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Forbid civil partners, says lobby group

COMMUNICANT Anglicans must not take advantage of the new Civil Partnerships Act, the conservative pressure group Anglican Mainstream said this week.

Clergy should be forbidden from registering their partnerships under the Act by their bishops. This discipline should extend to the laity, it says in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The group dismisses the suggestion, said to have been leaked from the House of Bishops, that gay clergy might register a partnership on condition that they remained sexually abstinent.

The Government has said that registration under the Act would allow homosexual people to benefit from many of the legal advantages associated with marriage. Their partners could be assessed for child support, employment and pension benefits, and fatal-accident compensation; they would be recognised under immigration and nationality legislation, and also under the intestacy rules.

But, says Anglican Mainstream, the Church should be prepared to remedy any injustices that would flow from denying its members the benefits of registration by providing its own legislation for "all people in its employ who are de facto next of kin, not just those in registered civil partnerships".

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