted secular wind rising?

    Unbecoming to believers? Inconsistent with the real world and real queer life facts?

  • As others have remarked on this and other threads: the clergy are often asked to ‘Bless’ mere secular objects – like boats, homes, halls, cars and even perambulators; So why on earth would God not want the ‘Bless’ the faithful mongamous relationship of ‘two people who Love one another, and wish to share that love for the rest of their lives” – (from the NZ Marriage Liturgy).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *