Meeting with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

A meeting between the Coalition and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has been arranged for the 18 April 2013. Major points which the Coalition wishes to put to the Archbishop are as follows:

How does the Archbishop intend to get a better understanding and appreciation of the frustration LGBT Christians are experiencing in the Church of England and what plans does he have to address this? How aware is the Archbishop that some parishes are inhospitable places for LGB&T people? Will he take a lead in helping to make it a safer place for them? If so, how and when does he propose to do this? How much experience does the Archbishop have of transgender people, and what are his thoughts and plans for greater transgender inclusion in the Church of England. What are the Archbishop’s views on the Church of England permitting churches to offer prayer and dedication (or prayer and thanksgiving) for couples who have had a civil partnership (or civil marriage) ceremony? What are the Archbishop’s views on liturgies of blessing for same sex couples? What protection can clergy who are in Civil Partnerships expect from diocesan bishops who are openly hostile to such couples and are perceived as deeply homophobic? What opportunities might there be for the care of LGB&T ordinands at theological colleges? The Archbishop’s views on the need for greater education on LGB&T issues within the Church of England. The Archbishop’s views on the House of Bishops reports on Civil Partnerships and Human Sexuality.

Proposed agenda [PDF].

Clergy back same-sex marriage in Times letter

The Church of England has “nothing to fear” from the introduction of gay marriage, according to a group of senior bishops and clergymen.

The influential Anglicans said the prospect of same-sex marriage should be a “cause for rejoicing” and argued the perception that the majority of the Christian Church opposed legalising it was wrong.

In a letter to the Times, the signatories which include members of the General Synod, the governing body of the church, and high-ranking clergy, said: “Recent statements by church leaders past and present may have given the impression that the Church is universally opposed to the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples. We believe that does not adequately reflect the range of opinion which exists within the Church of England”…

Full letter [PDF].
Full articleThe Times.

Government equal civil marriage consultation

This consultation sets out the government’s proposals to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage.

The key proposals of the consultation are:

  • to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage i.e. only civil ceremonies in a register office or approved premises (like a hotel)
  • to make no changes to religious marriages. This will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman
  • to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert this into a marriage
  • civil partnership registrations on religious premises will continue as is currently possible i.e. on a voluntary basis for faith groups and with no religious content
  • individuals will, for the first time, be able legally to change their gender without having to end their marriage

Current legislation allows same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, but not civil marriage. The full details of the consultation are included in the consultation document and impact assessment files which are available to download.

Equal civil marriage consultation [PDF].
Impact assessment [PDF].
Respond online [online survey].

The consultation closes on 14 June 2012.

Advancing Transgender Equality: a plan for action

Launch of the Government Equalities Office document, “Advancing Transgender Equality: a plan for action”

On 4 December, the Government Equalities Office launched the first ever cross-Government action plan to advance transgender equality – “Advancing transgender equality: a plan for action”. It lays out the vision and the focus for commitment to deliver equality for transgender people. A copy of the plan may be accessed through the gndr website:

Government’s civil partnerships on religious premises consultation

The Coalition, LGCM and Changing Attitude have submitted responses to the Government’s CP Consultation. We need as many people as possible to reinforce our arguments and we encourage you to submit your own response.

The Consultation document itself and the form are both lengthy! We have prepared brief responses to the key questions. You’re welcome to read everything and respond to all the questions but if you’re short of time, use the ideas contained in the link below to make a quick response. Change the “I” to “we” as appropriate.

Suggested responses [PDF].
The Consultation []

The deadline for responses is 23 June 2011.

Please go to this site now and send your response – it will make a difference and encourage the Government to be radical in preparing the final legislation.

Government Equalities Office: transgender equality action plan

The Government Equalities Office will publish the first ever Government transgender equality action plan late in 2011. The action plan will outline commitments that the Government will deliver, within specific timescales, to improve equality for transgendered people.

The consultation process began in March 2010. Documents which are relevant to the consultation can be found at:

Contribute to the ConsultationGovernment Equalities Office

Tribute to Sonia Jardiniere

Sonia Jardiniere (also known as Sonia Burgess) died at approximately 6:30pm on 25 October 2010 after she was seen to have been pushed under a tube train at King’s Cross Station. Sonia was a transgendered woman. Her alleged assailant who has been charged with murder is an asylum seeker and is also another transgendered woman.

Sonia was the finest immigration lawyer of her generation and was responsible for a number of trailblazing cases. She has also made an enormous, though largely hidden contribution to the integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people into the mainstream Anglican Church.

On the 7th July 2010 the UK Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment ruled that homosexual asylum seekers should be granted refugee status if going home would result in them being forced to conceal their sexuality. Sonia posted a report on the case on the Sibyl’s Group Website which can also be accessed via the link below:

Obituary [PDF]the Guardian, 2 November 2010
Address given at Sonia’s Funeral [PDF]17 November 2010
Observer article [PDF]9 January 2011
Tribute, and Sonia’s report on the Supreme Court judgement [PDF]