Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill – Bishop of Oxford responds to amendment on same-sex marriage

On 1st March 2019 the House of Lords considered the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill at its Report Stage. Lord Faulkner of Worcester tabled an amendment to the Bill similar to that which he had tabled in Committee on the process by which the Church of England and Church in Wales might opt-in to conduct same-sex marriages. The Bishop of Oxford responded to the amendment, explaining that it was not necessary as there were already legal mechanisms in place for both Churches to opt-in should they choose to. The Minister also emphasised these points in her response and the amendment was not put to a vote. The Bishop’s speech is below, and the whole debate on the amendment is reproduced underneath.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, those were extremely moving speeches. I thank the noble Lords, Lord Faulkner, Lord Collins and Lord Cashman, and the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, for the contributions they have made in the Chamber today and the moving way in which they have spoken. I thank them for sharing their personal experiences so movingly, and for the important and necessary articulation of the views they have heard within the broader Church of England in favour of movement and inclusion. I deeply regret the language used in writing to the noble Lord, Lord Collins, and others; it has no place in the contemporary Church.

The Church is committed to listening carefully to the wisdom of the nation, to the wisdom in our continued debate in this Chamber and to the voices of LGBTI people at all levels in the life of the church. We are committed in our public statements to the inclusion and welcome of all.

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Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill – Bishop of Chelmsford responds to amendments on marriage

On 1st February 2019 the House of Lords considered in Committee a Private Member’s Bill, the Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill. This Bill incorporated provisions on marriage registration that the Bishop of St Albans had successfully piloted through the Lords in his own Private Member’s Bill in 2018. It included extra provision relating to registration of stillborn children, and civil partnerships for opposite sex couples. 

The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke during debate on two amendments to the Bill. The first, briefly, on an amendment from the Bill’s sponsor Lady Hodgson, to enable the conversion of civil partnerships to marriage, and vice-versa, through the introduction of Regulations that could amend primary legislation, including Church of England Measures. The amendment was passed after debate.

The second on a probing amendment from Labour Peers, which was withdrawn after debate, to remove the provisions in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 that give legal security to the Church of England and Church in Wales in setting and maintaining their doctrinal position on marriage.  The Bishop’s speech on that, and the responses of other Members including the Government front bench, the Bill’s sponsor and the amendment’s sponsor are below: Continue reading “Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill – Bishop of Chelmsford responds to amendments on marriage”

Registration of Marriage Bill – Bishop of St Albans’s Bill passes Committee stage

On 29th June 2018 the House of Lords considered in Committee the Registration of Marriage Bill [HL], a Private Member’s Bill introduced by the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith. The Bishop moved a number of amendments to the Bill in response to points raised by Peers at an earlier stage. Being content with the amendments, the House passed them and the Bill completed its Committee Stage. A full transcript is below:


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Church Commissioner Questions: modern slavery, Middle East peace, Church of Scotland relations, LGBTQ community, bell ringing, Nigerian Christians, religious literacy, overseas orphanages, affordable housing, gay conversion therapy.

On 7th June 2018 Dame Caroline Spelman MP, representing the Church Commissioners, answered questions in the House of Commons from MPs on modern slavery, Middle East peace,  Church of Scotland relations, LGBTQ community, bell ringing, Nigerian Christians, religious literacy, overseas orphanages, affordable housing, and gay conversion therapy.  A transcript is below:

The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: modern slavery, Middle East peace, Church of Scotland relations, LGBTQ community, bell ringing, Nigerian Christians, religious literacy, overseas orphanages, affordable housing, gay conversion therapy.”

Church Commissioner Questions: income inequality, Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, oppression of overseas Christians, same-sex marriage

On 26th October 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on income inequality, the Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, the oppression of Christians overseas and same-sex marriage.

Income Inequality

Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on income inequality. [901426] Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: income inequality, Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, oppression of overseas Christians, same-sex marriage”

Church Commissioner Questions – October 2016

On 13th October 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on school admissions, ecumenical relations, community cohesion, refugees, LGBT pastoral care, Scrooby parish, same sex marriage and cathedral repairs.

Caroline Spelman 1Church Commissioners Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – October 2016”

Church Commissioner questions: same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships, ethical investment

On 5th May 2016 MPs asked questions in the House of Commons to Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, on behalf of the Church Commissioners. Questions were asked on same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships and ethical investment:
Spelman CCQs June 2015 4 Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships, ethical investment”

Church and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act – Lords questions

Red BenchesOn 30th July 2014, Conservative Peer Lord Fowler asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they are satisfied with the enactment and operation of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.”

In his follow up question, Lord Fowler raised the situation of clergy who are married to someone of the same sex. A number of other Peers also asked questions relating to the situation in the Church of England.

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, set out the Church of England’s position in his own supplementary question and the full transcript of all the exchanges is reproduced below: Continue reading “Church and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act – Lords questions”

MPs Questions to Church Commissioners: Cathedrals, same-sex marriage, investments, mission, growth and female bishops

In Church Commissioners’ question time in the House of Commons on 27th March Sir Tony Baldry MP was asked by MPs to answer questions on cathedral repairs, same-sex marriage, investment returns, diocesan mission and church growth.

14.01 CCQ Baldry
Sir Tony Baldry MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner

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Bishop of Wakefield speaks in debate on secondary legislation for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act

The Bishop of Wakefield spoke during the debate on the statutory instruments relating to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. He drew the attention of Peers to the recently published statement by the Church of England’s House of Bishops, which set out the Church’s position on this subject. He noted the wide range of views on the subject, both in the Church of England, and in the wider Anglican Communion, and noted the on-going discussions taking place between the Anglican Church in different parts of the world on the subject of human sexuality. He also highlighted the Church of England’s commitment to tackling homophobia.

The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: It would seem odd to me if I were to just sit here silently after people, particularly the noble Baroness, have said what they have. First, I am sure that no one in the House of Bishops would have approached with anything other than irony the fact that the statement was issued on 14 February. Secondly, I entirely associate myself with the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Alli, about Uganda and other countries where such repressive measures have been taken. I am fairly certain that no one in the House of Bishops would want to say anything different.

The next thing to say is that, without any sense of disloyalty to the college to which I belong, there was a variety of opinion on how we approach the problem. It is a problem because we are dealing with a very long tradition, set out in the Book of Common Prayer. For a church that has a tradition that now goes back 450 years in what it has been saying about marriage, to move in a significantly different direction is a significant shift. There will be a variety of opinions, but that is an issue. Continue reading “Bishop of Wakefield speaks in debate on secondary legislation for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act”