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Government could reject religious civil partnerships amendment

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  1. This whole debate is an utter waste of time.

    Extend civil marriage to same sex couples. Extend Civil Partnerships to opposite sex couples, and all problems are solved.

    As already stated it is impossible to get a civil marriage in a church. Religious marriage is not legally binding. The couple must also sign the register to be legally married. Why waste all this taxpayers money allowing same sex couples the chance to enter non-legally binding CIVIL partnerships in RELIGIOUS buildings.

    Equality now you dumb politicians. How difficult is this to grasp?

    Oh and scrap that unelected, undemocratic house of ‘lords’ while you’re at it.

  2. This just shows how weak the legal ground is over the governments standing on marriage equality. One trip to the ECOHR and the whole unequal deck of cards will come tumbling down.

  3. Tim Hopkins 5 Mar 2010, 1:30pm

    Unfortunately it will probably take a series of trips to the Euro Court of Human Rights to achieve marriage equality. That’s what was needed to achieve marriage rights for trans people – in a whole string of cases the Court said no, until in 2001, in the Goodwin and I v UK cases, they changed their minds.

    There are already two equal marriage cases before the ECtHR: Schalk & Kopf v Austria (their application to the Court was made in 2004), and Chapin & Charpentier v France (application made in 2007). The Court works slowly! The Schalk & Kopf judgment may be issued towards the end of this year.

  4. If this is rejected by the government it would mean they are opposed to religious freedom for gay people, and for any religion that accepts gay people as they are. It would certainly put me off voting for the government, though none of the others are particularly inspiring either.

  5. I couldn’t give a stuff about the religious groups having a problem with it but why should it be a problem for civil marriages?

  6. So, the amendment is proposed but the EQUALITIES minister is backing out?

    Does anyone want to send her a job description?! She seems to have forgotten what she’s actually supposed to be doing

  7. Why am I not surprised, it’s Labour and there’s an election coming don’t ya know.

    Don’t see the point of an ‘Equalites minister’ whose scared of erm… equality! Who doesn’t really want equality for all but only for those that don’t offend religion. Guess this is the result when you encourage mass homophobic immigrants to come hoping they’d vote Labour.

    It’s time for Labour/Tories to ‘strap on a pair’ and stand up to these old bigoted religion and remind them of what century we live in.

  8. Mumbo Jumbo 5 Mar 2010, 2:50pm


    Harriet Harman hasn’t forgotten what she is supposed to be doing but, like too many well-meaning people, she has become hopelessly confused as to the difference between intrinsic qualities and mere belief.

    Human rights are for human beings, not ideas, so when a belief such as religion or racism comes into conflict with an intrinsic quality such as sexuality or race, then it is the intrinsic quality that must prevail and be protected.

    Religious groups know this only too well. It is why they put so much effort into trying to convince everyone that homosexuality is but a mere choice of lifestyle whilst stating that their own particular belief is a part of who they are.

    Once you understand and accept the primacy of the intrinsic, the rest is simple. Until then, every decision becomes a nightmare of competing claims, compromise and wooly waffle.

    On the issue of civil partnerships and religious venues, this is exactly the mess that was always going to happen at some stage through creating a two-tier system of “marriage” via such confused and wooly compromise thinking.

    Civil partnerships were a great advance but, sooner or later, you end up back with the original question.

  9. you beat me to it Squidgy and Sparky
    the equalities ministers that Labour have forget that they are meant to make people equal and not pander to bigoted religious loonies

  10. I suspect there will be more of the same to come, just to please those religions. Trouble is this has come about because three religions requested the right to hold civil partnerships, so yet again old (what should be) defunked religions stand in the way of progress. Backed up of course by a so called Equalities minister.

  11. SimonM, you’re so right about that. None of this would be an issue if civil marriage were extended to gay couples alike and civil partnerships to straights. Now that would be true equality. Suing religious clerics is just a canard to oppose more equality. Its also weakening the argument against full marriage equality.

    Mumbo Jumbo, you’re also right, civil partnerships were an advance, not a great one I don’t think since its not a new phenomenon but a tried and proven form of discrimination realised by eight countries who have beaten us to the path to full equality.

  12. Pumpkin Pie 5 Mar 2010, 4:30pm

    Mumbo Jumbo

    Things would be so much easier if people understood that, wouldn’t they? It gets so tiring having to explain it over and over to the odd bigot who comes wandering into these pages.

  13. theotherone 5 Mar 2010, 4:46pm

    Labour are not ACTIVELY opposed to Queer Rights.

    So anyone going to vote for them now?

  14. Interesting comment from Mumbo Jumbo, I hadn’t thought of it like that, but you are quite right. Clever. I shall use that argument.

    I can’t see why it would cause a problem for other groups if Unitarians, Quakers, Liberal Jews and the Metropolitan Community Church want to do civil partnerships in church (actually Unitarians want to do same-sex weddings but we’re taking it one step at a time). It has been optional for Unitarian ministers to do same-sex blessings for a long time – in practice most of them want to, but it is still optional. This legislation just makes it an option for religious liberals to do same-sex civil partnerships (and I am pretty sure they’ll get referred to as weddings and marriages anyway in casual parlance, though that shouldn’t stop us pressing for full marriage equality).

  15. I don’t see why there is need for legislation or an amendment needed for the civil partnership act. Surely, it should be up to any religious cult if they choose to or not choose who they want to marry or enjoin in a civil partnership for those who want a religious component and I’m not defending religioun, far from it. Civil marriage and civil partnership are secular, very different from the religious so why should any religious clerics feel that they could face law suits? Its absurd. Straight civil marriage has no religious component, why should civil partnered couples want or expect religious cults to witness signing a register? Its silly. Religious cults perform religious marriages, not the civil variety. The reason why civil same-sex marriage was able to be legislated in eight countries (excluding the UK where we are banned from marrying) is that civil marriage was the key to resolving inequality thereby letting religious cults off the hook and weakening their argument to ban same-sex marriage altogether. Unfortunately, the cowardice of the Labour government and future Tory government is that they deliberately chose or would choose to avoid the argument for same-sex civil marriage using the state cult conflict as a lame excuse. The notion that we would have received no rights at all if we had pursued the marriage route is nothing more than a red herring aided and abetted by StonewallUK and apologists in our own community who decided that most of us didn’t want to get married, the arrogance of that is astounding. Stonewall didn’t speak for me and for countless thousands of other British gays. Eight countries got around that one, eight countries that had some forms of legal unions for gay couples long before StonewallUK had even conceived of equality. Look at Spain, Portugal and Belgium, three heavily catholic countries and look at what they did! There was absolutely NO reason why the UK couldn’t have done the same and if we had, we wouldn’t be having this ridiculous argument for civil partnerships in a religious setting. This could only happen in the UK. Its absolutely mind-boggling and nothing to be proud of.

  16. Mihangel apYrs 5 Mar 2010, 5:07pm

    how quickly the govt jumps to a religious whip

  17. I’m ACTIVELY not voting Labour

  18. Robert, maybe those countries didn’t have opus dei in the cabinet.

  19. Hmmm. Did any of you actually read this article? The source of this claim is….the Daily Torygraph. So you are going to believe as a done fact what a staunch opponent of Labour merely speculates? I am no fan of Harriet Harman, but really everyone, stop and think before you foam at the mouth! This is pure supposition on the part of a vested interest. If she does as her opponents speculate, rip her apart. She has let us down before, and is capable of doing it again, but jeez! Read what you are reading first!

  20. arfur, actually there were some ardent roman cultists in the Spanish and Portuguese cabinets but unlike their C of E counterparts, they were able to separate civil from secular, not that they some of them disagreed with same-sex marriage. They were outnumbered. Take Portugal, a right wing cultist President Annibal Silva could veto same-sex marriage legislation if he wanted to, but the chances are unlikely. Now if the Portuguese can do it, so can we Brits. There is NO reason not to, no excuse. My partner and I shouldn’t have had to leave our country for Canada to get married, absolutely shameful and to add insult to injury, our government refuses to recognise our marriage for what it truly is. If wanted a civil partnership, we would have stayed home. THere is NO full equality for gay people in our country. The apologists can argue it all they want, they won’t convince me and others, deep down they know it but they’d be loathe to admit it as the see more countries support full marriage. What galls me is many of them refuse to support our right to marry if we choose to and do precious little to make it a reality. They think Stonewall is the be all and end all of everything concerning our rights. It isn’t and in fact sometimes works against us as it did with marriage equality. I have nothing but contempt for StonewallUK, its not worthy to bear the name. If I had it in my power, I’d compel Stonewall Democrats in America, the birthplace of Stonewall, to sue StonewallUK for misrepresenting what Stonewall means and what it represents, ergo full equality, nothing short of that. Its disgraceful.

  21. And now for all those socialist bigots that continually attack the Tories, to paraphrase a quote: “What has Labour ever done for us?”.

    This is bottling out of the highest order. Everyone is skirting round the issue trying to come up with alternatives, but nobody is willing to bite the bullet and admit the whole thing is one almighty, Godforsaken cock-up and the only real way forward is to level the playing field, drop the pretence, tell all the God-botherers to sling their hooks and make marriage a single, gender-free legal right accessible to everyone.

    Then I for one might have some respect for these spineless f_cking scumbags. Earn your extra grand a year!

  22. Robert, just out of interest, is your Canadian marriage recognised in France, which has been giving us problems over CP recognition because it’s not “marriage”; and has it proved easier to get recognition elsewhere than with CP’s. This is a genuine enquiry, I’m not being clever. We might do it ourselves if there’s a benefit to it.

  23. arfur…not sure about the situation in France since it too doesn’t have same-sex marriage but those inferior PACs. That said, our marriage is recognised in Holland, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and in America in the states of New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, the District of Columbia.

    By the way arfur, I believe the French Parliament recently issued a declaration that it will recognise British civil partnerships. However, be warned. Their version, i.e. PACs, do NOT confer all of the rights that come with a civil partnership. So if you and your partner were to form a CP in the UK and move to France, the rights you enjoy in the UK would not all be available to you in France. The French version offers only minimal rights, no adoption rights either I think. That’s just another example why having our CPS recognised across the EU doesn’t make sense when other member states’ versions of partnerships don’t reciprocate all of the rights conferred by a CP. Its an absurd situation either way. The only way to resolve it is to allow us to legally marry in our countries within the EU.

    RobN, I’m so in agreement with your view that marriage should be gender neutral and accessible. This is exactly what the 8 countries have done and it put a stop to the established religious cults from meddling any further in the matter. The same should be done in the UK. Our government controls civil marriage not the C of E or any others. The sooner they learned that the better and Cameron when elected should grow a f-cking big pair of bollocks and go a step further than Labour by proving he and his party really are for full equality by allowing us to marry and get it over with once and for all. That would really deal Labour a hefty blow in this and future elections, but I doubt that Cameron has the courage and the guts to do just that. On that he’s no better than Brown.

  24. SimonM’s opening comment on this thread is WRONGWRONGWRONG. Extending civil marriage to same-sex couples WOULD NOT bring about equality. Yes, it would be one step towards it, but the debate here is about RELIGIOUS FREEDOM for people who want legal recognition of their religious marriages in the same way that straight couples can get legal recognition for their religious marriages.

    Go to a church wedding and you will see a registrar sat in the corner, at the end of the ceremony the couple goes over there and signs the register and hey-presto their religious wedding has legal status.

    What the gay community must demand in order for equality to be achieved is that when a same-sex couple gets married in a religious institution they can also have a registrar there and sign something to give their religious wedding legal standing as a MARRIAGE. Not a civil partnership.

    Gender neutral marriage laws would achieve this.

  25. Dromio, the fact that the Quakers, liberal Judaism, and some in the Anglican cult among others are more than happy to officiate at a civil partnership, is NOT equality either. Who cares if a religious cult doesn’t want to recognise a same-sex marriage? That’s their prerogative. Most straight people nowadays have a civil ceremony. Gender neutral civil marriage for all is the only way to go in a modern society. The Roman cult won’t even allow a divorced straight catholic to remarry in the church so I don’t see why you think opening up civil marriage to us wouldn’t be full equality. Who gives a f_ck if some cults don’t want to marry us, there’s always one that will. Marriages aren’t legal until they’re registered with the state not the cults, no matter where one marries. Religion doesn’t own marriage, it never will, thankfully.

  26. So the difference between Labour and Tories are????? Labour seem to be dropping in their support.

  27. theotherone 5 Mar 2010, 11:39pm

    ‘obody is willing to bite the bullet and admit the whole thing is one almighty, Godforsaken cock-up and the only real way forward is to level the playing field, drop the pretence, tell all the God-botherers to sling their hooks and make marriage a single, gender-free legal right accessible to everyone.’

    fvck me, I’m agreeing with RobN

  28. theotherone: There’s hope for you yet! ;)

    Dromio: If you expect the Church to bow down and accept gay couples getting married in a church, IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! – Some churches may accept it, but the majority won’t – and I respect their choice, in flies in the face of their teachings, and so be it. BUT… as I said in a previous post, marriage is now a legal matter, not just a religious one, so I see no reason why gay people can get married in a registry office, just like secular straight people can.

  29. “so I see no reason why gay people cannot get married in a registry office”

    Sorry. Too many sherbets last night.

  30. RobN and theotherone…I totally concur with your views! We as a voting bloc need to shake the tree a lot more, get those lazy thinkers in both parties to acknowledge that civil marriage should and must be gender neutral. Don’t expect anything from politicians. We should be like the French, make our government afraid of the people instead of paying lipservice every five years. Gay voters have the power but we’re not using it effectively. We need to demand our right to marry, no political correctness and not allowing those who claim they support our equality to take our votes for granted any longer. We need to give them an ultimatum or else. We need to build a viable movement in support of full marriage equality, nothing less, just as our fellow brothers and sisters are doing in America and elsewhere. That’s how eight countries were able to get it passed. We need to do the same. Canada did an excellent job of that. Ironic, considering its a British commonwealth member. South Africa out of all of the eight progressive countries amazes me the most. It took the Supreme Court of the land to support gender neutral civil marriage equality, not the government. Absolutely astounding!

  31. First why not say well done to Lord Ali, Stonewall, the Quakers etc who secured this vote. But then let’s ask why Harriet Harman is called “equalities minister”. Would things be any difrrenet under the Conservatives?

  32. Peter: “Would things be any different under the Conservatives?”

    Well it couldn’t possibly be any worse.
    At least the Tories tell you they are going to stab you in eye, rather than Labour professing to be the ‘Peoples Party’ and then once you present any trust, they totally shaft you and stab you in the arse. I’d rather have a bastard than a f_cking hypocrite.
    Better the devil you know.

  33. Robert: “We need to give them an ultimatum or else.”

    Or else what? We mince about outside the Houses of Parliament blowing whistles at them? Oh purleeeze!

    Nice concept, and I sympathise with you, but the only way you get politicians to actually do anything these days is threaten to have them up before a court, and as they run all the courts as well, you don’t stand a snowballs. This country moves closer to Zimbawean democracy every day.

    Look at the expenses scandal. Every single f_cking scumbag politician from every party has managed to dive under the parapet. Nobody has been accused, let alone charged, and not a single sole has been sacked. – And that is after one massive country-wide scandal, so what do you seriously expect a handful of poofs to achieve with something as trivial as this?

  34. RobN, actually, there is one Supreme Court judge, Lady Hale who actually said that she saw no reason why two people of the same-sex can’t get married. Maybe that is where we should be focusing our attention. We need to form an alternate group with NO input or assistance from the likes of anti-full equality group StonewallUK and get a lot of our straight allies on board. This is how South Africa was able to get marriage equality passed. The problem with our fellow gay brothers and sisters is that they’re not united or motivated as they are in other countries. Many of them have been lulled into a false sense of equality when in fact there is a lot more to do. Civil partnerships aren’t about equality at all, they’re more about keeping us separate and apart from the rest of society with similar rights. I don’t accept it and I know there are hundreds of thousands of others who don’t. Stonewall in its arrogance didn’t speak for me and others of my view. The only way to end the corruption in both parties is to stop supporting them. For far too long, they’ve taken our votes for granted. End that and maybe we’d see a different result. Let them earn our support first by delivering the goods upfront. Time for the gloves to come off.

  35. Robert: Nice words, and genuine sentiment, but I like most on here really don’t want to end up spending months of my time rallying to get laws changed. Some people get a buzz from it. (Mr P. Tatchell, esq. for one) – but I am in a civil partnership already, and as far as everyone I know is concerned, we are “married”. It wouldn’t affect me one jot. If people want to waste months of their lives complaining about what is essentially just a description, then good luck to them.

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