Thinking Anglicans

House of Lords debate Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Updated Tuesday lunchtime

The Hansard report of the first day of debate is now available starting here at 3.10 pm, and continuing at 6.01 pm, after a half hour interruption for other urgent business, over here. The debate adjourned at 10.46 pm. It will resume today at around 3 pm.

A full index of speeches by speaker is here (scroll down).

Links to speeches by bishops and former bishops:

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s own record of his own speech can be found on his own website.

In his speech Hansard says he said that:

…Although the majority of Bishops who voted during the passage of the Civil Partnership Act through your Lordships’ House were in favour of civil partnerships a few years ago, it is also absolutely true that the church has often not served the LGBT communities in the way it should…

Whereas in his own transcript he says that he said:

Although the majority of Bishops who voted during the whole passage of the Civil Partnerships Act through your Lordships’ House were in favour of civil partnerships a few years ago, it is also absolutely true that the church has often not served the LGBT communities in the way it should. [emphasis added]

Update Hansard has been modified, and the word “whole” has been [re-]inserted in the sentence in the official record. Those who have studied the analysis linked below will see why the inclusion of this word is so significant.

TA readers will recall that back in June 2012 we published this detailed analysis of how the bishops spoke and voted on this matter, prepared by Richard Chapman: The Lords Spiritual and Civil Partnerships Legislation.


  • Craig Nelson says:

    Whatever the intrinsic merits all the bishops rubbed me up the wrong way. I really struggle to make sense of Archbishop Welby saying the Church hasn’t supported equality in the past and then going on to say it isn’t going to support equality in the future either – why end a losing streak?

    Lord Carey seemed a little understated compared to what I was expecting. I was a little amused by the reverence he showed to the lived experience of gay people and his need to listen to that. That’s funny because he maybe should have listened to it as Archbishop of Canterbury as well.

    I am though glad of the Archbishop of Canterbury not supporting the Dear amendment which is wisest course of action for the CofE at this stage. We are at least beyond the coughing and spluttering stage (though coughing and spluttering was plenty in evidence in other peers’ contributions including Lord Tebbit’s Lesbian Queen, Sperm Donor Heirs and Jill Knight’s rather bizarre collection of thoughts).

  • Laurence says:

    Harrries’ speech well worth reading and quite inspiring. It was lovely hearing him deliver it in his own distinctive, dulcet tones.

    Few bishops have done more than him for our cause of equality.

    As for the others … (those of a timid or squeamish disposition; or strong Christian feeling, may be well advised to give them a miss).

    I was interested to see Geo Carey attired like a Baptist minister – and hope the BUGB won’t mind too much!

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    I was in the chamber yesterday and will be there again today.

    The speech from the Archbishop of Canterbury needs to be heard as well as read. He was powerful in his apology to LGBT people.

    He took special care to welcome wholeheartedly the opinion of the Bishop of Salisbury and there was no doubt from his tone or manner that this welcome was sincere. Rowan Williams stuck his head around the door for this speech.

    I imagine that we might now see the resignation of Graham Kings?

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    I thought Baroness Morgan of Ely was also worth listening to ………..

  • badman says:

    Can I recommend Lord Deben’s speech too? It follows the one by Lord Carey. Lord Deben (the former John Selwyn Gummer) is a Roman Catholic convert from Anglicanism who made an intelligent speech dealing with points that have been much canvassed on Thinking Anglicans.

  • paul richardson says:

    As a priest serving in Salisbury diocese, I hope that we do not see the resignation of Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne. One of the delights of our diocese is a real determination to show that we can live together with our differences as a Church a be a sign of unity and reconciliation.

  • Iain McLean says:

    I agree with Martin that there were good things in the Archbishop’s speech. He rounded on his own crew and told them, as I and others have been urging, not to support the wrecking amendment. He apologised for past CofE treatment of LGBT people. He made it clear that he had authorised the recent letter by the Bishop of Salisbury. +Leicester will not support the wrecking amendment, but +Chester and +Exeter will: Chester on the grounds that “the present proposal would block the way to a far more sweeping reform” (hat tip FM Cornford).

    The main part of the speech was the best he could make of a bad case.

    What takes the shine off for me, though, is that weasel word “whole” (see above). He undoubtedly said it. I heard the speech live. By this morning it had disappeared from the Hansard transcript, though Simon may have an update for us.

    Without the word “whole”, he gives the impression that the bishops supported the CP Act 2004. We all know that that is not true. With the word, he admits (although not in so many words) that they tried to wreck it, but finally voted for it when their wrecking efforts had failed. The Chapman transcript makes this totally clear.

    While I am on, I apologise for my shorthand references to 1832 and 1911 – I had to keep the briefing note short. I meant what people have correctly interpreted me to mean.

  • simon Dawson says:

    Martin Reynolds wrote – in response to a comments about +Salisbury’s letter – “I imagine that we might now see the resignation of Graham Kings?”

    Why on earth should Bishop Graham resign? I have been to lectures by both men at Boscombe church in memory of Richard Hooker, who was rector there whilst composing his Laws.

    In the spirit of Hooker’s Anglican “harmonious dissimilitude”, if the two bishops can demonstrate a pattern of working constructively together for the good of the church, whilst disagreeing fundamentally on certain matters of doctrine, then that would be a gift to us all.


  • Jeremy Pemberton says:

    So the ABC “tweaks” history once again, by omitting critical words, to make it look like he, his predecessor, and the HoB have been lovely and supportive all along. I’m sorry, Martin, but his apology rings hollow. The best you seem to get is grudging tolerance allied to a polity that keeps LGBT relationships firmly anchored in ‘separate but equal’, which as we all know means ‘different, lesser and not equal’. All wrapped up in saccharine weasel words.

    Gosh, I am feeling angry and bitter today. Go on HoB, prove me wrong!

  • Rod Gillis says:

    On the matter of GLBT and the church, The overtures of the new ABC Welby reminds me of a line from an old “Who” tune, “Meet the new boss,same as the old boss”.

  • Iain McLean says:

    Re lunchtime update: congratulations to all involved in restoring the integrity of the “Hansard” record. One of these days, we might learn what spinmeister thought it was smart to try to alter the record.

  • Erika Baker says:

    I can’t find Lord Deben’s speech in Hansard, can anyone point me to it please?

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    So, the two day of committee are going to be very hot now the Dear amendment has been rejected.

    It’s typical of inclusive spirited commentators here that they still want to embrace the homophobes who lead Fulcrum. Their heartfelt hatred for inclusivity was revealed in a (now removed) comment from Martin Kuhrt, who damned Salisbury diocese to hell and back.

    My speculation on Graham Kings considering his position in Salisbury was based on his friend and political ally Andrew Goddard’s outburst on the Fulcrum website.

    It seemed that some sacred concordat had been breached and trust betrayed.

    But today in a conversation with Lord Ali I discover that far from the bishop of Salisbury being in a “rush”, the process has taken several months. Ali first having obtained the permission of Canterbury to approach a bishop and then remaining in consultation while Sarum first considered the matter and finally drafted his considered view. Lord Ali tells me that this was also discussed at the HofB meeting when Canterbury said bishops were free to discuss heir views.

    This important step clears the way for strong advocates for gay inclusion to move to the top of lists for consideration as bishops, along with the expected announcement that a serving bishop will enter a civil partnership soon. The hateful sort of confrontations Fulcrumites engineered in its campaign against Jeffrey John are now at an end, Sarum is now Mainstream!

    My friends here are correct to be cautious as to what bishops say in the Lords.
    Lord Ali called on the bishops, who now seem to have thoroughly embraced civil partnerships, to publish a blessing service soon. Those who talk the talk must walk the walk he chided!

    Still, there was a sea change going on, Welby was struggling against the tide, there was a deep sense that he knew it too.

  • Laurence says:

    It appears now that Welby was trying to walk on water !

    With limited success.

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