Saturday, 15 December 2012

Church In Wales: Didn't They Get What They Asked For On #Equalmarriage?

The Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, seemed rightly concerned when he complained after the equal marriage proposals of their implications for the Church in Wales.

How could it be just that a church that was disestablished nearly 100 years ago be banned from choosing whether to marry same-sex couples of not? Isn't it only fair they be allowed to choose, even if they currently are unlikely to choose to do so?

It seemed like yet another omnishambles. They didn't consult the Church in Wales and just went and treated them just like the established church in England. Disgusting. Except...

During the original consultation on marriage equality the Church in Wales gave an official response. The Ministry of Truth quickly found something interesting:

We note that at no point in the consultation document is the Church in Wales mentioned: paragraph 2.10, for example, refers exclusively to the Church of England. 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.
So, without wanting to discuss their needs in too much detail, they just requested that whatever was good for the Church of England was good for them too.

The Ministry of Truth goes on to say:

So, in fact, Dr Morgan is now in the rather curious position of complaining publicly about the government giving his church exactly what it asked for, the exact same provisions in law that are to be applied to the Church of England should the bill pass without any amendments to these statutory locks. One has to wonder, therefore, whether the Church in Wales simply didn’t understand exactly what it was asking for or what the ramifications of its request would be given the unique constitutional position of the Church of England as an established church, or whether Dr Morgan is perhaps being just a little bit disingenuous and opportunistic in his newly discovered opposition to a statutory bar on same-sex marriages within his own church.  
What is true here is that, unless the Church in Wales has a legal duty to marry all-comers similar to that which applies to the Church of England then there is no obvious reason why it cannot be left out of the explicit statutory provisions that are intended to apply to the Church of England, but it did, nevertheless, get exactly what it asked for and should at least have the courage to admit to that fact before it goes on to argue against the fourth lock.
So is this another Government mistake, or is this (just like with the Church of England) a case of a church not really thinking through the implications of what it was asking for in the original consultation?

I think we need more honesty from the churches and a lot less spinning!

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