More than one hundred clergy in the diocese of London have put their names to a letter asking that, just as the Church of England allow priests to conduct civil partnerships if they so wish. They are asking that clergy should be allowed to exercise discretion and act on their conscience in this matter, just as they can choose whether or not to remarry divorcees. It is heartening to see so many clergy signing this letter, and it may make the current position, which I believe is that they are unwilling to allow the matter to even go before Synod, to be less tenable.
The response of the Bishop of London, Richard Chartes is to recognise that this "arises from a proper pastoral concern and it is right that it continues to be discussed openly", while still asking for prayerful and respectful debate, something which is entirely appropriate and not discouraging. It is worth noting that the Church's current position is not only that civil partnerships cannot be conducted on Church premises, but the Church of England does not officially carry out blessings of civil partnerships.