Archbishop of Canterbury response to US Episcopal Church Resolution on Marriage

The Anglican Communion News Service, (ACNS), reports that Lambeth Palace has issued the following statement following the US Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ resolution to change the definition of marriage.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury today expressed deep concern about the stress for the Anglican Communion following the US Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ resolution to change the definition of marriage in the canons so that any reference to marriage as between a man and a woman is removed. Continue reading

Climate change, the Archbishop and the Pope

An analysis of the approaches to climate change taken by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church

On 19 June, the Church Times reported  that when asked to contrast General Synod’s response to climate change and the encyclical published by the Vatican, William Fittall, its General Secretary said “you would struggle to put a cigarette paper between [them]”. In his blog Jonathon Porritt posed a different question: Can Archbishop Welby (a Former Oil Man) Rise to the Pope’s Challenge?, and concluded: “… there’ll be plenty of people there arguing that the Church of England’s leadership on climate change is just as significant as the Pope’s. Frankly, that’s just not true. Right now, the contrast between Pope Francis’s and Justin Welby’s approach to climate change could not be more stark.” Jonathon’s post helped crystallize some early thoughts on a drafting a post from yet another point of view: “What can the Catholic Church learn from the Church of England on climate change?” Continue reading

White supremacist charged with inciting racial hatred

In this week’s round-up we mentioned the judgment by the Grand Chamber ECtHR in Delfi AS v Estonia [2015] ECHR 586, in which it held by fifteen votes to two that an online news portal was liable for offensive comments posted by its readers below one of its news articles.

In a rather similar vein, the Jewish Chronicle reports that a white supremacist, one Joshua Bonehill-Paine, has been charged with inciting racial hatred in various blog posts ahead of a neo-Nazi protest due to take place in north-west London next week. Continue reading

Religion and law round-up – 28th June

As we continued to digest Laudato si’, there were landmark rulings on same-sex marriage in the US and on national CO2 reduction targets in the Netherlands

Same-sex marriage and SCOTUS

On Friday the US Supreme Court handed down judgment in Obergefell v Hodges 576 US ___ (2015).

By five votes to four (Kennedy, Bader Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan JJ: Roberts CJ, Scalia, Thomas and Alito JJ dissenting) the Court held that the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment oblige all states to provide for same-sex marriage and to recognise same-sex marriages granted in other states. Religion Clause has helpful short summaries of both the majority opinion delivered by Kennedy J and the dissents. The majority concludes:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.” Continue reading

Round-up of consistory and other cases, May and June

A relatively small number of consistory court judgments have been reported over the past couple of months; however, in early May we posted on a significant Court of Appeal judgment Sharpe v Bishop of Worcester [2015] EWCA Civ 399 in which the Court held unanimously that the Revd Mark Sharpe, formerly Rector of Teme Valley South, was not an “employee” of the Bishop of Worcester or a “worker” for the purposes of employment law.

Following the announcement by Cardiff University that its Law School had hosted a hearing of the Church of England’s Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury, we ran a post on this little-known corner of the Archbishop’s jurisdiction. The Faculty Office has announced that two discipline cases of alleged notarial misconduct had been decided in the Court of Faculties in June, and the decisions in those two cases will be available at Recent decisions of the Court of Faculties.

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Climate change and human rights – the Urgenda case

States’ legal obligations on climate change extend beyond international treaties and include independent legal obligations towards their citizens. Hague District Court’s landmark ruling held that the Netherlands must take more action to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions

Coming within a week of the publication of Laudato si’, on 24 June 2015 the Hague District Court handed down its judgement in Urgenda Foundation v The State of the Netherlands (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment [2015] Case C/09/456689/HA ZA 13-1396 [English Translation]. The court Press Release summarizes the proceedings:

“The Hague District Court has ruled today that the State must take more action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. The State also has to ensure that the Dutch emissions in the year 2020 will be at least 25% lower than those in 1990. The Urgenda Foundation had requested the court for a ruling. Continue reading