Read it all (15 page pdf) and follow this link to some very important commentary thereon.
Ok So I read the, transcript and commentary. To the best of my ability to understand, Resolution B — with ammendments — was not actually ever voted on. As pointed out, it is true that voting to accept the insertion of ammendments into a resolution does not mean that the newly ammended resolution has been accepted in its new, final form. No vote was taken to accept or defeat Res B at 4 o’clock before the adjournment, and no vote was taken on the new form of Resolution B after reconvening at 5 o’clock. (The world does stop for Tea in Jolly Olde England and her Colonies)
Also, Bp Anis’ point was that the new form of Resolution B was substantively the same as Resolution A, which had been defeated. The answer was that Res. A was voted down only in view that Res B would be voted on in its place. However, Bp Anis was trying to point out that the newly inserted ammendments changed Res B so that it was now substantively different from its original form and now was substantively the same as the defeated Res A. This seems to me to be a proper argument. Under the rules of order, Res B was now actually out of order. However, before Bp Anis could finish his argument, someone else was called upon to speak to the good purposes of the ammendments (which I would have to say was also out of order, since the ammendments had already been voted on at that point)
But on the bottom line, they never actaually voted on Res B at all. So the point is moot. The ACC never properly voted to refer Section 4 to committee. Yet, that is the official version of what happened, and that is how it is being presented to the rest of the Communion.
It is nicely said that the time frame for which the committee charged with tinkering with Section 4 is tight — by December 2009. However, the really important point remains that Gen Con TEC is THIS July and the next Gen Con TEC is not until summer 2012. The adament position of the PB and Deputies President is that ONLY Gen Con can commit TEC to anything. So the action of the ACC effectively means that TEC and the Anglican Communion remain in a holding pattern for at least the next three years. I think that making the Ridley-Cambridge Text unavailble for this TEC Gen Con cycle was the real intention.
The youth member, Sarah, brought up a true point. “None of you [older folks] will still be around to work all this out.” [paraphrase slightly.]
As someone who has spent a considerable chunk of time each week for the last 28 years as the de facto parliamentarian for an elected governmental body, I am as confused as anyone else on reading this transcript.
However, it fairly clearly appears that the intent of the Council was not to vote on Resolution B as a single entity, but to vote seriatim on each of its four original clauses (the eventual a, b, e, and f). That was, in fact done. No one regarded any of those votes as less than a final action by the Council or called for any further vote on Resolution B as a whole.
There was also a vote (adopted 33-30) to incorporate c and d into the same resolution. Many of those in the room, though apparently not all, thought that the vote on c and d was the procedural equivalent of the votes on a, b, e, and f, namely to conclusively adopt each clause as a final action of the Council. From their perspective, there would have been no point in a purely procedural vote to add the two clauses to the main motion if the amended motion was never going to be voted on as a whole. While it is easy to imagine someone voting for the amendment but against the amended main motion, it is hard to understand why anyone would ever vote for the amendment procedurally but then vote against the exact same clause as an individual substantive proposition.
Others in the room apparently thought that there would eventually be a second opportunity to vote against the whole resolution as amended by c and d. However, it does not appear that they ever articulated this understanding to the Chair by calling for that second vote.
After the vote on clauses c and d was taken, followed by the votes on e and f, the Chairman, President, and Legal Adviser all seemingly agreed that a decision had already been made (with general consent) never to go back and vote on the resolution as a whole. They ruled that all six clauses had been finally adopted, and no member of the Council appealed (or even verbally questioned) their opinion. While this opinion is certainly debatable–and is being widely debated–it was never debated by the ACC, which seems to have simply accepted the ruling of the Chair and moved on to other business.
A confusing procedural quagmire, certainly, but hardly evidence of some dark plot to frustrate the will of the Council.
Americans are much more hung up on “right ways” of conducting a meeting and approaching resolutions than other countries. I think this is a legacy of “Robert’s Rules of Order” which, most Americans are amazed to learn, is, not only not followed in the rest of the world, but, for the most part, unheard of.
This was an international gathering of an Anglican Communion. Sometimes Americans have to remember that there are other ways of doing things, including meetings, and they don’t have to be the ways practised in America.
Nor does “sharp” practice have to be indulged in.
#3 Yes that is right – even relatively significant diocesan meetings (such as the Diocesan Board of Finance on which I served in England) are conducted more informally than small meetings in the States. I’d never even heard of Robert’s Rules of Order before arriving in the States. But the utter chaos of the recent ACC is unparalleled by anything I ever experienced in England. Something went terribly, terribly wrong at the ACC.