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CofE says why civil partnerships should remain in UK

CofE says why civil partnerships should remain in UK

The Church of England has officially submitted its reason why civil partnership should be retained now that same-sex marriage is legal in the UK.

Akin to the public comment phase for revised federal regulation in the US, the 12 week consultation period opened in January and closes next Thursday, April 17.

The response was approved by the Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops’ Standing Committee and both the Archbishops of York and Canterbury.

Q10 Are there people who share a relevant protected characteristic other than those identified above who would be particularly affected by a decision to make, or not to make, one or more of the potential changes to civil partnership highlighted in section 3.1 of this document?

As outlined above, we believe that there will continue to be those, including some same sex couples, who believe on religious grounds that marriage is an institution which is defined as being between a man and a woman. This belief does not negate the fact that Parliament has decided, by large majorities, to extend the definition of marriage to embrace same sex unions. But it is in the nature of a plural democracy that beliefs conscientiously held by minorities should be respected where they do not undermine the practice of the majority. The retention of civil partnership will do nothing to undermine the validity of same sex marriage but will serve to provide a structure whereby those who retain this conviction will not be excluded from the legal and public benefits of their union but will be able to do so without doing violence to their conscientiously held beliefs


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Andrew Gerns

Kelvin, et. al.: There is no confusion here between the CofE and the UK. The marriage equality law went into effect in England and Wales on March 28. (A separate law has passed in Scotland, I believe, and will go into effect in the fall.) The comment period relative to the question of the future status of civil partnerships was open to everyone in those regions and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and their councils took the opportunity to comment on behalf of the CofE. Presumably they were not speaking on behalf of the Church of Wales, who, as far as we know, has not commented on the subject.



Gary Paul Gilbert

According to the ABC, any reoognition of same-sex couples leads to massacres in Africa, so why should they care about civil partnerships? I would have thought they would be recommending the closet.

Seriously, because Parliament failed to open civil partnerships to sex-discordant couples, it would make sense to convert civil partnerships automatically to civil marriage as soon as possible. Civil partnerships were a consolation prize for same-sex couples until Parliament allowed marriage equality.

With full marriage equality, there is no justification for civil partnerships. They are less likely to be reoognized in other jurisdictions and it is not clear they can provide the identical rights and protections of marriage.

The C of E should stay out of secular law.

Gary Paul Gilbert

John B. Chilton

Displaying my ignorance, but is the UK taking away the civil partnership option?

Alternatively, is it both opposite-sex and same-sex couples access to a choice between civil partnership and marriage?

William Gilders

It would be interesting to hear from one of those same-sex couples, for whom this statement purports to speak, “who believe on religious grounds that marriage is an institution which is defined as being between a man and a woman,” and who therefore don’t wish their committed, monogamous relationship called “marriage”! It makes me wonder if there are African-Americans around who believe that separate water fountains and restrooms really were a good thing.


Quoting a wag at Thinking Anglicans, “The CofE bishops need to preserve the back-of-the-bus, so they can keep gays there”.

You can’t put the toothepaste back in the tube, dear bishops. The name of the game is MARRIAGE EQUALITY now, and no second-rate options are acceptable!

JC Fisher

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