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Lords back religious civil partnerships for gay couples

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  1. Excellent news. Certainly another step further.

  2. Barrington 3 Mar 2010, 9:58am

    SHAME, SHAME on the Lords!! Shame on this country!! All fundamental values of this Civilisation are being thrown away in the name of socially constructed “equality” to please a bunch of perverts.

  3. Shame on those who would prefer a country full of such religious hatred clap-trap Barrington.

  4. Sister Mary clarence 3 Mar 2010, 10:09am

    Yes Barrington, and God help you if you shave, wear mixed fabric, eat shell fish, or are guilty of any sexual immorality yourself like sex outside marriage.

    I’m sure there will be a line round the block from your church who are not going to turn the other cheeks and will be more than happy to cast the first stne

  5. Nice that this has come through.

    So what are Labour and the Tories’ plans to allow gay couples enter the contract of civil marriage; and to allow straight couples to enter the contract of civil partnership?

    Denying a couple the right to enter a contract purely on the basis of their sexual orientation is grotesquely offensive in the 21st century.

  6. It always amazes, me the one’s shouting ‘homos are a bunch of perverts’ are the very ones who only see people by what they do in bed.

    Hypocrite much?

  7. For you Labour Lovies – Interesting to hear that the government ‘continued to oppose the amendment although offered its backbenchers a free vote after the Conservative Party had offered the same.’ What with this and their desire to not stand up to the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.

  8. Aussie Gay activist Paul Mitchell 3 Mar 2010, 11:06am

    Why do anti-gay people put the “bible down our throats” every given day that equality is achieved????

    The bible says NOTHING, ZILTCH about homosexuality or marriage!!!!

    The bible says alot of things:

    * You can not eat sellfish;
    * You can not work on Sunday;
    * You can not have sex when a women who is mentrating;
    * You CAN sell your daughter into slavery;

    – Plently more…

    I am sure that anti-gay people do not follow these rules.

    I am an athiest remember, so religious people should just up for once.

  9. Jessica Green comes out as being straight in the Guardian today!

    Please give her some support :)

  10. Dear Barrington, If you read the story again , I think you will find that it was some relgions that requested this new law. Surely thats what you beleive in? Reglious freedom? ON another note, Lord Tebbit, what a small minded little man he is , very bitter.

  11. YAY! Religion is bad, but at least now gay people get equal access to a bad institution. :)

  12. Abi1975: Considering Jessica Geen is the editor of THIS publication, why did she feel it necessary to write her confessions in that socialist rag? It certainly shows where her political allegiances lie, (not that we had any doubt about it.)

  13. Maybe just maybe it was because the Guardian paid her for it!

    I don’t care if Jessica Green is straight or even a socialist its just good to have he as editor. She is human and sometimes she makes mistakes that might upset one or two people. But on the whole she is a good editor and that’s all we should ask for.

    Judging people on gender, colour, sexuality or political allegiance is so last century RobN!

  14. Since LGBT Labour again get a pllug in Pink News, while the Lib Dems are not asked for comment, here’s the LGBT Lib Dem position on this amendment.

  15. Squidgy please let us know where you got this quote from:-

    ‘continued to oppose the amendment although offered its backbenchers a free vote after the Conservative Party had offered the same.’

  16. No 14: Dave Page: “Since LGBT Labour again get a pllug in Pink News”

    Do LGBT Labour support marriage equality?

    If not when why not?

    If they don’t then they should be held in the same contempt as LGBTory and Stonewall – both of whom are opposed to legal equality for gay people.

  17. So former Home Secretary Lord Waddington was in favour of religious freedom, to the extent of putting forward an amendment to clarify that homophobia is allowed in Church, but now is against it when certain religions and denominations want to be pro-gay and allow civil partnerships for their worshippers? Could it possibly be that his motivation has absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom, but either possibly to do with forcing his own brand of religious beliefs on the whole country, through the legislature, or simply just motivated by homophobia, pure and simple?

  18. George Broadhead, PTT 3 Mar 2010, 1:19pm

    Lord Ali says: “I believe that people want religion in their lives and many gay and lesbian couples are no different.”

    Isn’t his Lordship aware that Britian is rapidly secularising. The recently published British Social Attitudes Survey, one of the largest annual polls in the country and commissioned by the National Centre for Social Research, shows a further dramatic lurch way from religion with 43% saying that they have none – a much greater proportion of the population than all the minority faiths put together.

    It’s high time politicians like Lord Ali took note of this development and stopped making such fatuous claims.

  19. Who cares – any gay person that would want to get married in a homphobic building that has created the hell we have lived in for the last 2000 years must be insane, very stupid, or unable to see the reality of christianity.
    The bible does say things about homosexuality – in the old testament Leviticus writes some pretty nasty things about us – he hated us (and just about everything else). And this evil book is the foundation stone of these churches – I say demolish these dark evil buildings, and not use gay people to make others think that people are interested in them.

  20. Could Waddington perhaps be a serial hypocrite? This is a man who has supported capital punishment, yet his own arrogant botched job as a defence QC in 1975 sent an innocent man to jail for murder for 18 years, destroying the poor guy’s sanity, health and family; he died shortly after finally being proved (very obviously) innocent in 1992. Only released after Waddington was no longer Home Secretary. The real murderer was jailed in 2007 on DNA evidence.


  21. George, people might take your unkind remarks slightly more seriously if you at lest spelt Lord Alli’s name right.

  22. James J – clearly you know nothing of the variety of opinion and interpretation of the Bible, the different weight different people give to the old testament and to the writings of Paul in the New,etc etc. All religions have these varieties of opinion.

    The interesting thing is the hypocrisy of law-makers who use religion to push one particular view, which of course happens to coincide with their own.

  23. A step forward though personally I don’t give a toss about religious cults, all a bunch of mass hysterics if you ask me. If the House of Lords believes that religious denominations should have the option to recognise and officiate at civil partnerships, then why not let the Quakers and the Unitarians legally marry us, the only two “christian” denominations that actually believe in full marriage equality? I recently married my partner in Toronto but my government refuses to recognise our marriage as a marriage but treats it as a civil partnership. Our marriage certificate mentions nothing of civil partnerships. Ironic that it was issued in a British commonwealth country where they have full equality. Where’s the equality in that? Me and my partner are deeply offended. About time that changed but I don’t expect anything better from the next government either. More of the same unfortunately so we won’t vote for either.

    Barrington…….you may also like to know that husbands are allowed to kill their wives for adultery and their children for being defiant. Do you pluck out your eye or cut off your right hand if something offends you? You either believe in all of it or you don’t, since hypocrites like you claim that the scripture are the word of god. You can’t cherry-pick this or that to suit your own hate agenda. You’re an idiot and a bigot!

  24. SimonM, some of us support full marriage equality and I notice an increasing number of people who do. Forget about StonewallUK, its not interested. More importantly, neither Labour or Tory parties support it since they too do not believe in FULL equality. Its up to us to change it since they won’t. We need to get more straight allies on board, they exist believe me, we just need to engage them so that they too get their full equality by being allowed to have access to a civil partnership for those who don’t want to marry.

  25. As an atheist who believes that religious faith is a mental illness, I would certainly not stand in the way of those who wish to have a religious element in their civil partnership ceremony.
    What disturbed me very much yesterday, as I watched the second reading of the Equality Bill in the Lords, were the attempts by conservative peers, including Lady Butler Sloss, to try to persuade the House to backtrack on legislation preventing civil registrars from refusing to conduct civil partnerships, and allowing, according to Butler Sloss, just a little change to the law so that catholic adoption societies could confine adoption to heterosexual married couples, and therefore discriminate against gay couples. Butler Sloss did not like it when she was accused, by another member of the House, of being homophobic (see ‘Hansard’). Butler Sloss claimed to be a great friend of gay people, and here is the very thing: she claimed to have had a conversation with a senior member of Stonewall who assured her that such a change would be perfectly acceptable. What I want to know is who is this member of Stonewall, and can we trust Stonewall to fully support gay rights if one of its leading members is going to say such things?
    Butler Sloss withdrew the amendments in favour of the Catholic Church but said that she was likely to introduce them again during the third reading of the Bill. Can we trust such people, and, importantly, can we trust conservative peers and conservative MPs to support gay rights? I think not. Things will get worse under a Tory government, despite what conservative supporters on this thread will no doubt say.

  26. “Could Waddington perhaps be a serial hypocrite?”

    This is what Waddington said in the Lords yesterday in a debate about the so-called conscientious objection amendments.

    Lord Waddington: My Lords, I support the noble and learned Baroness as far as these amendments are concerned. It seems grossly unfair to require a person who has been recruited as a registrar of marriages to do something rather different, which is contrary to his or her religious convictions, and register a civil partnership. Yet that is what happened to a local authority employee recently. It seems that the local authority was just trying to make a point at her expense, because it was never suggested that there were not other registrars in the borough with no religious objection to registering civil partnerships who would be prepared to do that work. It was an act of gross unfairness. Here is an opportunity for us, in a Bill that is supposed to be about fairness, to remedy a very obvious wrong.

  27. Abi1975: “Judging people on gender, colour, sexuality or political allegiance is so last century RobN!”

    Is that why every article on here that refers to the Tories gets mercilessly attacked by every leftie non-hettie this side of Washington DC?

    Principles are all well and good, but just like Communism, it looks great on paper, but never works in practice.

  28. arfur – “clearly you know nothing of the variety of opinion and interpretation of the Bible”
    Actually arfur, during a period of which I can only put down to insanity, I wasted nearly 5 years studying christian theology, and have a first hons degree in the wretched subject. I wrote my thesis on homosexuality, christianity and intollerance, so I think I probably know a little more than you. I will reiterate – the bible, both old and new testaments are homophobic, and the churches built on this vile book do not want homosexuals in them – thats just the way it is. But, as you say, some contemporary ‘new age’ christians, ignore the hate scribbled into its pages, and think they can reinterpret the bible to mean something good. It isn’t.

  29. Yay!

    Now gay couples can celebrate their legally bound flatmate not-marriages in Churches with “Religious CIVIL Unions”. Wait a minute…WHAAAA? How can you have a Religious CIVIL Union? Can you have a Religious CIVIL Marriage? Oh, never mind, I forgot. Civil Unions AREN’T marriages. They’re not anything like marriages despite what we’re told by those inside and outside our community who want us to not rock the boat and to happily accept our second class status. If they were the same thing then people wouldn’t fight so hard to call them something different. If they were the same thing then the Times and the Guardian and other mainstream publications wouldn’t refer to them as “marriage” and “marrying” in “scare”, “not-really” quotes.

    Is this really something to celebrate? It’s really hard to make the argument that Civil Partnerships are an “other”, “not-quite”, second class status to those who are against giving us full equality when they see us acting with glee over the latest governmental endorsement of our second classness. They just say, SEE, the homos are happy with their lot. They understand that REAL marriage must be set aside as superior, special and sacred by restricting it hetero couples only. So why then should we even consider changing the two class system?

    Stop being the standard bearers of your oppressors!

  30. Zeke, I have to agree with you. My partner and I wanted to get married so we had to leave and go to Toronto. When we returned home, the local registrar told me that our marriage isn’t recognised as such and that it would only be treated as a civil partnership which it clearly isn’t. Its really disgusting. We think the reason why our government, both this one and the next tory government won’t recognise it for what it is is that it will open the gate to full marriage, something neither wants to do let alone consider. We’re not that progressive as some like to think we are. If we were, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Look at all of the various forms of legal unions for gay couples across the EU. That proves that they, including civil partnerships, are definitely not equal. Opening marriage to us would get rid of that ridiculous hodge podge of varying forms of inequality across the entire EU altogether. Its a simple thing yet they make it so difficult. The bottom line of course is not offending the religious cults that have absolutely NOTHING to do with civil marriage, which is all we’re demanding, and rightly so. My fellow British gay compatriots are in denial when they claim that civil partnerships are identical and just as good as marriage. They fail to see the larger picture and the implications. A very insular way of thinking but that’s nothing new to our culture, we often think we’re the only ones who are right to the exclusion of others. Its like burying one’s head in the sand and pretending things are just fine as they are, why rock the boat? They just don’t get it unlike eight other countries that have surpassed us, a trend that will grow I think while we languish and accept being treated differently and separately as if we are pariahs. I never believed in racial segregation and this is tantamount to just that under a different guise. How could anyone consider that to be full equality? Its mind-boggling. To think we have an organisation that claims to represent all of us yet dismisses any notion of full marriage equality. It doesn’t desever to bear the name of Stonewall and clearly has no idea what Stonewall was all about. Isn’t it ironic that in South Africa, a country that has gone through all kinds of discrimination and apartheid the most insidious of all, it took a mostly all white Supreme Court to rule that gay people should be accorded the same rights as straights when they allowed their own gay people to marry? We should be ashamed of ourselves in the UK.

  31. Barrington (No 2), don’t be shy – come our and fight your corner, dear boy; some of these awful pervies are saying rude things about you. Put your gloves on, dear, and fight for what you think is right. After all, anyone can rant and be rude about other people, but just try justifying your statements and then we can all see what you’re relly made of.
    1 – 2 – 3 – jump in, there’s a dear!

  32. The Grinch 3 Mar 2010, 5:08pm

    Robert while I agree with most everything you say, especially the point that civil partnerships are not equal to marriages in terms of international standing I would point out a few things. The move to full equality for our relationships is clearly progressing – less then a decade ago it would not have been possible for my American partner and I to have permanent status in the UK based solely on our relationship which is thanks to Civil Partnerships. We now have this incremental step of allowing religious content and CP’s to take place in some churches. The challenge for same sex couples is to continue to push our elected representatives, the European Union, Stonewall (!) and the courts to move us to full marriage status. So I for one see this as a positive step toward equality and take some comfort that it was the usually conservative House of Lords that embraced the change. Clearly this issue is a big ship to turn around, and unlike South Africa, we have more pushing to do…keep the faith.

  33. Grinch (32) – how I love the voice of reason. Rome wasn’t built in a day…and we, the gay movement represented by people who are in a position to effect change, have come a long, long way.

    Think of the civil rights movement worldwide and it’s easy to see that we are part of a huge change for the better and an acceptance of both gay and straight partners in loving relationships has only just begun.

  34. I we start to get churches doing CPs it will totally undermine their positions so let them carry on I say. After all the C of E will no doubt jump at the chance of making a extra quid off us. Its at that point we should challenge the rights they have to discriminate us including marriage equality.

    We should think of this as our Trojan horse waiting to be brought inside the city of Troy.

  35. Name and shame all the institutionalised homophobics that voted against bill—no more than the 3 given names??

  36. The Grinch, thank you. I’m not saying I don’t want people to have civil partnerships, I do for those who want them, both gay and straight, but we should and must have the choice to marry for those of us who want to. That’s all I’m saying. I agree with everything else you say on the subject but compared to the other eight countries who have gone that extra step, I still think we should be pushing a lot harder to make it happen. The problem I see is a lot of apathy among my fellow gay brothers and sisters and there is NO national movement to bring about that change for us and getting our straight allies on board. I don’t understand it. If it weren’t for activism and a strong push for full equality, without exception, none of those eight countries would have won theirs. I don’t see the zeal in our own country, many of us have become indifferent and that’s not a good thing. I don’t hear any of our politicians voicing support unlike other countries. Even in Ireland, you’ll find a far more vocal group supporting full marriage equality, we don’t have that here yet, unfortunately and I don’t see why we shouldn’t. I really don’t see this as a “big ship to turn around” since all that needs to be done is to change two words, i.e. civil partnerships into one…”marriage”. There would be no need for prolonged debate either since this has already been done for civil partnerships. Heaven knows, we have enough class structure without creating another one which civil partnerships have already done. Its absurd to keep us separate from the rest of straight society, hardly integration but more about segregation to satisfy the bigotry of the relgious cults. In a poll I once read on here, it was estimated that 60% of the British public don’t have a problem with marriage equality. I don’t understand why our politicians would be so dead set against it if those numbers are to be believed. If Spain, Portugal and Belgium can do it, heavily catholic countries, there is absolutely no reason or excuse why we can’t.

  37. Pete & Michael 3 Mar 2010, 6:44pm

    From Bishop of Bradford, Quote ” since civil partnerships were introduced, that they are not the same as marriage”, and if the c of e church is receiving money from English Heritage for maintaining it’s churches why do we all have to pay for it in our taxes? Bring on full Marriage Equality we say!

  38. The Grinch 3 Mar 2010, 6:57pm

    Part of the issue Robert, and take a review of some of the comments here as proof, is that many gays see no value in marriage based on the traditional model of construct here where it is sanctified by a Church. That could explain the difference with Spain and Ireland where civil ceremonies for straights are much less prevalent then here. I remember, but don’t agree with, the sentiment at the time of CP’s being debated was that our community had a unique and preferential way of defining our relationships separate from the State and Church links of traditional marriage and that was a good thing. I’m with you absolutely though, we need to make more noise and push for full marriage equality – separate is never really equal.

  39. The Grinch, thanks for that. Civil marriage is performed a lot more in Canada than religious marriage, yet it was able to get full marriage equality passed.

    This is from Peter Tatchell…I was right about the poll too.

    Religious civil partnerships backed by Lords

    Ban on church civil partnerships voted down by House of Lords

    Next battle: End the ban on same-sex civil marriage

    London – 3 March 2010

    Last night’s vote by the House of Lords to end the ban on religious civil partnerships is “another advance for gay equality and religious freedom,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the LGBT rights group OutRage!

    “Allowing faith organisations to make their own decisions on whether to conduct same-sex civil partnerships is the democratic and decent thing to do.

    “By banning religious civil partnerships, the current law is denying religious bodies the right to treat gay couples equally. It is forcing them to discriminate, even when many of them do not want to.

    “The Quakers, Unitarians, Metropolitan Community Church and liberal synagogues wish to conduct civil partnership ceremonies and should be allowed to do so.

    “Following a change in the law, we expect civil partnerships will be conducted by gay-affirmative religions, including the Unitarians and Quakers, and some Anglican churches and liberal synagogues.

    “Our next goal is to secure marriage equality, to end the prohibition on lesbian and gay couples having a civil marriage in a registry office. Already, 61% of the British public believe that same-sex couples should be able to have a civil marriage, according to an opinion poll conducted by Populus and published by The Times in June last year.

    See here:

    “The gay rights group OutRage! is planning to challenge the bans on same-sex civil marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships in the European Court of Human Rights. Our aim is full equality for homosexual and heterosexual couples. We hope to file an appeal to the European Court by summer of this year. Already, four couples have agreed to join the legal challenge.

    “If we win in the European Court of Human Rights, the government will be required to change the law to allow gay partners to have a civil marriage and to allow heterosexual couples to have a civil partnership. It will ensure, at last, full equality in the laws governing relationship recognition and rights.

    “Last month, the Greens became the first and and only political party in Britain to officially support an end to the ban on civil partnerships being conducted in places of worship. Their Spring party conference voted almost unanimously to end the prohibition on religious civil partnerships.

    “I may disagree with religion and want a separation of religion from the state, but I still object to religious same-sex couples being denied the option of having a civil partnership in their place of worship. If that is what they want, it is up to them. Exclusions based on faith or sexuality are wrong,” said Mr Tatchell.

    Further information: Peter Tatchell 0207 403 1790

  40. So at the end of all this I am still denied the right to marry my fiance and religious organisations still have special dispensation to discriminate me purely based on the fact the we are both guys. So much for progess. Big whoop.

  41. The Grinch, there is a big difference between not being allowed to marry and not choosing to marry. Of course there are gay people who don’t, and won’t, want to get married. There are some who will prefer Civil Partnerships. Regardless of where you stand on the issue there is no reason to not support full and equal access for ALL to ALL CIVIL institutions.

    My frustration, as stated above, is not that progress is not being made, it certainly is being made. It’s not that progress isn’t moving quickly, it certainly is moving quickly. My concern and frustration is how many gay people are deluding themselves into believing that with Civil Partnerships, we’ve arrived, equality has been achieved, pack it up boys the fight is over. I fear that the more people become satisfied with second class status the harder it will be and the longer it will take to achieve TRUE equality.

    I applaud England’s amazing moves forward toward LGBT equality but at the same time I refuse to be satisfied until true equality is achieved. We need a little less back patting and a little more ass kicking if we ever hope to get there.

  42. I wanted to say something first, but my gorgeous fiance beat me to it because I got stuck at work (from wherein I don’t like to post due to the IT Gestapo, though I –occasionally– read).

    We aren’t gonna get hitched until we have the FULL rights and recognition of a hetero couple. I am worried that a Civil P would mean we wouldn’t be able to ‘upgrade’ to the full monty should it come to pass without divorcing first. So we wait. I still wear a ring. As does he.

    I was at a pension seminar today where they told me he can have equal status for everything, so things are coming along. But we are still a long way away.

    Why not just say that Civil Partnership is for ppl who do it in a Registry Office and Marriage is that Church thang? I’d love to use a Quaker hall to hold my Reception, and they seem to have no problem with either of us. We didn’t burst into flames when we kissed in the hall.

    I wouldn’t want to tie the knot (a Catholic reference, btw) in a place where they didn’t feel comfortable, anyway.

    Raven: Still love you. Let them publish and be damned.

  43. All civil contracts should be supported in the form of civil marriage for gay people – religious for those who want it.

  44. “Name and shame all the institutionalised homophobics that voted against bill—no more than the 3 given names??”

    Division on Amendment 53

  45. Well I’m glad Lord Waheed alli has put this forward and also glad that there is a step in the right direction, however, painfully slow it all seems. Afer a rather disappointing response from this Lord when I asked him what they were doing to get some recognition of our CP abroad then this is at least something. I don’t quite understand why some people on this forum will think we will get more recognition abroad as gay married couples, do they have proof of this. Does anybody know where the British CP is recognised at the moment or if we suddenly changed it to a gay marriage where it would be recognised. Some countries don’t recognise gay marriage but recognise civil union, like the uk, they downgrade it to a CP. It’s great to have a marriage but even greater to have rights rather than no rights and my fear is that we don’t know what the impact of concerting it to a marriage has abroad, we don’t even know what the current sitution is – I’m British , have a CP but don’t live in the UK. I live in a different country where they only have civil unions…Will the government start looking at the international aspect of gay marriages and CPs and take it a bit more seriously!

  46. Daily Telegraph: Clergy could be sued if they refuse to carry out ‘gay marriages’, traditionalists fear

  47. My thanks to many of the above posters for the clarity they have written on this very important step forward. We are not quite there yet but for my generation,(60 plus), it is so satisfying to read articulate individuals expressing such progressive thinking.

  48. In principle it’s a good thing that there’s no institutionalised discrimination.
    In practice I wouldn’t like my gay wedding ruined by some passive aggressive preacher snarling my wedding vows through clenched teeth whilst staring daggers at me the whole time. It would be like getting married by the Rev. Bernice Woodall from “The League of Gentlemen”!
    As they say you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
    In some ways it’s good to know where you stand with homophobes in service industries so they don’t get your business (plus you don’t end up paying them for shoddy customer service).
    Just playing devil’s advocate here.

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