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.

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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

Opposite-sex civil partnerships? Steinfeld & Anor in the Court of Appeal

S 1(1) Civil Partnership Act 2004 stipulates that only a same-sex couple may conclude a civil partnership: “A civil partnership is a relationship between two people of the same sex…”. In June 2014 the Coalition Government published the results of its second consultation on the future of civil partnership: Civil Partnership Review (England and Wales) – Report on Conclusions. After considering the responses to that consultation, the Government decided that it would not be making any changes at present.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan were refused permission to register a civil partnership at Chelsea Town Hall registry office and sought a declaration that, as a result of the enactment of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the bar in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 on opposite-sex couples registering as civil partners had become incompatible with Article 14 ECHR (discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (respect for private and family life). Their claim for a declaration of incompatibility was unsuccessful at first instance: see Steinfeld & Anor v The Secretary of State for Education [2016] EWHC 128 (Admin) and Adam Wagner’s very helpful summary on RightsInfo. On appeal, they lost by two to one. Continue reading

Gender dysphoria, family breakdown and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Background

In J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4, the couple, who were members of the North Manchester Charedi Jewish community, ended their marriage in June 2015 when the father, J, left home to live as a woman. J then had no contact with the children because of the attitude of the Charedi community to transsexuals [3 & 4]. J nevertheless “remained an Orthodox Jew, maintaining a kosher diet to the best of her ability and attending Orthodox synagogue when she could” [60]. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 15th January

The usual mix of the newsworthy, the obscure and the faintly ridiculous… 

Historic abuse in Northern Ireland…

The final report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has been submitted to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and will be published on Friday 20 January (though whether Northern Ireland will still have an Executive on 20 January is another question entirely). The investigation, which started in 2013, has been chaired throughout by Sir Anthony Hart, a retired judge of the Northern Ireland High Court. It looked primarily into cases of abuse that took place in 22 residential homes for children between 1922 and 1995. Continue reading