Memorandum Submitted by Daniel Hill to Parliament | Church Of England | Parish

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Memorandum submitted to Parliament in connection with the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.
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  Memorandum submitted by Daniel Hill (MB 95)Author:  Dr Daniel J. Hill, Secretary, Philosophy-of-Religion Study Group, Tyndale Fellowship Summary: n the light of the leading case of Tho!pson . Di#din, the $ill has the conse%uence that a parish !inister of the &hurch of 'ngland could not lawfully refuse a sa!e-se( couple ad!ission to Holy &o!!union. f this conse%uence is unintended it could easily #e re!edied #y a!end!ent. Submission: ). n the case of Tho!pson . Di#din *)+) .&. /00 1H.2.3 the Re erend &anon Henry Tho!pson, icar of 'aton in the diocese of 4orwich, refused to ad!it 5r lan $anister and the wo!an that was his wife at law, 5rs '!ily $anister, to Holy &o!!union. &anon Tho!pson6s ground for his refusal was that 5r and 5rs $anister were, in his iew, not !arried at all, #ut li ing together out of wedloc7.  The reason why he did not recogni8e the law6s iew of their !arital status was that 5r $anister had pre iously #een !arried to 5rs $anister6s sister, and &anon  Tho!pson considered that a union with one6s deceased wife6s sister could not #ea !arriage. The law of 'ngland and 9ales also held this iew until )+:;, when it was changed in the Colonial Marriages (Deceased Wife's Sister) Act  , )+:;, which was followed #y the  Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act  , )+:<. &anon  Tho!pson thus considered hi!self to ha e a lawful cause to refuse ad!ission to Holy &o!!union.  lawful cause was necessary for a clergy!an legally to refusead!ission to Holy &o!!union #y the Sacrament Act )/=<, s. > 1http?@@www.legislation.go .u7@aep@'dw;@)@)@section@A33. The House of 2ords held, against &anon Tho!pson, that?t is inconcei a#le that any &ourt of law should allow as a lawful cause the coha#itation of two persons whose union is directly sanctioned #y ct of Parlia!ent and is as alid as any other !arriage within the real! 1per 'arl 2ore#urn at p. /=:3.. The Sacrament Act )/=<, s. > is still in force today, so a !inister in a parish of the &hurch of 'ngland still cannot legally refuse ad!ission to Holy &o!!union toanyone without lawful cause.0. Tho!pson . Di#din is still #inding today, so 6the coha#itation of two persons6 cannot #e a lawful cause for the refusal of ad!ission to Holy &o!!union if their 6union is directly sanctioned #y ct of Parlia!ent and is as alid as any other !arriage within the real!6.=. lthough the 5arriage 1Sa!e-Se( &ouples3 $ill !a7es considera#le pro ision for freedo! of conscience for religious !inisters in general, and !inisters of the &hurch of 'ngland in particular, it !a7es no pro ision concerning the refusal of ad!ission to Holy &o!!union.  /. n conse%uence, if the $ill is passed in its current for! it see!s certain that a parish !inister of the &hurch of 'ngland could not lawfully refuse a sa!e-se( couple ad!ission to Holy &o!!union.;. f a parish !inister of the &hurch of 'ngland unlawfully refused a sa!e-se( couple ad!ission to Holy &o!!union that !inister could #e prosecuted 1as was &anon Tho!pson3 under a &lergy-Discipline 5easure or ct in the &ourt of rches 1Pro ince of &anter#ury3 or &hancery &ourt 1Pro ince of Bor73.<. lthough parish !inisters are to so!e e(tent under the authority of the Crdinary 1$ishop3 of the Diocese, the Crdinary would not #e a#le to oer any protection at law if he supported any parish !inister6s decision in refusing a sa!e-se( couple ad!ission to Holy &o!!union.<. f Parlia!ent wishes to protect the religious freedo! of a parish !inister of the&hurch of 'ngland lawfully to refuse a sa!e-se( couple ad!ission to Holy &o!!union then it would #e easy to do so #y inserting an a!end!ent to that eect in the $ill. March 2013
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