A Queer State of Affairs

Abbie Cheeseman reports on the Chaplaincy's struggly to allow for same-sex marraiges to be conducted here at Royal Holloway.

Royal Holloway Chaplaincy are hoping they are near the end of their four-year fight to be allowed to conduct same-sex weddings.

The process, which the chaplaincy are hoping will have reached a positive end by February 20, has hit complications because of its designation as a university chapel.

The Registrar General regard university chapels as ‘shared churches’ because they are used by more than one denomination. Therefore, in order to be granted ‘consent to use’ for same-sex marriage, permission is needed from the Catholic Bishop, the Anglican Synod and then from a denomination that was prepared to conduct same-sex weddings.

Father John Dickson, the Roman Catholic Chaplain at Royal Holloway commented: “Given the fact, that neither the Catholics nor Anglicans are permitted to conduct such services by their own rules in Royal Holloway chapel, it did seem a bit strange to have to ask their ‘consent to use’ the College Chapel.”

Many at the college were under the assumption that the college chapel would automatically be authorised to conduct same-sex weddings following the 2013 legalisation of same-sex marriage.

The United Reformed Church agreed to the ‘consent to use’ and stated that their local Minister could conduct such weddings. This comes after an agreement given by the United Reformed Church that allows individual congregations to decide to conduct same-sex weddings if there was a pastoral need.

Having consulted lawyers in January, the chaplaincy has now submitted all documentation providing consent from all denominations using the college chapel.

“It is the chaplaincy’s hope that the college chapel will soon allow for same-sex marriages to be performed for any staff or alumni” Dickson said. •