Support the Café
Search our site

CoE clergy warned against holding civil union ceremonies

CoE clergy warned against holding civil union ceremonies

The government has set a date for opening the churches in England to civil unions (effectively same-sex blessings), but the Church of England has told the clergy that they may not participate.


The change in the existing law goes into effect on December 5th and removes the ban on performing civil union ceremonies in houses of worship. The ban represented an initial compromise to ensure passage of the civil union legislation in parliament.

But the Church of England is not going along

“A spokesman said: “We will study the draft regulations as a matter of urgency to check they deliver the firm assurances that have been given to us and others that the new arrangements will operate by way of denominational opt-in.

“If ministers have delivered what they said they would in terms of genuine religious freedom, we would have no reason to oppose the regulations. The House of Bishops’ statement of July 2005 made it clear that the Church of England should not provide services of blessing for those who register civil partnerships and that remains the position. The Church of England has no intention of allowing civil partnerships to be registered in its churches.””

More here.

According to one source that has contacted the Café, there’s a real fear on the part of the leadership of the Church of England that once the law allows for the option of civil unions in places of worship, some CoE clergy will go ahead and perform them (and entirely legal action at that point) and the result will be a very complicated row between the Church and the State.

(There’s an overview of the Church of England’s stance on civil unions posted here.)

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

10 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bill Carroll

I am quite sympathetic to the C of E hierarchy on this point. Parliament should not be deciding a question that touches on doctrine. I’m certainly in agreement with civil equality and would like the Church to surpass what is required under law, but I don’t think something imposed in this way will help the C of E move forward as a whole. I realize that this is the kind of dilemma one has with an established Church.

Bill Carroll

I am quite sympathetic to the C of E hierarchy on this point. Parliament should not be deciding a question that touches on doctrine. I’m certainly in agreement with civil equality and would like the Church to surpass what is required under law, but I don’t think something imposed in this way will help the C of E move forward as a whole. I realize that this is the kind of dilemma one has with an established Church.

Christopher Hayes

This conversation will get even more interesting if Prime Minister David Cameron succeeds in enacting civil marriage equality for same-sex couples, as he recently declared to be his goal at the Conservative Party conference.

Simon Sarmiento

Nick Knisely

A CofE (or any other kind oof) clergyperson will only be able to officiate at a civil partnership, if he or she has been designated a “civil partnership registrar” by a particular local authority. The government has decided that there should be no change to the present arrangement whereby it is entirely a local responsibility to decide who to designate. The only change proposed is to remove the previous absolute prohibition on clergypersons being registrars (but for civil partnerships only,not for civil marriages.)

Ann Fontaine

Simon – the problem is that most equate the two — and call it all marriage, a wedding, getting married. The church (TEC and CoE) can flub around all they want but the tide has turned.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_012
2020_013_B
2020_013_A

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café