The UK Government Legislating for Civil Partnerships to be Available to Opposite Sex Couples
The Parish of Putney is part of the Inclusive Church Network. As part of this network we believe, among many other things, that where relationships are embedded within faithfulness, permanence, fidelity and love, then the intimacy and joy of sexual relations are life giving and reflect something of the great and immense love of God to all humanity. We believe that marriage can offer stability and clear intent that provides a wonderful place for the joy and the vulnerability of sexual relations, but we do not believe that heterosexual marriage has a monopoly of being the only suitable place for sexual relations.
The House of Bishops’ response, to the Government Legislation, is distilled down to a view that the only place where sexual relations rightfully belong is within the boundary of heterosexual marriage. This view had merit in the Ancient Middle East where women were the property of men and the value of ‘the asset’ was to be protected and where most heterosexual sexual relations could lead to children. It worked where there was no notion of the possibility of a same sex relationship displaying the values akin to those cited as being foundational to heterosexual marriage. However, it does not have merit as a sexual ethic in our changed context today.
The PCC of the Parish of Putney agreed that it is important for us to record our departure from the House of Bishops’ understandings. It is important, as we believe that hurt is being caused to many people, including both same sex and opposite sex couples, and that damage is being caused to the church by its inability over the last few decades to work through to a sexual ethic reflecting the hugely changed social, economic and cultural setting from those of the Ancient Middle East.
The PCC and clergy of the Parish of Putney delight in the diversity of human sexuality and say as clearly as possible: ‘All are welcome and our common life is enhanced by being a community where straight and LGBT+, married, single and partnered, young and old and every other shade in the diverse rainbow of humanity are valued, loved and essential members of our church.’
Rev’d John Whittaker
On behalf of the PCC of the Parish of Putney