Law and religion round-up – 23rd April

A week dominated by…

…the General Election, June 2017

On 18 April we published a short post on the announcement by the Prime Minister of her intention to move a motion for an early election in the House of Commons on the following day, under the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The House of Commons Library immediately published a helpful short guide to the election, and for anoraks, it answers the question: Will the Manchester Gorton by-election go ahead? vide infra. The House of Commons Library has also produced a briefing on the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

On 12:57 pm on 19 April, the Prime Minister moved “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election”. [HC Hansard, 19 April Vol 624 Col 681]. After a 90-minute debate, the House divided: Ayes: 522; Noes: 13.  Continue reading

Church of Scotland Theological Forum reports on same-sex marriage

The Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland has produced a report, An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage, in advance of next month’s General Assembly. The report examines three overlapping kinds of argument in some detail:

  • arguments based on understandings of human rights;
  • analogical arguments which try to build outwards from traditional understandings of marriage; and
  • fully theological arguments for the admissibility of same-sex marriage.

Continue reading

Marrying your sibling by accident: myth or reality?

In what may very possibly be a piece of “fake news” (aka “lies”), the Mississippi Herald website reported that a married couple had discovered they were twins after they went to a fertility clinic to find out why the wife was faling to conceive

According to the report, they had been separated at an early age when their parents died in a car crash and, because of what the report describes as “a filing error”, neither family knew that its foster-child had a twin. Continue reading

Celebrity Marriages (and others)

New church guidance of relevance to all CofE weddings

In February this year, the General Synod Legal Advisory Commission issued new advice on a number of issues including that of “celebrity marriages” (“the Advice”). This particular document will be of assistance to not only the clergy responsible for the conduct of such events, but for those involved in their arrangement and those wishing to attend. Furthermore, since “celebrity” affords such individuals few additional concessions in the conduct of a church service, much of the advice is applicable to all weddings. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 9th April

“Egg-bound” thinking by Church and State this week…

… but un oeuf is un oeuf, and so no more egg-related puns. However, we certainly didn’t expect the CofE Easter story statement to be about the “Trinity of Chocolate” (Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry). It was left to Dr Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham, to inject a degree of sanity into the Church’s position in his comments to the Church Times.

Gratefully accepting a gift-horse of a metaphor, the BHA described it as a storm in an eggcup; it was a gift to the cartoonists and bloggers, while Quakers might shed a silent tear for three businesses founded by Friends. Meanwhile, the willingness of Theresa May to wade into this media-generated nonsense emphasized her lack of action on weightier matters. David Tollerton, of Exeter University, suggests that the whole affair is redolent of “dog-whistle politics”: an undercooked mess that feeds English nationalism, while Esther McConnell, a direct descendant of John Cadbury, pointed out in a tweet that, as a Quaker, he didn’t celebrate Easter anyway.

A busy week in the courts Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 19th March

A week dominated by Brexit, ‘First Minister vs Prime Minister’ and the fall-out from the first judgments of the CJEU on religious manifestation… 

Brexit

As expected, on Monday the Commons rejected the Lords amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, the Lords did not insist on their amendments and the bill passed. So after a total of 70 hours of debate, the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on Thursday. The BBC reports that the Prime Minister is expected to wait until the end of the month formally to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave.

Meanwhile in Scotland… Continue reading

Banns of marriage – their development and future

Introduction

The legal requirement to read banns for couples intending to marry in church services was considered by members of the Church of England General Synod on 14 February 2017. Though Synod rejected moves that sought to end this “ecclesiastical preliminary” to marriage, important arguments were cited both for their retention and for their removal. In this post, we summarize the development and current usage in England and Wales, Scotland and the two jurisdictions in Ireland, and examine possible future directions. Continue reading