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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bizarre UK Government decision on Church in Wales

The decision by the UK Government to ban the Church of England in law from offering same-sex marriages is bizarre enough, the decision to include the Church in Wales is inexplicable.

As the BBC reports other religious organisations will be able to "opt in" to holding ceremonies, but as the Government say that the Church of England and Church in Wales have "explicitly" stated strong opposition they will not be included. Why not let them decide that for themselves as with other churches?  Apparently, that is the view of the Archbishop of Wales as well

According to the Minister there will be "quadruple lock" to protect religious freedom, involving:

Because the Church in Wales is disestablished then it is in a different position and has to follow a different process to the Church of England to amend the law.

If the Church of England passes its own resolution in Synod to opt-in then that becomes part of Canon Law and amends the law of the land. The Church in Wales does not have that option and if it decides to opt-in requires another Act of Parliament to implement its decision. There is a clear inequity here that can only be addressed by removing the Church in Wales from the legislation.
Peter you wrote: "...and Church in Wales had "explicitly" stated strong opposition"; so the Church in Wales has decided. Your comments make no sense since the Church in Wales, in your own words: "explicitly" stated strong opposition".

So on the one hand you write: "Why not let them decide that for themselves..." and then when they so decided that is also wrong.

I agree, let the churches decide, but when they decide the government should stay out of it.
That is a quote from the BBC and refers to the Government's aasertion that explicit opposition has been expressed. I have amended the passage to make it clearer.

I think in fact that explicit opposition has only come from the Church of England and that the Government are confused with regards to the Church in Wales, which reinforces my point.

In any case, the Church of England have it in their power to change their mind by amending canon law. The Church in Wales cannot do this but will need an Act of Parliament. That is the basis of my argument that the two churches should be treated separately.

In actual fact the best way to deal with this is not to include either church in the Bill but let them both decide how they wish to proceed without any Government interference whatsoever.

It is time the Church of England was disestablished as well.
It's like Disestablishment - the crowning achievement of 50 years of Welsh Liberal hegemony? - never actually happened. Utterly, utterly bizarre.
Get rid of the House of Lords as well then - it's an unelected chamber. Let's hope the Lib Dems stop sending up members from their own party to the House of Lords.
I agree with Anon 7.09. To include the Church in Wales in the Bill would in effect confer a 'special' status on it relative to the other denominations in Wales.

Cameron and his ilk can ride roughshod over our history, not that he is likely to know anything much about Wales and its past.
As regards the Church in Wales according to Professor Norman Doe of Cardiff Law School it is still established in regards to marriage (its clergy are still registrars). Which is probably why they included the Church in Wales in the legislation. The Church in Wales does have its own canon law which can be amended, and so allow same sex marriage.To be honest I do not know why they should treat the church in Wales and the church of England separately, perhaps because they are established.
The government is actually just doing what the Church in Wales asked it to do in the Church's consultation response.

"The Church in Wales is in an almost identical position to the Church of England with regard to the solemnisation of marriages. The Church in Wales’ concerns about the legal implications are therefore the same as those of the Church of England. We have taken note of these, and would seek assurances that the Government would specifically include the Church in Wales in any provisions for the Church of England under the proposed legislation."
Anon 8:34: We agree the House of Lords needs to be totally reformed but we are not going to stop creating Life Peers whilst it remains as it is. That would be cutting off our nose to spite our face.
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