Thursday, March 4, 2010
Across the pond: Anglican bishops back end to ban on gay civil partnerships in church "Gay couples could soon be allowed to “marry” in church after a decision by Anglican bishops and other clergy to support a relaxation of the ban. Senior bishops in the Lords have told The Times that they will support an amendment to the Equality Bill next month that will lift the ban on civil partnership ceremonies in religious premises. The amendment would remove the legislative prohibition on blessings of homosexual couples and open the door to the registration of civil partnerships in churches, synagogues, mosques and all other religious premises." ... "The Church of England, which along with the wider Anglican Communion is divided over gay ordinations and same-sex blessings, will maintain its official ban. But if the legislative prohibition is lifted, as seems likely, the Church’s own ban is likely to be ignored by some clergy." ... "The Quakers have called for the law to be changed to give same-sex partners the same status in their ceremonies as heterosexual couples. They joined forces with Liberal Judaism and the Unitarians to support an amendment to the Equality Bill giving religious organisations the freedom to register civil partnerships. Lord Alli’s amendment would remove the bar in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 on religious premises being used for civil partnerships — and also the prohibition on religious language being used in such ceremonies. This would in effect end any remaining distinction between civil partnerships and marriage and increase the pressure on the established Church to take a more liberal line on same-sex relationships. It would also deepen the schism in the Anglican Communion over gay blessings and gay ordination."