By now the findings of the Church/State Commission should have been tabled to Cabinet and there should have been a definitive way forward by now on the Gender Based Policy and the issues arising out of the Section 53 ruling. There was a hiccup in the plan, however, when the Council of Churches and the Anglican Church pulled out of the commission and noted that they would be submitting their own report, independent of the commission. Minister Patrick Faber was given responsibility for the commission and with that we asked him for an update.
Patrick Faber – Deputy Prime Minister
“When we last left off you will remember that Bishops Papouloute who acted on behalf of the Council of Churches withdrew from the commission and also Bishop Phillip Wright who, although he is a part of the Council of Churches, was present in the commission for the Anglicans in their own right. So they withdrew and so what we said was that rather than continue with the meetings, we would then allow for the different church entities to provide us with a report, a kind of their findings and recommendations on the key issues having to do with Section 53. We set a deadline for that which was at the end of July and I can tell you that we have received submissions from the Evangelical Association and also, well I’m not sure who else we have received from, but I know that we have at least two submissions. We are still open to receiving submissions if church entities who are part of the process have not done so. There are still some concerns that if they did not meet the absolute deadline that we would not accept it and I want to send that signal that is not the case. We are very much open to still receive those. I intend to give a little leeway and once some time has passed I will compile those reports and then put together a cabinet paper and take it to the wider cabinet for them to see what the church is advising.”
Bishops Philip Wright and Roosevelt Papaloutte had stepped out of the commission after consensus could not be reached on certain terminologies. The Church State Commission was established in September 2016 with a mandate to look at issues of public morality and its role in society as it relates to the institution of marriage and safeguarding that institution.