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Two days left to sign petition on religious civil partnerships

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  1. Tim Hopkins 28 Oct 2009, 7:36pm

    Interesting that this story is illustrated with a pic of a (probably) Scottish couple. In the Equality Network’s current survey of Scottish LGBT opinion on this, only 10% think allowing religious-celebrated CPs is the right solution. 85% want same-sex marriage, and there are two petitions for that currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

    Of course same-sex marriage will take some years to get, whether in the Scottish Parliament or the Westminster one. Religious-celebrated CP would be a step forward, but a long way from equality.

    For more details see the Equality Network’s marriage page.

  2. Brian Burton 28 Oct 2009, 7:43pm

    It was stupid anyway not to include religious premises in the 2004 act. All the religious establishments should have been able to accept or refuse Civil Partnership cerimonies.

  3. Tim Hopkins 28 Oct 2009, 7:43pm

    Just to clarify – the campaign for same-sex marriage in Scotland is for all of marriage law to apply, which means a same-sex marriage could be entered into either in a civil ceremony or a religious one, with religious organisations making their own decision on whether to do same-sex marriages. Already the Metropolitan Community Church, the Quakers, the Pagan Federation of Scotland, and the Humanist Society of Scotland, have said they want to do that, and support the campaign. (Unlike England and Wales, humanists in Scotland have the right to conduct weddings)


  4. Tim Hopkins 28 Oct 2009, 7:46pm

    Brian (#2): although if we had same-sex marriage and mixed-sex civil partnership available, arguably it wouldn’t matter that all CPs were done in civil ceremonies, because religious marriage would be available to all.

  5. Tim Hopkins 28 Oct 2009, 8:38pm

    RobN (#5): What a selfish position. Personally I’m an atheist and don’t have the slightest interest in religion. But about 30% of LGBT people on our network here in Scotland are Christians, and others have other religions. If they want to get married in a church why shouldn’t they have that equal right?

    It wouldn’t make me much of an equality campaigner if I only campaigned for rights that I personally want to take advantage of!

  6. Duly signed the petition. Agree that whilst there are many LGB people who do not want to have a civil partnership held in a religious building, there are others who do. Point is, there should be the choice available to them, not having the option of holding it outwith religious buildings only.

    My oldest best friend is a lesbian in a civil partnership, they are both christians and would have loved to have been able to have this very important day in their lives (important for them, I’m not debating the general importance of it versus marriage or anything like that), held in a church in instead. It would have meant a great deal to them I know. P.S: They live in Scotland.

    Come to think of it, I know a couple of male friends who are also in a civil partnership, where I’m sure at least one of them, as a christian would have preferred the option of holding the ceremony in a religious building also.

    P.P.S: I’m not a christian in case you’re wondering.

  7. I have signed the petition. We all need to be active in pushing for full rights for all gays

  8. I am an agnostic and would not dream of involving any of the “peddlers of superstitions in a partnership of my own or indeed to want my partnership to be associated with buildings dedicated to nonsense” however, I realise that others feel differently about religions and they ought to be able to use these community buildings if they want to.
    By the way many are supported with taxpayers’ money or the religions have managed to arrange tax breaks for themselves, so ordinary taxpayers, who have a particular religious bent ought to be able to use, what are in effect semi-public buildings, regardless of their sexual orientation.

  9. Robert, ex pat Brit 29 Oct 2009, 4:55pm

    The beauty of same-sex civil marriage laws in the seven countries that have them as well as several states in America is that no religious denomination is compelled to comply with the law, its an opt in or opt out situation. They do so at their own discretion. How dumb of our parliament not to have done the same with civil partnerships. StonewallUK did a lousy job on that. I for one would NEVER want a religious component if I were allowed to marry, but people should be free to do as they wish.

  10. Tim Hopkins 29 Oct 2009, 5:48pm

    Exactly right I think. One of the main arguments we’re using with the Scottish Government and Parliament is that this is an issue of religious freedom. Religious bodies should be free to choose whether they do same-sex marriages or not. Those who oppose same-sex marriage, like the Roman Catholic Church, should not be allowed to impose their view on religious bodies that want to do them, nor vice versa.

  11. I don’t understand. Since when laws regulate what churches are allowed to do? What happens if a church decides to marry a gay couple? Pastor goes to prison or what?

  12. Tim Hopkins 29 Oct 2009, 7:56pm

    322 (#11): Churches can’t legally marry a same-sex couples, in the sense that any marriage ceremony they carry out has no legal effect.

    The law specifically says that churches, other religious bodies, and, in Scotland, Humanist officials, can carry out legally effective mixed-sex marriage ceremonies. But the law also specifically says that any such ceremony would not be legally effective if the couple were of the same sex.

    Religious bodies, same-sex couples of religious faith, the Humanist Society, and humanist same-sex couples, are discriminated against because they cannot start their legal relationship in such a legally effective ceremony. I’m an atheist, but I can appreciate that if a same-sex couple are Christian for example, that is felt as very significant discrimination.

    The lack of same-sex marriage is discriminatory in other ways too, of course, primarily because segregation IS discrimination.

    Even if civil partnership COULD be registered by a religious or humanist celebrant, and had exactly the same legal consequences as marriage (which it doesn’t), the segregation of same-sex and mixed-sex couples into CP and marriage is fundamentally discriminatory. Just as having separate side-by-side drinking fountains, or separate seats on the bus, for Black and White people, is discriminatory even if the quality of the water, or the price of the bus journey, are identical.

  13. I’m really amazed at how so many gay people in Britain have accepted civil partnerships and “separate but equal” (but not really) as the beat all, end all goal. You wouldn’t have to do all of this finagling if you simply gave all citizens equal access to marriage and civil partnerships. As long as straights are barred from one institution and gays are barred from the other, the two institutions will never be equal or equivalent. The ENTIRE purpose of giving gays a separate institution is to make it very clear that gays and their relationships are “something other” and not quite the same as, or as good as, REAL marriage. I challenge ANYONE to give another reason that makes any sense at all.

    I wouldn’t sign such a petition for one reason and one reason only. It sends the message that our community is satisfied with being segregated in CIVIL institutions. That’s just not OK in my book.

  14. excellent point Zeke – it’s like the heteros and others thinks crumbs of equality is enough

  15. Robert, ex pat Brit 30 Oct 2009, 1:50pm

    Zeke, exactly. What is really disturbing is that there are many gay people in the UK who don’t want marriage with the help of StonewallUK. A year ago, whenever this topic came up for discussion, I as an ardent support of full marriage equality was lambasted and villified for saying that civil partnerships are not only unequal but not marriages either and was told that I had no right to comment on it since I don’t live in the UK any more as a permanent resident, the country of my birth.

    To digress, Argentina now has 20 lawmakers mullling full marriage equality. You can’t even count on one hand the number of lawmakers in England supporting it, in fact its a big fat zero. At least Scotland is doing something about it.

  16. How are you defining “mainstream” religious groups? The Unitarians have wanted to hold same-sex marriages in our churches for ages, well before the Quakers decided to do it.

    Pagans have also been holding same-sex weddings for ages, but Pagan weddings only have legal status in Scotland.

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