29 November 2013

Church launches consultation on same sex marriage and civil partnerships

The Methodist Church has launched a consultation on the implications of same sex marriage legislation for the Methodist Church.

The Methodist Conference asked a working group to look at the implications of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act for the Methodist Church back in July. The group's task is to report on whether the Conference should embark on a process of reviewing the Church's position on marriage and on civil partnerships. The consultation is open to Methodists and will run until early February.

Susan Howdle, chair of the same sex marriage and civil partnership working party, said: "The working party has begun its consultations by meeting a few pilot groups as well as having very lively conversations at 3Generate 2013 Children's and Youth Assembly. From this, we have begun to identify some of the key implications which the legislation poses for our Church.  We are now embarking on wider consultation, trying to fulfill our brief to be as open and inclusive as possible."

Following agreement by the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent on 17 July. The Act makes provision for the marriage of same-sex couples in England and Wales.

Susan Howdle continued: "We do urge as many Methodists as possible to respond, thoughtfully and prayerfully, to the consultation in order to help us to gauge the mind of the Church. We hope the time scale will allow at least some of the responses to be from groups who have met for discussion, but individual responses are equally welcome."  

The Methodist Church's position is that marriage is a gift of God and that it is God's intention that a marriage should be a life-long union in body, mind and spirit of one man and one woman.

1. Methodists without internet access can contact the Help Desk at Methodist Church House on 020 7486 5502 to ask for a copy of the consultation to be sent to them in the post  
2. The consultation can be downloaded from  /ssmcpworkinggroup.
For more information on the same-sex marriage and civil partnership working group, see here:  /ssmcpworkinggroup

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