A Question was asked at General Synod last Friday about this. (The deadline for filing Questions was several days prior to the issue of GS Misc 997.)
The Ven Jan McFarlane (Norwich) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. What consideration has the House given to the eligibility for the episcopate of those in civil partnerships?
The Bishop of Norwich to reply:
A. As Synod members will now have seen from GS Misc 997, which was issued last Friday, the House of Bishops has decided to review the pastoral statement on civil partnerships that it issued in July 2005 before the Civil Partnership Act came into force. That review will, among other things, address an issue on which the 2005 statement was silent, namely whether those in civil partnerships should be eligible to become bishops. To avoid breaking new ground while the review is in progress the House has concluded that clergy in civil partnerships should not at present be nominated for Episcopal appointment. The review will be concluded next year.
Supplementary Question from Mr John Ward (London):
In welcoming GS Misc 997 most sincerely and the review of the civil partnerships statement, will the House engage with the whole People of God when reviewing this statement, including lesbian and gay people in civil partnerships, and if so how?
A. Well, that will be a matter for the review group when it is established, how it goes about its work, and I think I wouldn’t want to say more than that. But your point is well made.