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Letters to the editor >

Registered civil partnerships: the Bishops turn wine into water

Sir, - After Some Issues in Human Sexuality and the Windsor report, there is consistency in the House of Bishops' preparing a draft proposal statement on civil partnerships ( News, 3 June). But the logic is depressing and relentless.

A civil partnership is not a marriage, but, like a marriage, it is cause for congratulation. Family and friends gather in support, and, after planning and preparation, two people enter a new state of life together. But, instead of the wine of celebration, the Church proposes to offer the water of discipline.

My heart sinks at the thought of the stiff and embarrassing atmosphere that will pervade the episcopal interview. It will be as if the quality, longevity and uniqueness of the same-sex relationship, all its beauty and passion, were as nothing, and the detail of sexual activity will be everything. Were marriage preparation conducted with such an imbalance, the interviewer would be thought unhealthily obsessed.

If I were a diocesan bishop, I should be more concerned to know why my lesbian and gay clergy didn't avail themselves of the Civil Partnerships Act. Without the dignity, recognition and protection the legislation accords to same-sex relationships, partners leave each other dangerously exposed to being set aside in matters of financial security and life-and-death decisions, and an opportunity for a role model of fidelity is missed.

 "Allowed to register"? We should be positively encouraged.
St Leonard's Vicarage, Beoley, Redditch B98 9AR

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