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Exclusive: Stonewall to fight for civil partnerships to be held in churches

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  1. I would have welcomed the opportunity to have held my ceremony in our village church where I participate and attend. It would have sent a positive message to the parish of inclusiveness and equality. This constant component within our society of one rule for the majority and another for our community is flat out wrong – as well as the perception noted that we do not embrace faith. My only reservation would be in supporting those religions by way of income for hosting ceremonies where they act hypocritically in condemning our relationships. Fortunately my Church is supportive.

  2. Surely any control by the state as to what religious ceremonies may be held is interfering in religious freedom. As to the legal effect of ceremonies, isn’t it the signing of the register that is the legal bit, which is done in a back office anyway in Church weddings? If the dozens of bishops in the House of Lords really care about religious freedom, logically they should back Stonewall on this.

  3. How about fighting for equality and marriage?
    That would be new for Stonewall’s present lot

  4. Well, its neither one thing nor the other It’s still not a marriage, because it’s a Civil Partnership and the government are insisting it isn’t the same thing as marriage. But it’s in church…

    For heaven sake! It’s just a new can of worms.

  5. Religious second-class citizenship was supposed to have been done away with in the 19th Century, though of course we kept an Established Church. It’s more reminiscent of Medieval Byzantium than a modern democracy.
    By the way, PN, Quakers don’t vote – we arrive at the ‘sense of the meeting’ through discussion and reflection. We have never believed that the value of an idea depends on the number of people who think it. It’s a view that tends to harm minorities.

  6. Simon Murphy 18 Nov 2009, 2:20pm

    Stonewall never cease to disgust me.

    Why are they campaigning for CP’s to be allowed to be performed in churches instead of campaigning for gay people to be allowed to access civil marriage.

    I don’t care if a church will allow me to have a CP or not.

    I do care about the fact that the British government won’t allow me to marry my partner in a registry office.

    And I do care that the organisation which pretends to be campaigning for equality on my behalf (Stonewall) is so pathetic and spineless and unrepresentative that they don’t think equality is worth pursusing.

    They are an utter waste of space and and embarrassment to themselves and the community which they claim to represent (although of course they only represent the members of Stonewall).

    I also don’t think it is appropriate that the name Stonewall is now associated with such a crowd of spineless wimps as Summerskill and his ilk.

  7. Oh for goodness sake. who wants to get married in a church that doesn’t want them?

    Stonewall, please get your priorities right – let’s have the equal legal rights first – gay marriages and hetero CPs.

    Idiots.

  8. Whilst I am all for this amendment in theory, practically I’m not sure the timing is right. It would, as stated for now, have to be not compulsory. To pass a law forcing churches to do this would only increase resentment against us at a time when what we need to do is gain support.

  9. Perhaps Stonewall should hand over their considerable funds to organisations that are doing some good.

    If all they can come up with side issues like this, you wonder why they exist. Well apart from the fawning over gay celebrities and launching the political careers of their staff and assorted cronnies.

  10. Har Davids 18 Nov 2009, 2:56pm

    Why bother? I live in Holland and over here church and civil weddings are entirely separate affairs – church weddings don’t even count – and I wouldn’t want that to change.

  11. Gino Meriano 18 Nov 2009, 3:22pm

    You can already have your ceremony in a church just not the legal signing part, but hey always good to see Stonewall driving increased trouble for Civil Partnerships – maybe they should focus their commercial monies on young people, and causes that have a real impact on the community, hate crime, protection of young people etc

    check out MCC and Unitarian Churches for anyone wanting a ceremony

  12. So the LGCM thinks it’s just an issue of ‘semantics’ that gays are denied the right to marry and are forced to have civil partnerships instead. Would it be semantics if blacks were banned from marrying and were forced to have something separate?

    This is a stupid idea and all it will do it entrench our second-class status. I don’t want a CP in a church I want the equal right to marry.

  13. tyler moore 18 Nov 2009, 3:27pm

    stonewall were more than happy to lobby for CPs as they were – ie non-religious. why the about-turn? nothing else to do?

  14. I completely agree with moamaom. What’s Stonewall’s problem? Just because some of THEM don’t want marriage, how dare they think other LGBT people don’t?

    Why waste time on this when they should be fighting for proper equality?

  15. Civil Partnership is secular right offered through state legislation and Stonewall agitating in this manner is astoundingly infantile and out of touch with the rest of the social rights movements with a stake in creating an inclusive Britain.

    It would appear that Stonewall as a collective needs to stop looking at itself in the mirror each day, asking the same vain questions of itself and go outside for a few hours and find out the real issues facing the LGBT communities in Britain.

  16. I’m with Simon Murphy and Polly. Stonewall needs to be fighting for our CIVIL rights. It has no business with religion. If this is really true, my grudging support of Stonewall ends today.

  17. Robert, ex pat Brit 18 Nov 2009, 3:45pm

    Chester, exactly. AllStonewallUK is doing is fomenting a backlash against any chance of having full marriage equality, something it doesn’t want anyway. Its delusional of it to think any government is going to approve an amendment to the CP law compelling religious cults to perform these second rate unions. Though I’m an atheist and don’t believe in state religious cults meddling in politics, I don’t see why they should be forced to conduct a same-sex union. Who cares? More and more straights are having civil marriages anyway. In France, all marriages are civil, way ahead of us in that respect and in fact are the only legal marriages recognised there.

    Iris, I received a very indifferent response from StonewallUK on just the issue of full marriage equality. Their response was words to the effect that civil partnerships provide enough equality, using the worn out mantra that negotiating for full civil marriage would have yielded nothing. They obviously ignored the fact that Spain, a fiercely catholic country surpassed us with a far bigger uphill battle than we had getting CPs. It was a pragmatic copout on their part to shelve full marriage equality for those of us who wanted it. They don’t speak for all of us as some who post here claim they do. I’d like to see a counter organisation to replace StonewallUK, one that is for full equality altogether.

  18. This is disgusting!!

    Stonewall have really crossed the line here. Its not enough that they are against it, but this proposal undermines the arguments for same sex marriage, and if it passes it will ensure that second class citizenship status for gays will be here for ever!

    Shame on you Stonewall, shame on you Ben Summerskill.

    Stonewall, this is one proud lesbian woman that you do not speak for anymore.

  19. It is not semantics, not semantics at all. Marriage has long been recognised as one of the fundamental rights of free human beings. Civil Partnership is a meaningless term that makes us less equal, less free, and less able to live our lives with who we choose.

    I would rather go and get married in Belgium than have a civil partnership.

  20. For crying out loud, they don’t like us. It is NOT our plae to change their dogma. The only thing gay people with faith should be doing is questioning it.

    Gesh.

  21. Formal invitation:

    Please come to Canada where you can have your church wedding,,,the one in Toronto is beautiful and reminicent of British cathedrals with gleeming wood banisters and lovely stained glass. There you can be fully legally married surrounded by a society that welcomes and includes. If we put our dollars into places that welcome and include then the others will soon see that the almighty gay/lesbian dolar does pave a way to heavenly delights,,,,, just sayin’

  22. The problem is Jax is that the Civil Partnership act means that as soon as a couple married in another country comes to the UK, the British Government ignores their wedding vows and slaps a big fat discriminatory civil partnership on their head

  23. Brian Burton 18 Nov 2009, 5:12pm

    What is not realized here is the fact that a Church Marrage or even Civil Partnership in a Religious setting means God is joining the couple in question; the Minister is just the insrument. This will not please the demented atheists out there!

  24. Keith Bradley-Wilson 18 Nov 2009, 5:25pm

    Why is it that Stonewall constantly claim to represent the views and desires of the LGBT society, yet seem totally at odds with the REAL LGBT community who write here? Cannot they listen for a change?
    Can they answer me on the question of why I “civilly partnered” my “civil parner” in the registry office, yet 40-odd years ago my father MARRIED my mother (you know – HUSBAND and WIFE!!) also in a registry office?!
    As far as I understand it, LGBT society were given “civil parnerships” so that the Church didn’t get all stroppy and start ranting in the first place?!
    A CIVIL ceremony is CIVIL, so why should we accept that a law which ONLY affects US be dictated by an ancient-jewish sect?
    Anybody here know which galaxy Planet Stonewall is in?

  25. I refuse to be made to feel unhappy about my CP, which was the happiest moment of my life. While I think that the govt should have gone for marriage, if achievable at the time, instead of this rather silly duplicate ( and therefore causing unnecessary expense) system we have, which is a sop to irrational people who think marriage will be somehow damaged by it being extended to us, I don’t see my CP as in anyway 2nd class, so long as it gives the same rights and obligations as “marriage” does to straight people. Both “marriage” and CP are essentially legal contracts with virtually identical terms (excepting adultery), they ARE both, in legal terms, contracts of marriage, whatever they are called officially. Most straight and gay people do refer to CP’s in this country as marriage anyway. The two systems will inevitably be merged in some way in the future, when more people can see how silly and pointless the apartheid is.

    One radical suggestion I saw in a book called “Nudge” was that marriage should be entirely privatised: the only legal form should be CP for everyone, and then churches can perform whatever ceremonies for whoever they want. I guess this would be closer to the system on the continent.

  26. Unitarians have consistently argued & campaigned for same-sex marriage to be performed in our churches. Why don’t Unitarians ever get mentioned in these articles?

    I think this would be a helpful step forward for those churches who want to perform same-sex marriages, but it shouldn’t be allowed to distract from the campaign for full equality in this area (as someone said above, CPs for heterosexuals & marriage for LGBTs).

    Also, the whole marriage campaign shouldn’t distract us from the importance of preventing homophobic bullying in schools and teen LGBT suicides resulting from it.

  27. Robert, ex pat Brit: “Iris, I received a very indifferent response from StonewallUK on just the issue of full marriage equality. Their response was words to the effect that civil partnerships provide enough equality, using the worn out mantra that negotiating for full civil marriage would have yielded nothing. They obviously ignored the fact that Spain, a fiercely catholic country surpassed us with a far bigger uphill battle than we had getting CPs…”

    Thank you for that, Robert. I used to think that people who had a go at Stonewall were being unfair, yet now I agree. As I see it, Stonewall only exist to represent their OWN interests. This whole CP thing has pissed me off big time. Stonewall’s refusal to listen to those who want marriage was insulting enough, but now to waste time on this stupid thing is pathetic and just rubs salt into the wound – “Equality? NO, dear. Religious trimmings to INequality in some pointless exercise? Yes – after all it’s what we…er..you want.

  28. Tim Hopkins 18 Nov 2009, 5:35pm

    Agnostic (#26): Of course, for anyone who is completely happy with their civil partnership, there is nothing second class about it. What we are campaigning for is not an end to civil partnership, but for people to be able to choose either marriage or civil partnership, whichever they prefer.

    Many people, Black or White, prefer to sit at the back of the bus, and should be free to choose to do so. There is nothing second class about the seats at the back of the bus. But forcing all Black people to sit at the back of the bus was wrong – it was a system of segregation designed to reinforce the lower status of Black people.

    In the same way, forcing same-sex couples into civil partnership, and denying them the choice of marriage, is a system of segregation designed to reinforce the lower status of same-sex couples.

    Civil partnerhsip is NOT intrinsically second class, any more than the seats at the back of the bus are. It is the enforced segregation that is so stigmatising and discriminatory for many people.

  29. Tim Hopkins 18 Nov 2009, 6:10pm

    Actually, of course, civil partnership in practice offers less legal protection than marriage, in one or two ways – for example fewer foreign countries recognise it than recognise same-sex marriage. And some people treat civil partnership with less respect than marriage.

    But my point is that even if all the legal and practical differences were gone, the enforced segregation of same-sex couples into CP, is, of itself, stigmatising, and will continue to, as it was designed to do, reinforce same-sex couples’ lower status.

  30. Why? They should be campaigning for CPs to be made the equivalent of Register Office Weddings. Sadly, yet another instance of Stonewall having lost the plot.

  31. I don’t care if church grants me the right to have my CP in their old building or not. I’m still a second class citezen. What part of that does Stonewall not get?

  32. Sad to see Stonewall actually lagging behind various faith groups – Liberal Judaism, Quakers, Unitarians, all of whom GET that CPs are “back of the bus” status marriages. Why can’t Stonewall get this..?

  33. It is a pity that the Rev Ferguson doesn’t understand the fundamental legal difference between marriage and civil partnership. They are not the same and it is not window dressing. A marriage is regarded by UK law as a true union of two people with unlimited recognition; civil partnership is a limited union with recognition restricted to 1988 and thereafter. This has an immediate impact on any pension entitlement.

  34. I feel its important to remember that a church is a building but that the “Church” is made up of people. Unless those people who constitute the church, be it Bishop or lay, then no matter where you perform a Civil Partnership ceremony, it won’t have the religious element that many couples seek.
    This will come – it’s got to come – but knowing the religious Right, they’ll keep the issue on the back boiler for as long as they are able.

  35. Simon Murphy 18 Nov 2009, 8:23pm

    I can understand that Stonewall accepted CP’s when they were 1st introduced. They provided legal recognition to gay couples who wanted to make their relationships official. In that sense they were progress.

    But the way Stonewall is now acting i.e. as if the marriage equality campaigb is over, is sad and puzzling.

    On what basis have they made that decision?

    Are they worried if they start campaigning for equality, then we will lose CP’s while not gaining access to civil marriage?

    If so they are wrong. Even the Tories won’t get rid of them.

    More likely they like the funding they receive and and worried that if they upset their political masters in parliament they will lose access to those in power?

    Who gave Stonewall the authority to speak on behalf of all LGB people? Why it was the government.

    But that is not the same as a mandate from the people they are meant to be representing.

  36. Brian Burton 18 Nov 2009, 8:41pm

    Tim Hopkins,
    My Civil Partnership in 2006 has never made me feel second class in any way (Is it always the Brits who bang on about class?) My Registrar Office cerimony was condudcted just as any other Registrars’ cerimony of marrage.

  37. Tim Hopkins 18 Nov 2009, 9:46pm

    Brian, I’m glad we agree on that particular thing. I wrote “for anyone who is completely happy with their civil partnership, there is nothing second class about it.” That was my only mention of class!

  38. I am not sure what this campaign is trying to achieve. Civil Marriages cannot (I believe) be held in a building registered for religious worship. It is also the case that a Civil Partnership cannot contain any religious references. It would be better to campaign either for Civil Partnerships to be converted to Civil Marriages or for Civil Marriages to be converted to Civil Partnerships.

    The ‘Religious’ element is a distinct issue and relies more on changing the attitudes of various Religious groups. As a Gay Catholic I cannot see my Church wanting to officiate at my Civil Partnership when it refuses to officiate over the re-marriage of Divorcees (and even yet refuses to accept re-married Divorcee Catholics as being validly married if their previous ex-legal spouse is alive).

  39. Philip alias Emily Wilding Davison 18 Nov 2009, 11:44pm

    What does Stonewall actually do?
    have they actually got a list of achievements?
    How easy is it to become a charity?

    Do the general public actually know who Stonewall are?
    Is outraged a charity? the general public do know who they are.

    Stonewall riots United States
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

    That is the United States but..

    Stonewall United Kingdom what do they do?

    OutRage! is a direct action campaigning group in the United Kingdom which was formed to fight for the equal rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in comparison to heterosexuals. It is a radical group which has at times been criticised for being extremist; members have been arrested in the course of some OutRage! actions. Membership has declined from its early 1990s heyday, though OutRage! remains active in the fight against homophobia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OutRage!

    Bette Davis said Getting old isn’t for wimps.
    http://annabellep.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/general-outrage1.jpg

    Stonewall U.K. have very nice offices nice computers.
    Once more unto the breach, dear Stonewall, once more
    I see you stand like greyhounds at the keyboard,
    Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
    Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
    Cry God for boy George, and Saint Elton John,
    Oh darling please pass the sandwiches.
    We are so popular with the West End crowd.

    Call me a cynic

  40. What is it that Stonewall doesn’t get about this?

    Many of us aren’t interested in civil partnerships – WE WANT FULL EQUAL ACCESS TO MARRIAGE.

    That’s what Stonewall should be campaigning on, not entrenching this second-class status we have now. Get a grip, Stonewall.

  41. I agree with your first paragraph and in general with the anti-Stonewall comments posted here. Who cares what some silly cult does in its buildings? What about CIVIL MARRIAGE FOR ALL???

    @John (39): have you ever considered finding a religious denomination that isn’t fundamentally against gay rights (and whose hateful and backward doctrine towards gays you are supporting by attending its services) rather than being what many people would see as a hypocrite by endorsing by your presence the gatherings of one of the principal enemies of gay rights in this coutnry

  42. Simon Murphy 19 Nov 2009, 10:29am

    I think Stonewall needs to hear this feedback. They are so blatantly out of touch with the people they are claiming to represent that they need to hear how disappointed people are with their group.

    Their email address is: info@stonewall.org.uk

    “Dear Stonewall

    It was with great confusion that I read today on http://www.Pinknews.co.uk that Stonewall is seeking to add an amendment to the Equality Bill to allow religious buildings to hold civil partnership ceremonies.

    But at the same time you continue to refuse to campaign for civil marriage for gay people citing the reasoning that we should he happy with Civil Partnerships?

    Is your organisation trying to make sure that we never achieve marriage equality? (CP’s are NOT equal regardless of what you pretend).

    I frankly don’t care if a church will allow me to have a CP or not. I DO however care about the fact that the British government won’t allow me to marry my same-sex partner in a registry office.
    And I do care that your organisation (which claims to be campaigning for equality on my behalf) is so out of touch and dare-I-say spineless that you don’t think equality is an objective worth pursuing.

    How did Stonewall decide that LGB people who wish to formalise their relationships should be satisfied with Civil Partnerships?

    What is your mandate?

    Are you being clear when speaking to government and politicians that your organisation does NOT represent the LGB community – but merely your own members.

    Are you insisting that the funding you receive from the government is also given to LGBT groups who believe that we deserve legal equality?

    Furthermore I would suggest that you change your organisation’s name from Stonewall to something more appropriate. ‘Happy to Sit at the Back of the Bus’ may be a more suitable name for your group I think.

    Stonewall the name should not be associated with an organisation such as yours which does not think legal equality is worth fighting for.

    Yours in disgust”

  43. Simon Murphy 19 Nov 2009, 10:30am

    That email address should be:

    info@stonewall.org.uk

  44. Tim Hopkins – I love your CP/back of the bus analogy! May I use this during my organisations diversity week next week?

  45. Brian Burton – it’s Christians like you that show your faith in a bad light, you would rather point-score then agree to fight bigots

  46. The LGBT community never ceases to amaze me. The marriage ritual is based on the historical basis that women are owned by men, therefore need to be ‘given’ from father to new husband. Marriage was also designed to ensure that the lucky new owner of the woman can be guarenteed that any children produced will be his alone. Can’t you just feel the love and all that equality between men and women going on there? Gay people screaming for a slice of this are crackers. Religions don’t like us – never have. There might be a few decent priests or whatever but guess what people, we’ve been persecuted for centuries by them. This argument is akin to a black person demanding to join the KKK.

    By the way, slagging off Stonewall is taking the ultimate piss. They are not perfect but they’ve done a hell of a lot more for us in this country than the bleating pains that try to do them harm – leave that to the homophobes please, we have enough people to fight.

    If just one kid is less suicidal because of their work in schools then they deserve all of our support, not some self serving, whining bitchfest.

  47. Tim Hopkins 19 Nov 2009, 2:43pm

    Hi Charlene (44), Yes certainly. My only additional comment is that I think that analogies with racism need to be used with a little bit of care. When I’m speaking, and I use the back of the bus analogy, I also say something to the effect that I’m not suggesting that LGBT people in 2009 in the UK face the same level of discrimination as Black people did in the US 50 years ago, but that I think the analogy is illustrative nevertheless.

  48. Joolz,

    What does religion’s views on gays have to do with whether or not we should be allowed access to civil marriage? I don’t see anyone advocating that (heterosexual) atheists and divorcees should be denied the right to marry because “religions don’t like them”, this argument is only ever applied to gay couples to deny them of their rights. Religion doesn’t own marriage, certainly not in the civil realm, so their views on it, as well as your own personal dislike for the institution, are irrelevant to whether or not we should be allowed to marry.

    The fact is that marriage is the best form of legal recognition for couples and the only form where same-sex couples can be treated fully equal under the law and by society as a whole. Why do you think that Sweden and Norway, both countries which had registered partnerships for over a decade, decided to discontinue them and introduce marriage equality? Because they found that preventing gays from marring and instead forcing them into a separate institution, was inherently discriminatory and inherently harmful.

    Studies have shown the same in the US examining the civil unions of New Jersey and the (now defunct) ones in Vermont. Civil unions, not matter what legal rights they purport to have, are not equal to civil marriage. And until gays have the right to marry here in Britain we aren’t being treated equally.

  49. Tim Hopkins 19 Nov 2009, 3:04pm

    I think I should add that the analogy is not 100% accurate in other ways. Black people not only had to sit at the back of the bus, they had to give up their seats if the White seats got full. Basically, the sign showing where the Black seats started got moved back by a row of seats if the White seats were full and another White person got on the bus. Any Black people sitting in what had been the front row of the Black seats had to get up and stand, because those seats became the back row of the White seats when the sign was moved back a row. That was what Rosa Parks refused to do.

    So the analogy with the segregation of marriage and CP is not 100%, because same-sex couples don’t have to give up their CP because marriages have run out! So I suggest using the analogy with care.

    Another analogy I have sometimes used is the one of segregated drinking fountains in some US states, side-by-side, labelled “Whites only” and “Coloured”. Again the analogy should be used with some care, because the “Coloured” fountains were generally smaller and more rickety than the “Whites only” ones, although the quality of the water from the two side by side fountains was presumably the same.

  50. I was going to reply to joolz, but Comment 48 has done it perfectly. Let me just ‘shout’ this again though – religion did NOT invent marriage, nor does it own it, much as it might try to persuade you it does. And let me also add that NONE of my straight female married friends feel that marriage has somehow subordinated them. This is the 21st century. If you don’t want to marry, fine, but don’t deny others that choice.

  51. Quiet Campaigner 19 Nov 2009, 9:18pm

    This afternoon I was the token gay man, brought in to talk to a bunch of secondary school kids. I was amazed that several of them assured me, with absolute conviction, that homosexuality is a sin in the Bible. (Don’t they get any R.E. now-a-days?)

    It is valuable to allow THOSE CHURCHES WHO WANT TO to effect civil partnerships to do so, if only to bang home the point that SOME but not ALL religious people have homophobic views.

    The main objections to reform are represented as being on behalf of religious people/faith/the Bible and so on. If this bit of law were removed, it would significantly undermine that sort of objection.

    (And don’t forget that religious and non-religious people campaigned against the clause that prevented civil partnerships on religious premises when the bill was first going through the Lords.)

  52. Why *SHOULD* churches be forced to do something that goes against their ethics? If they choose to find homosexuality incompatible with their teachings, they have every right to say no.

    This sort of antagonistic attitude by that bunch of apathetic f_ckwits at Stonewall is just the sort of stupid leftie attitude that gets the rest of us a bad name. I’m all for gay marriage, but there is no reason why they can’t be held in a registry office.

  53. Tim Hopkins 20 Nov 2009, 8:33am

    RobN you’ve completely missed the point. I suggest you re-read the second paragraph of the article.

    No-one is proposing that churches be forced to do anything that goes against their ethics. The proposal is that those churches that agree with it, and only those that agree with it, should be able to register same-sex partnerships.

    Your attitude to same-sex couples with a religious faith (“there is no reason why they can’t be held in a registry office”) is selfish and dismissive. And I’m an atheist with no personal interest in a religious wedding at all.

  54. Brian Burton 20 Nov 2009, 2:36pm

    Tim Hopkins,
    You mentioned the fact you are an atheist and speaking as a Gay Chritian I wondered, your physical need are probably taken care of but tell me, do you have any spiritual needs?

  55. Brian: The only spiritual needs I have come out of a bottle.

    You’re born, you live, you die, you rot. Get over it.
    People spend way too much time worrying about what happens when their dead rather than what they should be doing whilst they are still alive.

  56. I think there is something profound which RobN is pointing to . . . we are born, we will die, and we will rot away.

    . . . and this is the only thing we can be certian of in life.

    I too think the more we are able to grasp this reality, the more we will be able to live a life worth living. This reality ultimately brings a sense of urgency, the after life may bring denial of the true facts of life . . . since the after life may or may not exist

    Carpe Diem

  57. I have changed my mind on this. I still condemn Stonewall for not having the guts to campaign for full marriage equality, but maybe it will be a step on the way. The cults that would take advantage of this law would be the less illiberal churches such as the Quakers. The Quakers would undoubtedly call the ritual they were performing “marriage”. That means that it becomes just that little bit more difficult to argue that marriage in UK law is a relationship only for heterosexuals – so it could be argued that it is one more step along the equal way…

  58. Joolz:

    Marriage is the only universally recognized protection of the pairing of two human beings. For many, perhaps most people such a coupling is their best hope, their ideal. In some circumstances it is as you describe, but only some. When it is that should be condemned. It would be wicked to advocate that only such situations be termed marriage. It is also not easy to see how male ownership of women would transfer to same-sex marriages.

    Hardly. How would marriage ensure that?

    Err, newsflash, marriage is not owned by religions. It long pre-dates religions and takes place without religious involvement. And not all religions are as you describe anyway. You seem to have very narrow views.

    Stonewall betrayed us, and continues to betray us on marriage, which is a crucial equality issue (as indicated by the homophobes strong stand on it), and have become establishment fat cats, not to be trusted at all. That means they cannot be trusted to save lives either.

    A major reason kids suffer at school is that they can be considered second class. Every socially sanctioned relegation assists that. Kids can taunt that they will never marry. And families can say the same. Its the ultimate “Billy no mates” taunt. Stonewall wants that to continue. And so, it seems, do you.

  59. Simon Murphy:
    | I can understand that Stonewall accepted CP’s when they were 1st
    | introduced. They provided legal recognition to gay couples who
    | wanted to make their relationships official. In that sense they
    | were progress.

    No, when the government legislated Civil Partnerships it was very clear they were to prevent same-sex marriage, to prevent equality. Stonewall and others had smothered debate on same-sex marriage here, but The Netherlands, Belgium and Canada already had it, and it was a very hot topic in the USA. Spain adopted it as the UK legislation was under debate. Civil partnerships were intended to remove enough fire from lesbian and gay inequality to ensure full equality never arrived. And the government made very clear in the parliamentary debates that it was the personal religious beliefs of relevant ministers, and the Blairs, that mattered.

    | More likely they like the funding they receive and and worried
    | that if they upset their political masters in parliament they
    | will lose access to those in power.

    Most of Stonewall’s income comes from the UK’s governments, and staff from Stonewall go on to very nicely paid government jobs. Then there are the very cosy personal friendships with the politicians.

    | Who gave Stonewall the authority to speak on behalf of all LGB
    | people? Why it was the government.
    |
    | But that is not the same as a mandate from the people they are
    | meant to be representing.

    The government did the same with Press for Change. Always question why leaders of “pressure groups” get awarded honours like MBE’s.

  60. agnostic:
    | I don’t see my CP as in anyway 2nd class, so long as it gives
    | the same rights and obligations as “marriage” does to straight
    | people. Both “marriage” and CP are essentially legal contracts
    | with virtually identical terms (excepting adultery), they ARE
    | both, in legal terms, contracts of marriage, whatever they are
    | called officially. Most straight and gay people do refer to CP’s
    | in this country as marriage anyway. The two systems will
    | inevitably be merged in some way in the future, when more people
    | can see how silly and pointless the apartheid is.

    Do you think other apartheids have ever been abolished because they were seen as “silly and pointless”? If you bothered to read up properly on this you would know that exactly this issue has been thoroughly examined by eminent judges in several jurisdictions overseas, and it has always been judged harmfully discriminatory and illegal. That’s a lot heavier than “silly and pointless” on any rational scale.

    Perhaps its that you are so enamored of your CP that you cannot see the many serious deficiencies you signed up for, and endorsed for others. Like their overseas marriages only being seen as CPs in the UK. Like trans people being forced to end their CP or marriage before they are allowed to change their legal sex (if they are transitioning that late in life), simply because same-sex marriage and opposite-sex CPs are barred (that was deliberate, since the two pieces of legislation went through together). Like CPs not being recognised abroad. Like religion, romance, love and sex being clearly seen as an accepted part of marriage but not CPs. CPs are nothing but financial contracts, yet most married couples would be horrified if anyone were to relegate their marriage to such a sordid and mundane status.

  61. oatc Only ten per cent of Stonewall’s income comes from “UK governments”

  62. Mike:
    | oatc Only ten per cent of Stonewall’s income comes
    | from “UK governments”

    You are sadly misinformed. Please see my reply to you http://www.pinknews.co.uk/?comments_popup=15085#comment-84272 and subsequent posts.

  63. People here may be interested to sign a petition to the Prime Minister on the Downing Street site:

    | We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to introduce
    | Marriage Equality.
    |
    | http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Gay-Marriage/
    |
    | We ask the Prime Minister to bring in equality for all British
    | citizens regardless of sexual orientation with regards to
    | Marriage. This means extending the rights of same sex couples to
    | become legally married as is legal in Canada, Belgium, 5 states
    | of the USA, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain and South
    | Africa. Civil Partnerships should also be open to heterosexual
    | couples who do not necessarily want to get married.
    |
    | Equal but different is NOT equality. Love is Love.

    Some homophobic and sexist idiot at No.10 has labeled the page “Gay marriage”

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