Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill: Bishop of Chester highlights need to clarify divorce law

ChesterOn the 11th May 2018 the Bishop of Chester spoke during the second reading of Baroness Deech’s Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill.  The Bishop spoke about the developments in the approach taken by the Church of England to divorce and supported the outline of the Bill. Bishop Peter highlighted concerns regarding areas of the Bill relating to children, premarital assets and the need for a more adequate safety net.  Baroness Vere of Norbiton responded to the debate for the Government and her comments can be found below. The Bill was read a second time and has moved to Committee Stage.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I join others in congratulating the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, for her persistence and perseverance in bringing this Bill forward and for her very elegant opening speech.

Continue reading “Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill: Bishop of Chester highlights need to clarify divorce law”

Time to recognise mothers’ names – Bishop of St Albans and Caroline Spelman

The following article was published in the Church Times on 2 March 2018:

Time to recognise mothers’ names

Our Bill will right an injustice and lessen clergy burdens, say Alan Smith and Caroline Spelman.

THE current system of marriage registration contains a clear and historic injustice. Only the couple’s fathers’ names are formally recorded when the marriage is registered. This practice, unchanged since 1837, means that mothers are systemically overlooked on a day that celebrates the creation of a new family.

We have, therefore, chosen to introduce identical Bills in the House of Lords and the House of Commons to ensure that mothers’ names are equally recognised when marriages are registered (News, 2 February). MPs from all main parties have supported calls for reform, and a 2014 petition asking the Government to include mothers’ names received more than 70,000 signatures.

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Ecumenical Marriage Bill – Bishop of Winchester points to difficulties

Bishop of WinchesterOn the 23rd February 2018, Lord Deben’s  ‘Ecumenical Marriage Bill’ was debated in the House of Lords at Second Reading. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke during the debate to say that he could not support the Bill for reasons related to detail and due process. The Government also declined to give the Bill its support, but as is convention, it passed Second Reading to be considered further in Committee. The Bishop’s speech and the closing speeches of the Minister and Lord Deben are reproduced below:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Deben, for giving us the opportunity to speak about issues of such importance to this Bench as the celebration of marriage and our ecumenical relationships. I first acknowledge the personal and pastoral issues raised by the noble Lord and the way that he has so succinctly put those in his four concluding points, about sacraments, the ecumenical world, the fudges and the ecumenical movement.

I am, therefore, rather embarrassed to start with something slightly more dry and technical. However, I begin by addressing what I believe to be the key issue here, which is constitutional in nature. There is a long-standing constitutional convention, with which noble Lords will be very familiar, that the Church of England makes its own legislation by synodical process. That legislation comes before Parliament for approval, having first been considered by the Ecclesiastical Committee. This Bill represents a departure from that convention. Continue reading “Ecumenical Marriage Bill – Bishop of Winchester points to difficulties”

Lords backs Bishop of St Albans’ bill on marriage registration

On 26th January 2018 the Registration of Marriage Bill [HL], a Private Member’s Bill by the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was debated at Second Reading in the Lords. It received the backing of Government all other parties, and having passed Second Reading now proceeds to Committee. The speeches of the Bishop opening and closing the debate, and the Government Minister’s reply are reproduced in full below:

Second Reading

12.42 pm

Moved by

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the purpose of this Bill is to correct a clear and historic injustice. When a couple are married and that marriage is registered, there is currently provision only for a father’s name to be recorded. This is an archaic practice and unchanged since Victorian times, when children were seen as a father’s property and little consideration was given to a mother’s role in raising them. Continue reading “Lords backs Bishop of St Albans’ bill on marriage registration”

Church Commissioners’ Questions – marriage, vocations, gay conversion therapy, Middle East Christians, counter terrorism

17.12.07 Carolinespelman2On 25th January 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on marriage registration, vocations, gay conversion therapy, Christians in the Middle East, and counter terrorism measures at York Minster and other religious premises. The full transcript is below:

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Church Commissioner Questions: Marriage Registration, Religious Minorities in Egypt

On 7th December 2017 MPs put questions to Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, on the Bills she and the Bishop of St Albans are sponsoring to enable mothers names to be registered in equal terms alongside fathers on marriage certificates, and on attacks on religious minorities in Egypt.

Marriage Certificates: Equal Registration

Gillian Keegan (Chichester) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902808]

 Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902809]

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902814]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): I have had many recent discussions with Departments, particularly the Home Office, not least because of my Registration of Marriage (No. 2) Bill, which is in train. There is an identical Bill before the House of Lords that would achieve the same purpose of allowing mothers to sign marriage certificates. I am not precious about which Bill gets to the finishing line first—we just need to do it. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: Marriage Registration, Religious Minorities in Egypt”