News: Catholic Church threatens to sack teachers in gay marriages

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With the UK government on track to push through same sex[***] marriage legislation, the Catholic Church has warned that teachers entering what it calls  “non-chaste” relationships outside of Church-sanctioned marriage face the sack.

The guidance - contained in Christ at the Centre: Why the Church provides Catholic Schools - also says that teachers in Catholic schools should not enter civil ceremonies (such as civil partnerships) that do not meet the Catholic Church’s approval.

In the booklet the General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Monsignor Marcus Stock, claims that key staff members and governors cannot perform their roles if they make "substantive life choices" that are incompatible with church teaching. These would include same-sex[***] civil partnerships.

It is unlawful to discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of their sexuality. 

The Department for Education says that faith schools are allowed to consider whether a person’s conduct is in line with their religious values when dismissing teachers, but warns: "Schools must also comply with employment law.”

But the booklet warns that senior teachers in “a partnership of intimacy with another person, outside a form of marriage approved by the church…can be removed from office.”

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church told the Daily Telegraph: "This isn’t about checking up on people.  It is informing people called to leadership positions in Catholic schools that these are the expectations of someone in a senior role."

Back in 2007, shortly after civil partnerships were first introduced in the UK, the Catholic Church suffered a defeat when lawyers made it clear that it could not dismiss a primary school headteacher who had entered into a civil partnership.

 

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31st Jan 2013 12:42

How interesting - look at all the 'tags' for this thread - bigotry, catholic church, discrimination, equality, gay marriage, homophobic, illegal, pope

Not one says tolerance or religion and 50% of them are threatening in one form or another - i.e. bigotry, discrimination, homophobic, illegal. Unfortunately seems to be general the tone displayed against anyone who, for one reason or another, may have a perfectly valid objection to the proposals

However there are huge ramifications with the introduction of same-sex[***] marriages and not enough thought has really been given to the process, instead of trying to bulldoze legislation through that may actually have a far reaching impact. Perhaps with a little more thought, the same goals could have been broadly achieved without alienating large numbers of the population and having a potential Church .v. State conflict, which may end up marginalising some with religious views

A number of the problems may have been exacerbated by the Government’s attempts to put a positive spin on the matter but in fact actually not telling the truth; at which point there is the issue of trust

Just a few of the issues are

As well as extending existing heterosexual marriage to same-sex[***] couples, the legislation will redefine marriage for all couples The proposal seems to involve heterosexual marriage itself being amended to accommodate the wishes and lifestyles of members of the gay community Up until now, the Government has claimed that this is merely an "equality" issue, however, these fundamental changes belie Government statements and there are far reaching implications Same-sex[***] couples will not gain one single legal additional entitlement that they do not already enjoy as a result of the introduction of civil partnerships

Potentially one of the major hurdles in the process is the definition of ‘consummation’ in the context of same-sex[***] marriage. This has a bearing on existing matters such as the understanding of Annulment & Adultery, both of which exist under heterosexual marriage

These principles have been in existence for a long time and are enshrined as one of the existing Ten Commandments for Christians. To all accounts the Government solution to these problems is not to address them and come up with a workable solution, instead they attempt to dodge the issues by doing away with both Annulment & Adultery, thereby having a major impact on some of the teachings of the church – now the Nine Commandments!

Furthermore, there is concern in some quarters that these changes will encourage the UK to be ‘marriage tourist’,  in the same manner as ‘NHS tourists’ and don’t forget the 17,000 divorces every year that cite adultery as cause

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By Kevin_
31st Jan 2013 13:10

Dissapointed to see you have singled out the aspect of SSM to get a provocative headline.  Your email newsletter subject heading " Will you get sacked by the Pope" also trvialises and is a cheap comment.  The guidance to Catholic teachers is also as restrictive to Hetrosexuals, no marrying in a registry office, no marrying of a divorcee, no co-habiting before marriage or instead of marriage etc to which will be added no civil partnerships , no SSM when launched.  The principle is that one cannot be both a professed Catholic teacher and then act differently

I hope it was not HR zone that added the tag bigotry?

Sincerely - K

( Now for the Sky fairy assault battalions)

 

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By admin_2
31st Jan 2013 13:54

Actually there are a number of legal differences between civil partnerships and marriage, such as:

Civil partners do not have the same pension rights as married couples. If one civil partner dies, the pension share that the surviving partner receives is often lower and lasts for less time than with married couples.The pension a surviving partner is entitled to is measured differently depending on whether they have been civil partnered or married. For civil partners, public sector schemes are dated back to 1988. For private sector schemes, it need only be backdated to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. But for married couples, a surviving partner is entitled to a pension based on the number of years their spouse paid into the pension fund.

Travel restrictions apply to civil partners but not married couples. Countries like Sweden, Argentina and Portugal, where same-sex[***] marriage is legal, do not regard or recognise civil partnerships as marriage. This means UK civil partners living abroad do not enjoy the same rights as same-sex[***] married couples in 11 countries where equal marriage is legal.

There are other examples, but at the end of the day, it's about equality and the principles enshrined in the Equality Act, with which every HR Director should be familiar.  Separate is not equal.  Not all heterosexual people get married, but marriage is an option that is legally available to them.  (And yes, it's unjust that heterosexual couples cannot enter a formal civil partnership. In the interests of true equality, that should be on the table as well, clearly.)

The reason the article is hinged on a same sex[***] marriage angle (as opposed to divorce, adultery etc)  is that it is a hugely topical and timely one. Behaving in a way that does not fit with the practices and principles of a practising Catholic (or any other faith) is one thing. At the end of the day however, divorce and adultery may be against Catholic teaching, but they are not against the law. Attempting to deny the protection of the law of the land to individuals is another matter, as the earlier attempted dismissal case indicated. 

 

 

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31st Jan 2013 15:52

Reference to comments about the pension entitlement of civil .v. married couples

'.. Civil partners do not have the same pension rights as married couples. If one civil partner dies, the pension share that the surviving partner receives is often lower and lasts for less time than with married couples.The pension a surviving partner is entitled to is measured differently depending on whether they have been civil partnered or married. For civil partners, public sector schemes are dated back to 1988. For private sector schemes, it need only be backdated to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. But for married couples, a surviving partner is entitled to a pension based on the number of years their spouse paid into the pension fund ..'

Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967 by the ‘Sexual Offenses Act’ and therefore prior to that time it was, rightly or wrongly, regarded as an offense; although persons under the age of 21 (amended to 18, then 16 in 1994 & 2001 respectively), and members of the Armed Forces were exempt from the act.

Again this issue throws up more questions than answers and in this respect –

for married couples ‘..a surviving partner is entitled to a pension based on the number of years their spouse paid into the pension fund ..’.

However, what is the situation if the same-sex[***] spouse began contributions to a pension fund at a time when the homosexuality was illegal? Do current proposed rights ‘trump’ the previous law of the land and if so how does one reconcile this concept in other areas of the law and retrospective interpretation – or is a derogation made available in this instance as a special case?

The whole problem with not thinking something out properly before going ahead is that you are always going to have to deal with difficult questions and trying to shut the debate down on PC grounds, bullying or because there are no easy answers is not really an acceptable solution.

Unfortunately this is what the Government has tried to do and so has this thread in a minor way with your initial tags – almost daring people to respond & woe betide them if they do! Nevertheless, there is a debate required to achieve equality all round, and trying muzzle the topic rather than talking about it, does nobody any favours

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By admin_2
05th Feb 2013 13:18

...is trying to muzzle you.

You are however simply incorrect factually on the claim that there is no benefit to marriage rather than  civil partnerships and no matter how many times you suggest that this is the case it will remain factually incorrect (and one suspects, inconvenient). 

 

 

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05th Feb 2013 14:47

So to clarify with a few questions where answers would be useful in helping make up ones mind

Why should the legislation redefine marriage for all couples ? We are informed by the Government that the changes are purely to bring matters into line, which is obviously not the case ?Why is the definition of 'consummation' such a major stumbling block ?As a result of the problems surrounding the definition of 'consummation' why are Annulment & Adultery to be removed from the existing concepts of marriage ?The natural progression with removal of Adultery is that in religious terms the Ten Commandments will potentially no longer exist in their current form. Why is it necessary to change this area that has existed for many hundreds of years ?

Finally, please answer the question posed in the previous posting above, concerning the backdating of pension contributions into a period when homosexuality was against the law

http://www.hrzone.co.uk/topic/recruitment/catholic-church-threatens-sack...

Clear unequivocal replies to all these questions would perhaps go a long way towards making a sustainable case for the current proposals and possibly cause doubters to have a re-think

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By admin_2
05th Feb 2013 14:58

 Why should the legislation redefine marriage for all couples ? It's about equality so therefore by its very nature it has to apply to everyone or it won't be equal. Gay marriage does not redefine heterosexual marriage in any way, not one word. Not one single heterosexual marital right is denied, altered or in any way harmed. The change in the law will just bring  same sex[***] couples onto a level playing field. The alternative would be to lower the status of marriage to that of civil partnerships, but no-one wants to do that.  We are informed by the Government that the changes are purely to bring matters into line, which is obviously not the case?It is entirely the case. See above.  Why is the definition of 'consummation' such a major stumbling block ? As a result of the problems surrounding the definition of 'consummation' why are Annulment & Adultery to be removed from the existing concepts of marriage ? Actually neither consummation nor adultery are precisely formulated in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, so in some respects this could be said to represent a useful tidying up and formalisation of policy.  The natural progression with removal of Adultery is that in religious terms the Ten Commandments will potentially no longer exist in their current form. Why is it necessary to change this area that has existed for many hundreds of years ? This is purely extrapolation on your part.  The Ten Commandments pertain to religious faith and not to the law of the land and to the best of my knowledge no-one has suggested revoking them? In addition while some of the commandments - stealing, killing etc - clearly are illegal acts, adultery is not.  Furthermore are you seriously suggesting that because something was enshrined in law "for many hundreds of years" that means it's out of bounds for reform? Such as slavery perhaps or female emancipation or legalised racial segregation?  Finally, please answer the question posed in the previous posting above, concerning the backdating of pension contributions into a period when homosexuality was against the law http://www.hrzone.co.uk/topic/recruitment/catholic-church-threatens-sack... Why not? When other discriminatory rules/laws/practices are revoked, then adjustments and compensations are often made.  Homosexuals may now apply to the Secretary of State to disregard convictions involving consensual partners as long as those involved were over the age of 16 and the action would not now be regarded as an offence despite being deemed illegal under previous legislation.  Clear unequivocal replies to all these questions would perhaps go a long way towards making a sustainable case for the current proposals and possibly cause doubters to have a re-think
Hopefully that's unequivocal enough. I suspect I won't be holding my breath waiting for your rethink however.  

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07th Feb 2013 07:34

This is a undoubtedly a very difficult topic to address and LadyLaff wrote an extremely good insightful post on another thread

To move on - thank you for your response

Most of your answers have already been rebutted by the CofE statement

- http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1475149/s-s%20marriage.pdf

‘.. In law, there is one social institution called marriage, which can be entered into through either a religious or a civil ceremony. To suggest that this involves two kinds of marriage is to make the category error of mistaking the ceremony for the institution itself ..’

‘..there is no distinction in law between religious‘ and civil‘ marriage ..’

Nevertheless, surely the whole concept of equality is bringing a disadvantaged section of the community into line with what already exists without affecting the status quo. As you quite rightly say raising everyone rather than lowering the bar, although this cannot be achieved by removing existing elements (retrograde) because that is contrary to your statement.

Solutions to problems under the current proposals are proving too difficult to accomplish within the Governments time frame, and therefore substantial changes for all are the only way around these issues; meaning that they cannot really be categorised as simply binging things into line.

One such area is the removal of Adultery & Annulment

‘..the consultation document leaves the complex question of defining adultery, non-consummation etc. to be determined by case law. The stated objective of having identical reasons for ending both a same-sex[***] and a heterosexual marriage is problematic and does not seem to be achievable given that the existing definitions of adultery and non-consummation cannot be applied to the case of a same-sex[***] marriage ..’

However, there are many reasons for annulment and without an another route individuals could be disadvantaged by its abolition – just some of the reasons are outlined below:

Lack of capacity or fraud – i.e. another living spouseUnder ageForced or threatened into marriage; mental capacity at the timeFor the intention of deception – i.e. solely to acquire citizenshipImpotency / non consummationClose family relationships

This particular area protects vulnerable  people in certain circumstances.

The problem is there have been no alternative suggestions put forward on how to address this and a whole raft of other issues which have arisen. This is the fault of Government who have failed to do their homework on replacement ideas and simply forced matter through with little thought or comprehension over the far reaching implications

You may recall my initial posting which contained

‘.. Perhaps with a little more thought, the same goals could have been broadly achieved without alienating large numbers of the population and having a potential Church .v. State conflict, which may end up marginalising some with religious views ..’

In this respect it has never been about the introduction of same-sex[***] marriage per se, but more about the way the whole process has been handled and addressing potential problems with a view to providing workable solutions for the future within the existing framework

This is why the refreshing approach of LadyLaff was such a welcome posting and in marked contrast to the aggressive tone that started off this thread.

Finally, I would have to question whether the role of admin on an HR web site is to post threads with inflammatory titles and threatening tags, or alternatively to inform and facilitate constructive dialog - admin should be the catalyst rather than a protagonist, otherwise it becomes the voice of admin and no-one else will contribute ! The evidence for this is the generally low response rate associated with threads on HRzone, compared to your sister site where a great many make contributions

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