HC Deb 15 March 1911 vol 22 cc2220-1

asked the Attorney-General if he has had under review the action of certain clergy of the Church of England who have combined to announce that banns of marriage can in no case be published, nor will a marriage be solemnised in the churches they control, between a man and his deceased wife's sister, or between parties either of whom has been divorced or has obtained a divorce, if the other party to the divorce be still living; and whether he will institute legal proceedings to prevent this attempt to hinder the solemnisation of such marriages?

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)

According to the information supplied to me by my hon. Friend this question is based upon a public announcement made by certain clergy of the Church of England. So far as I am aware this announcement has not been followed by a refusal to publish the banns or to permit the solemnisation of a marriage in any of the churches under the control of those responsible for the publication, and it is not desirable to assume that any breach of the law will be committed. I do not propose to institute legal proceedings in respect of this announcement.


Is it not very undesirable that the clergy of the State Church should publish a statement which the Attorney-General expects them not to act upon?


That is a matter which everybody can decide for himself.


What legal proceedings could the hon. and learned Gentleman take in any case?


Will the Attorney-General state whether this pronouncement by the Anglican clergymen is the Ne Temere decree about which we heard so much?

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