Have a read of this post on Thinking Anglicans.
The gist of it is this:
(1) a male clergyman working as a chaplain, married according to British law to a man, is in danger of not proceeding to a new chaplaincy position because the relevant bishop won't license him because he is living in a relationship outside of the teaching of the CofE;
(2) an appeal for support is being made by his partner which is based (in my words) on the conviction that a marriage is a marriage and thus should fall within, not outside, the teaching of the CofE.
Now, for the purpose of this post and any comments you might care to make, let's set aside any need to argue whether the CofE teaching is currently true or false and whether the basis for the appeal - that the teaching ought to teach marriage is between any two people who contract a marriage - is true or false.
Let's accept that within the CofE there are large swathes of thoroughly Anglican Anglicans who divide according to their convictions of when a marriage is a marriage (and thus whether a bishop should or shouldn't license the Rev Man or the Rev Woman when married according to law to another Man or Woman respectively).
Let's also accept that no time soon are these convictions going to change - one swathe is not going to suddenly throw in their lot with the other swathe.
Finally, let's accept that while there may be a few on either side of the divide who might feel they have other reasons for departing from the CofE (e.g. where it is poised to go re women bishops), a large majority across both swathes at this time have no other reason to depart the church.
What is the CofE to do?
Is it (as per this post) to continue fighting a battle every time a clergyperson in a same sex marriage applies for a position, a battle in which the rejected prospective licensee highlights (say) how silly the church looks to the rest of society, how awkward and inconsistent it looks to the world about it, how homophobic it appears and so on and so forth?
Does it run the risk that eventually current safeguards re its teaching viz a viz 'human rights' and 'discrimination in the workplace' will be worn down under a future parliament?
Does it engage with these battles recognising that a vast swathe of its members do not agree with its teaching?
(Conversely) does the CofE change its teaching because society has changed and parliament has agreed in law with that change? Does it give way on the principle of authority undergirding its teaching so that its teaching steps aside from the authority of Scripture understood according to tradition and reason and yields to the authority of parliament? Does the CofE, in a few words, cease to be a church standing on the Word of God as it understands it?
The dear Church of England is between a rock and a hard place.
Can anything be done to avoid schism, to avoid breaking into (at least) two parts, in one part of which marriage is between a man and a woman, and in another part, marriage is according to the current law of the land?
Just before readers race ahead of me and conclude that schism is inevitable, the only option, etc, let's remember that the CofE as an established church is a little different to the Typical Protestant Church Which Has Split Several Times Since The Reformation. Sure a few congregations can peel off here and there to form some kind of New Expression of Being Anglican (as had happened in the past with (e.g.) the Free Church of England, and as is happening now with (e.g.) various congregations coming under the oversight of the English branch of AMiA), but suppose half the CofE wants to go in one direction and half in another? If one half kindly leaves without attempting to take any property with them, does the other half wish to maintain and use the property remaining?
Is there another option?
Is it possible that the CofE could develop a 'two jurisdictions' church? One jurisdiction for those adhering to marriage being between a man and a woman; one jurisdiction adhering to marriage defined by the law of the land? That is, all remain in their properties, all are licensed within the one CofE, but the battles over licensing fall away?
I expect comments to say I am barking mad, it's impossible, forget it because Look What Happened Over Woman Priests and Flying Bishops. However I am talking about something different to flying bishops ...
And, if you do want to say I am barking mad, or just barking up the wrong tree, please also say whether you think there is any other way to avoid schism.
You do not have to be a rocket scientist reading here if you are a Kiwi Anglican to understand the way in which the CofE at this point is a canary flying ahead of us as we journey through our mineshaft.
POSTSCRIPT: This clear, incisive comment on the (im)possibility of 'good disagreement' is worth reading (H/T to two correspondents).