Skip to comments.New Act will establish gay marriage critics warn [CofE]
Posted on 08/12/2005 7:45:38 AM PDT by sionnsar
PARTNERS of gay clergy will be able to remain in the vicarage for months, under proposed legislation to give full effect to the Civil Partnerships Act. The full extent of changes that will be brought in by the Act, which comes into effect this December, will establish the partnerships as equivalent to marriage, critics argue. They are particularly alarmed that the Government will introduce the changes to Church law having secured the consent of the House of Bishops and Archbishops Council, but without any discussion at the General Synod, in the dioceses or parishes.
Legal advice has been given to Anglican Mainstream, the organisation that evolved from the Reading crisis, which details how the Government plans to change Church law by order to ad the term civil partner where the term spouse occurs. A Church of England spokesman defended the decision of the Archbishops Council and House of Bishops to give their consent without consulting with the wider Church. Had it been sought to make those changes by Synodical legislation, it might not have been possible to have them in place by the time the Act comes into force later this year. He added: Consent was given expressly on the basis that the introduction of civil partnerships does not of itself conflict with the Churchs doctrine on marriage. However, the Act proposes to amend four pieces of church legislation, which critics claim reveals how gay partnerships will be equivalent to marriage. Under the proposed amendment to the Pluralities Act, where a surviving spouse of a deceased incumbent is allowed to stay on for two months in the vicarage, surviving civil partner will be given the right to stay. With hundreds of gay clergy preparing to sign the register, it will give their partners the same rights as clergy wives and husbands. In deciding whether to grant legal aid to clergy involved in discipline proceedings, changes to the Churchs Legal Aid measure means that the Commission will now consider the financial means of any civil partner as it would in relation to a spouse. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, has revealed that there is great disagreement amongst the bishops on the issue. Writing in New Directions, he said: To me the CP Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of marriage by effectively equating same-sex relationships with it, notwithstanding the governments repeated assertion that this was not its intention.
It is, I judge, the dishonesty at the heart of the CP Act, which will render the Church of England so wide open to mischievous misrepresentation when the Act comes into force in December. The Act contains provisions enabling the Government to amend and even repeal other legislation in order to give full effect to the purposes of the Act, including amending and repealing church law.
---To me the CP Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of marriage by effectively equating same-sex relationships with it, notwithstanding the governments repeated assertion that this was not its intention.---
This is one reason why it makes no sense to hold the gay marriage-no, civil unions-yes, position. Such a position is to favor protecting and preserving the word marriage, not the actual concept and institution. But polls show that many people do hold this inherently contradictory position.
And if people holding that position are naive enough to think that domestic partnership and civil union laws will only provide some basic rights to gay relationships, and won't be elevated to the level of marriage, then they should just examine what the Calif Sup Court recently did when it said private country clubs must extend to domestic partners the exact same rights they accord to married couples. Courts will make damn sure that the intent of such legislation is meaningless, and will instead make sure it is applied as broadly as possible.
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