Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill - Committee

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:45 pm on 1st February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Faulkner of Worcester Lord Faulkner of Worcester Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 12:45 pm, 1st February 2019

My Lords, I am deeply grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate and to the right reverend Prelate, who clearly thought a great deal about what he was going to say to us. It has been a remarkable debate. This is the first time since the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was passed, more than five years ago, that we have had an opportunity to talk about the attitude of the Church of England—and the Church in Wales, as the noble Baroness, Lady Barker, pointed out—to same-sex marriage in church. I make no apology for raising the debate because the fact that the Church is moving—at glacial speed, I am afraid to say—on this issue is because of the climate created in this House towards the whole issue of same-sex relationships. This House set the lead in passing that legislation with such enthusiasm in 2013, and I think there is a genuine move for us to give the Church a little push in the right direction.

Of course, I am aware that the General Synod has to pass its own legislation, but I cannot see the logic in us facilitating that by passing an amendment such as this and then giving the synod the opportunity to come round to thinking about whether it wants to do it. It is not mandatory; rather it is an opportunity for the General Synod to think further.

A lot could be said about the problems that the Church of England has with sexuality, particularly the sexuality of so many of its priests and other representatives. That is not a debate for today but it is something that I know the Church of England will have to come to terms with if it is not to be seen as hypocritical on issues around sexual relationships.

However, for today, and it is for today, if the Committee agrees, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment, but I reserve the right to bring it back on Report.

Amendment 2 withdrawn.