Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stevens holds line as Government publishes same-sex marriage Bill

From The Church Times-

THE Government's same-sex marriage legislation, published today, was brought forward too hastily and without a "clear mandate", the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, has said.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was presented to Parliament yesterday, and is due to have its Second Reading on 5 February, when it will be debated by MPs.

Part of the Bill reads: "Any duty of a member of the clergy to solemnize marriages (and any corresponding right of persons to have their marriages solemnized by members of the clergy) is not extended by this Act to marriages of same sex couples." It defines a member of the clergy as "a clerk in Holy Orders in the Church of England, or . . . of the Church in Wales."

The Bill contains a "quadruple lock" of measures designed to protect religious freedom, including no religious organisation being compelled to marry same-sex couples ( News, 7 December).

Bishop Stevens said in a statement from Church House this morning that Church officials had "continued to raise questions about whether it is wise or appropriate to legislate at speed on a matter of such fundamental importance to society, when the proposal was not in any major party manifesto, the Coalition Agreement or the last Queen's Speech.

More here-

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