With the news that one of the first civil partnerships to be registered in England and Wales will involve a church minister, the Rev. Debbie Gaston, the Church of England has confirmed its approval of gay clergy’s partnerships being recognised.

The Church will however insist that all of its own clergy remain celibate once in a civil partnership. It will also not afford a civil partnership the same status as a marriage.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James is due today (25 July 2005) to formally publish guidelines on the issue. The church is keen to maintain theological doctrines whilst at the same time complying with English law and the European Convention on Human Rights.