Thinking Anglicans

LGBTAC: 'Embrace Civil Partnerships' – Bishops told

Press Release from the LGB&T Anglican Coalition

‘Embrace Civil Partnerships’ – Bishops told.

2nd February 2012 – for immediate use

The time has come for a change in stance on Civil Partnerships is the message from pro-gay groups in the LGB&T Anglican Coalition.

In its submission to the House of Bishops review group on Civil Partnerships, (made public today) the Coalition calls on the Church of England to allow churches to register Civil Partnerships, authorise services of Thanksgiving and Dedication, and end the ban on Bishops in Civil Partnerships.

With over 47,000 Civil partnerships had been registered by the end of 2010, the submission notes that “As social attitudes towards those in same-sex relationships have become increasingly open and accepting, the Church of England is becoming increasingly isolated. This is in turn damaging both our mission and our ability to provide pastoral care to those in our parishes, congregations, and clergy.”

On offering Civil Partnerships in Parish Churches, the Coalition has already identified 95 churches who want to press ahead but General Synod would need to approve the application. Although negative statements have been made by the Church of England’s Press Office,

“the fact that there has been no possibility of discussion within the Church about whether individual churches should be allowed to register their for Civil Partnerships is in itself a retrograde position for the Church of England to be in.”

On services of Thanksgiving and Dedication, the Coalition has called for an experimental liturgy to be introduced in the same way that such services were permitted following marriage after divorce in the 1990’s.

“The present situation where services of blessing are proscribed and the creation of public liturgies deemed to be wrong, is creating pastoral tensions, ecclesiastical ambiguity, and a culture of double standards… As a minimum step, therefore, the Church should permit services of thanksgiving and dedication to take place in pastoral response to the large number of civil partnerships. To refuse to respond in such a way would confirm fears that the present ban is motivated by prejudice rather than theology or religious belief. “

On the current ban on appointments of openly gay clergy to be Bishops the Coalition calls for an immediate end to the moratorium:

“One of the most pressing needs is to see an end to the moratorium on appointment of bishops in civil partnerships even if celibate. There is no justification for the current moratorium and it should be repealed immediately.”

The submission also warns against putting up barriers to such appointments:

“Furthermore, any attempt to deter or exclude such candidates by singling them out for intrusive questions is not only unjust and hurtful to the individuals concerned but also damaging to mission and ministry.”

In response to the submission, the House of Bishops review group has invited members of the Coalition to meet with them to discuss the issues further.

The Coalition is also organising an Act of Witness at General Synod drawing attention to the many hundreds of LGB&T clergy who minister in the Church of England despite the discrimination and suspicion which they often suffer. The Act of Witness will take place on Thursday 9th February, 8:30-10am in Deans Yard, Westminster.

The full text of the submission is available as a PDF file from here.

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Robert Ian williams
Robert Ian williams
11 years ago

Of course the foundation for this was laid in the 1930 Anglican decision to accept contraception. Once you divorce the uniative from the procreative, this is where it leads you. However contemporary conservative Anglicans want contraception but not the thought through theology.

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

A very commendable effort on the part of LGBTAC. But, will the Bishops listen this time?

11 years ago

RIW, you DO realize that Rome’s “unitive and procreative” meme was invented some decades after the Anglican decision to permit birth control?

Like the Gentiles & Pagans around them, the Judeo-Christian tradition has been encumbered with patriarchy and fertility cult-ishness.

In 2012 however, followers of Jesus, led into all Truth by the Holy Spirit, are outgrowing this dubious legacy. Maranatha! 🙂

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

Dear Robert Ian Williams. Where, in your experience has there ever been a conception that has not been the product of what you are pleased to call – ‘The Uniative from the procreative. That’s actually how conception works – be the design of the Creator.

However, there is also a case for the unity of persons that does not result in pregnancy – even if intended. Simple biological fact. Nothing particularly ‘spiritual’ here.

You really do need to emerge from the Dark Ages!

Laurence C.
Laurence C.
11 years ago

“Of course the foundation for this was laid in the 1930 Anglican decision to accept contraception. Once you divorce the uniative from the procreative, this is where it leads you.” Robert Ian Williams

I am reminded of a line spoken by the character Rachel in the popular sit-com ‘Friends’:

“No uterus – no opinion”

11 years ago

So, riw, Let is imagine a widow past child-bearing age, proposing to marry an elderly widower. Would their “union” be a marriage or not? Would the Roman Catholic church turn such people away? Is it unitive, even though it can’t be intended to be, nor can actually be, procreative?

If the answer to the questions is yes, no,and yes – then your theology is holed beneath the waterline.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
11 years ago

One might also make the point that even in the most catholic of countries of Europe, such as Spain and Italy, the number of births has sharply declined, barely to replacement level, clearly as a result of the vast numbers ignoring the Pope’s strictures on birth control. What ever your theology might be the people have put two fingers up to it.

Tobias Haller
11 years ago

Unless one things that menopause is a human invention, it would rather appear that as a part of the created order procreation and union are separate phenomena which overlap for part of a fertile couple’s life together. For infertile couples this overlap never exists. Yet the chruch has never taught that infertile couples were forbidden marriage. As noted above, this idea that the two concepts are inseparable is a quite modern, or even post-modern, invention. Not that I’m against modern things, but this is hardly “catholic” teaching in an historic sense.

Gerry Lynch
11 years ago

@Robert Ian Williams

“Of course the foundation for this was laid in the 1930 Anglican decision to accept contraception. Once you divorce the uniative from the procreative, this is where it leads you.”

Well, goodness, yes. Of course it does. Your problem is?

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