Thursday, June 23, 2011

Church of England to allow civil partnerships – if synod agrees

Church ceremonies for same-sex couples unlikely to be given go-ahead owing to traditionalists' opposition to homosexuality
Riazat Butt
Thursday 23 June 2011

The Church of England has said it would allow civil partnerships in its buildings but only if the General Synod agreed to the move, an unlikely prospect given the staunch opposition of traditionalists to homosexuality.

In response to the government's Equality Office consultation on the subject, the church said the "present objective" was to ensure that amendments to existing legislation continued to provide "unfettered freedom for each religious tradition to resolve these matters in accordance with its own convictions and its own internal procedures of governance".

Some religious groups welcomed last year's House of Lords decision to lift the ban on religious premises holding civil partnership ceremonies. The amendment to the equality bill, tabled as a free vote by Lord Alli, received overwhelming backing, including from several bishops.

But William Fittall, general secretary of the Archbishops' Council and member of the synod, which would decide whether to allow civil partnerships in churches, wrote: "For most Christian denominations, as well as other faith groups, the issues involved are set to remain sensitive and, to varying degrees, contested." the rest


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