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Scottish faith groups call for gay marriage

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  1. Fabulous and encouraging to see that there are those with faith who strongly support LGBT equality and do not see this as a threat to their religious beliefs.

    I appreciate some religious organisations are harder to stand up for what you believe in (in terms of equality and potentially other areas) but one does wonder why when other organisations with similar creeds have such a positive and accepting approach why some in other organisations such as Church of Scotland, Church of England, RC church etc choose not to deviate in their religious allegiances.

    1. Sorry

      stand up and be counted within those organisations and be true to what you believe in …

      Making sentences faster than I can type – sorry!

    2. Another Hannah 28 Sep 2011, 10:40am

      The “nation state” religious groups. RC is the biggie, the original. Years ago when I was a psychiatric nurse I looked at what was going on in terms of treatment I was giving, and I realised that what I was being told to provide was what was good for the state, not what was good for the patient. If you look at most other bodies in Britain you can see the same is true, police, social services, hospitals, the army – its why people so often get outraged – they can’t seem to grasp they exist for the state, not the people. The rioting sentecing is a prime example – career burglars given the usual sentences, but people sucke din and who wanted a riot given huge sentences. I’m very much a socialist capitalist myself, but Marx said many times the church and state go hand in hand. These religions are devices of the government created by King Henry VIII, and the RC is the original – see vatican wealth etc…Do you know how many RC women were forced to become baby machines and hated it?

      1. We are the state … in effect …

        1. “Unitarians, Liberal Jews, Quakers, the Metropolitan Community Church and the Pagan”
          This is a “tiny” liberal voice in sea of mainstream churches who are not calling for Gay Marriage.
          In addtion, the Metropolitian Community Church is a gay church group with two small groups in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

          This is not a significant development especially since the largest groups i.e Catholics, Church of Scotland, Church of England in Scotland, Baptists and Methodists are not participating in this call for Gay Marriage.

          1. It is significant, in that they are entitled to the same religious rights as other groups, which includes the right to marry their adherents in their churches and temples, gay or straight, if their regulations allow it.

          2. You can’t have it both ways JohnK …

            Complaining that people who have faith do not speak out in support of LGBT issues (which you have done in the past on PN) and then when there is clear obvious support for LGBT rights saying it is not significant … B@llocks

            I welcome this as a step forward and recognise I do not share the philosophies of these people, but they are entitled to those beliefs. Equally, they seem to recognise I deserve rights as a gay man. I feel it would be churlish to throw it back in their faces.

          3. jamestoronto 28 Sep 2011, 3:24pm

            Any development forward is significant. Magnificent trees come from small seeds. If we’re sitting around always waiting for only huge changes, we’ll be waiting for a long, long time.

          4. jamestoronto 28 Sep 2011, 3:26pm

            @A N Spit Accidentally hit the dislike by mistake that one minus should be a plus. Sorry.

          5. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:12am

            It only takes one Faith to make a noise and make a difference. People listen, people change.

          6. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:15am

            Stu is right these speaking out should be welcomed because they do matter and they are very significant. The fact they get press coverage and are speaking out in support means people listen.

            Surely these groups fighting for the right for marriage Equality has to be a good, great thing.

        2. “Complaining that people who have faith do not speak out in support of LGBT issues (which you have done in the past on PN) and then when there is clear obvious support for LGBT rights saying it is not significant … B@llocks”

          I do not see any contradictions in my stance of this issue. I am simply stating that becasue these are not main stream Christian groups, they ultimately have limited political leverage.
          Curious how you are resorting to “Bad Language” on this issue.
          I prefer to debate the facts!

          1. The contradiction is that this is precisely the sort of action you have been stating that religious people will not and do not do. Then, when they do it in a clear, public, and honest way – what do you do? Welcome it, surely? Oh no, that won’t be the case because this statement is irrelevant. Yet its precisely the sort of statement you said should happen in a debate a few months back. That doesn’t seem to matter.

            As for bad language – if it offended you, I apologise … that was not the intention – the intention was to emphasize my frustration at the hypocracy in your stance.

            As for debating facts, please point out where I am not debating facts …

          2. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:18am

            I get your point and it is a valid one but this is a consultation which means all are being listened to and the fact we have a few smaller faith groups wanting to perform marriage Equally means the whole concept is on the map. Big or small they all have an equal say on this.

            This is a great thing.

        3. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:09am

          “This is a “tiny” liberal voice in sea of mainstream churches who are not calling for Gay Marriage.”

          But that’s all it takes for people to sit up and listen.

          1. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:13am

            Sorry Stu that was meant to go in response to JohnK.

    3. concernedresidentE3 29 Sep 2011, 8:50am

      Quakers officially drafted a marriage service for gay men and women 15 years ago but there was never actually a ban in Quaker gay people celebrtaing their relationships within Quaker meetings before than. I understand there is some historical evidence that the practice of celebrating same sex relationships within Quaker meetings actually goes a LONG way back even to the foundations of the society back in the 17th century.

  2. The Pagan Federation has been offering same-sex handfastings (Pagan weddings) for some years.

    The Unitarians have been doing same-sex blessings for years, too.

    1. Some vicars in the c of e have been doing same sex blessings at least since the 1970s, and in the catholic and eastern church there are record of same sex blessings or marriages going back to Roman times. I bet Cardinal Newman and his partner in the 19th century also had some sort of blessing, as they were buried together.

      1. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:21am

        Indeed as has most faiths including Jewish and Muslim. They all have to be heard and this consultation gives them all an equal voice no matter how big or small.

  3. magsmagenta 28 Sep 2011, 10:21am

    I think the Catholic Church have a nerve criticizing how gay couples bring up children given their track record on doing that.
    What with covering up child sexual abuse by Priests and running children’s homes where physical and mental abuse is the norm I certainly know who I’d rather be brought up by.
    I live on the Isle of Lewis and I had to laugh at the piece reported in the local paper by a Church Elder who blamed a minor tornado on the islands first gay wedding. He seemed not to have noticed the beautiful rainbows that were happening on the same day.
    Nice to see other faiths taking a more forward view.

    1. Another Hannah 28 Sep 2011, 10:45am

      I think people in Britain don’t appreciate just how much social control there is compared to other states – I went to a Catholic school and saw just how corrupt, mean, dishonest and Godless a church it was. I have since my mid twenties avoided any of the traditionalist organisations and gone for the more progressive liberal ones (and note Labour are pretty bigoted and actually right wing about social coontrol).

  4. Keith Farrell 28 Sep 2011, 10:41am

    Cardinal Keith O’Brien, I wonder what laws this person is transgressing with his statement here. I take this as an insult and biggotry makes me very cross

  5. I thought the Scotish consultation had asked whether they should follow the UK in not offerring religious SS marriages ?

    What’s happening with religious CPs in Scot and the rest of the UK, the results of that consultation for Eng and Wales was due to be published before 23rd Sept, yet there’s nothing!

    I’m also confused as to why religious orgs are one of the major interested parties involved in both the consultation process in Scot and the rest of the UK if religious marriages are not on offer!. If it’s only civil marriages that are on offer then why are we interested in what the catholics and anglicans say, why are these chuirches shaping the conusltation process in the Eng and Wales becuase apparently they are according the the GEO!.

    Thanks for the support from the Quakers etc but they aren’t being offerred what they want anyway..they need to be campaigning for religious marriage and not just supporting the consultation process..

    Sign the petition for SS marriage becuase I don’t trust anyone!

    1. No, the Scottish consultation explicitly included same-sex religious weddings. For a religious wedding to go ahead, both the faith group and the individual minister will need to agree.

      The UK government has suggested that under their proposals in 2012, churches will not be able to solemnise legally binding same-sex marriages. But the consultation has not been published and has not started. The UK government is probably hoping that since faith groups will not be affected by the UK proposals, any complaints from conservative faiths in next year’s UK consultation will be irrelevant for precisely the reasons you give.

      The government is in a mess about religious CPs, because Parliament has already mandated them, but to allow religious CPs while banning religious weddings would be daft.

      I expect the coalition plans to bury the religious CP consultation and will then abolish CPs in the marriage equality bill, removing their problem.

    2. concernedresidentE3 29 Sep 2011, 8:53am

      The Quakers have been campaigning actively for religious gay marriage ever since the consultation over civil partnerships showed us that the government were going to ban us from the longheld practice of celöebtrating gay weddings in Quaker meetings. in face Lord Ali’s bill that reignited the debate was actually drafted by the Quakers.

  6. Nice gesture but kind of pointless seeing as the 2 biggest cults in Scotland have not joined the call.

    Then again what a cult thinks about marriage equality should not be given that much credence.

    Civiil marriage equality is not any of these undemocratic cults’ business and I for 1 do not appreciate religious cults trying to interfere in our secular democracy like this.

    The Quakers Support marriage equality?

    Good for them. But let;s not pretend that this means any more than the Eduinburgh Stamp Collector’s Groups supporting marriage equality.

    1. Jock S. Trap 28 Sep 2011, 11:25am

      Actually I get your point but it’s not pointless because these supportive Faith group separate religion and it’s that that we need.

      All we tend to get from bigotted faiths is they are the one and only, others are not significant but with this kind of support those bigotted Faiths end up looking the less significant and least progressive.

      Remember more people threatened to quit the Scottish Church if they failed to include Gay/Lesbian clergy than threaten to leave if they did.

      Times are changing and in the end it will be the more progressive Faiths that move forward into the future while the bigger ones continue to drop to the wilderness.

      1. While I think that the cathoic cult and the cult of Scotland will die out, I think that these smaller more progressive cults will also die out.

        Religion is dying in the UK. It is only the crazies who seem involved in any meaningful way with religion these days.

        I think giving credence to religious beliefs merely prolongs their inevitable death.

        And I don’t support the continuation of religion as I cannot see a single good thing that it does for society.

        1. @David

          Its quite clear you dont support religion, and you are entitled to your view

          What is disingenuous is then saying that any comment by anyone of faith is irrelevant …

          I don’t tend to like the Tea Party in the US, but rarely there is a comment by one of their supporters or commentators that is honest and relevant, its a rarity but it does happen …

          1. A comment by someone of faith is certainly relevant.

            But when a cult speaks as an entity then its opinion is absolutely irrelevant.

            A church is an organsaition which has no business commenting on the legal and civll rights of other people.

            And like it or not religion is almost dead in the UK.

            And what these tiny,. liberal cults think or say is no more relevant than what the local trainspottersd association thinks.

          2. @David

            We can agree on one thing is this realm of discussion – a comment by someone who has faith (whether or not we agree with either their faith or their comment) is relevant.

            My personal take on how marriage should be organised in the UK is clear on record on PN. All marriages same sex, opposite sex or whatever should be civil. However, that leaves two issues. Firstly, some couples will seek some meaning in their marriages having some element of religious involvement. To deny this to them particularly as there is a tradition (the second issue) of a religious element to many marriages in the UK would be to deny them opportunities that heterosexual couples currently have and have had in the past. It also denies them an opportunity to express their faith – which is a fundamental freedom.

            Given that there is a tradition then religious groups should be able to express their opinion on how marriage is formulated. Equally gay couples who want a Jewish or Methodist wedding should

          3. @David

            I think you contention that religion is dead is more a sign of your hope and the desparation of your argument than the reality.

            Whilst I can see no logical merit in any of the faiths that I have read about or experienced, I am acutely aware that many people are heavily committed to their faith. There may be fewer people in most traditional churches than even 10 years ago but the number of new churches has grown significantly and the number in other faith groups has also risen.

            If you believe in logic and reason then you would accept the facts rather than but your faith in a hope of something that isnt happening or likely to happen fully – ie the death of religion. It has been going in on form or another for thousands of years and there is an acute need in some people to have a faith. Its not my need but others do. There will always be the argument that religion cant prove its “facts” whilst science cant prove they are not. There will always be those who believe

          4. In France or the Netherlands a church wedding has no legal validity.

            You MUST get the stamp from the townhall to be officially married.

            That is what we need to move towards in Britain.

            The cults need to be told quite clearly that when it comes to legal marriage, their opinions are neither wanted nor needed.

          5. @David

            I would not disagree with you that all marriage in the UK should be civil. If you have seen many of my prior comments of equal marriage on PN you will see this is the sort of process that I have spoken in favour of repeatedly.

            That said, I do recognise that some couples both LGBT and heterosexual value a religious element to their celebration. Whilst I may not share that enthusiasm or comprehend exactly what the meaning is for them – that is not relevant. What matters is how that couple wish to celebrate their marriage in a way that they can identify with. So, I would propose that there is the capacity to have either additional ceremonies in a religious context or “bolt on” additions that met the needs of those couples. The actual legal marriage should be entirely civil for every couple.

            Nonetheless, this does not mean that religious groups can not contribute to a debate on marriage. Indeed, having been in marriages for many years in both religious and legal arenas, …

          6. … they certainly have a right to express both their experiences and views – some of those views we may agree with, some disagree with, some we may learn from and some may totally irrelevant (in our viewpoint). That does not mean we can dismiss any of those views as irrelevant – they have a right to be heard, whether we like it or not.

    2. I understand the motivation of your comment, David – but it is wrong and cynical in the extreme.

      I is not pointless to stand up against other organisations that are similar to your own and whose attitude, policies and approach you disagree with. In fact, its imperative that such organisations do take a stand.

      For example, those politicians who sought action on N Ireland peace didnt say it was pointless to stand up for peace unless all the mainstream political parties fully agreed? No, they stated what they believed was right and sought to debate the points. Also, those politicians who believed press regulation needed review did not say, ah well Labour and the Tories arent on side yet – we can’t campaign for this – its pointless, no they sought to influence and demonstrate the need for review of regulation.

      Purely because the organisations of the Church of Scotland, Church of England, RC church etc do not support equal marriage does not mean that MCC, Unitarians, Liberal Jews, …

      1. … Quakers etc are pointless – actually, the oppositie – it demonstrates that there are people of faith who are supportive of equality and accepting of LGBT people and it acts as an encouragement to both those within other churches who hold similar views and the LGBT people who have faith.

        Its hard line secularists who ridicule any comment of anyone from faith – whether embracing of an idea, concept, attitude, belief, set of rights or whatever that they would embrace (were it not for the fact that the person uttering it hold a faith) that undermine the fight for LGBT equality.

        Yes, religion can be perceived to be “dying” in the UK depending on which religions you look at, how you interpret that etc etc.

        Will religion ever be eradicated – probably not …

        Will relgiion and other equality issues (not only orientation) always have some level of conflict – probably …

        Should we therefore seek to embrace where we can agree whilst maintaining strong integrity on equality – yes!

        1. By all means. I do welcome these tiny cults supporting equality.

          But at the same time I am firmly of the belief that their opinions should not be forced on anyone outside their own cult.

          If a catholic opposes marriage equality, then good for him. He is free not to marry a man.

          If he tries to pervert democracy by imposing his religious superstitions on others then he must be opposed,

          Lilkewise witht the liberal cults like the quakers.

      2. Politicians represent constituencies of people in parliament,. Their job is to represent people.

        Religious cults impose belief systems on people and have absolutely no business in trying to impose their beliefs on society.

        So fair enough these cults support marriage.

        Their opinions should be regarded as irrelevant as religious cults have no place in trying to impose their voluntary belief systems on a secular society,

        If a catholic opposes marriage equality he is free not to marry a man.

        When the catholic cult tries to prevent any man from marrying another man, then it is perverting democracy.

        I want the same standards applied to religious cults regardless of how ‘liberal’ they appear. They have no business trying to influence secular government.

      3. @David

        In forming an individuals belief, faith, acceptance etc in areas of philosophy – would it not be fair to consider a wide range of arguments? If so, these arguments (whether we agree or not) are not irrelevant

  7. Jock S. Trap 28 Sep 2011, 11:03am

    This is excellent.

    Well done to all those supportive faith groups for showing the decent side of religion whilst also showing up the worst in the Christiana and Catholics.

    1. Unfortuantely the Unitarians and Quakers are not seen as mainstream Christian groups. Also, the Metropolitan Community Church is a tiny gay orientated LGBT group.

      1. Doesnt make it any less valuable or relevant

        DOesnt mean it is not an added pressure on the more established churches

        Isnt this the stance that you and others have called for from people of faith who accept LGBT rights? Strange you then reject it as being insignificant …

        1. It is insignificant because these groups have limited power, unlike the mainstream Churches which have political leverage,

          1. So irrelevant that it has appeared in the following media today:
            Pink News, BBC News, Press Association wire, The Scotsman, Reuters, The Herald and many others

            Its not always the size of the organisation that speaks of the significance of their argument and the integrity of their position

            If you judge everything by size ….

          2. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:27am

            The fact they are fighting for this equality makes them very significant. Political leverage doesn’t make this consultation yet it just takes opinions of people, groups etc. So no matter if mainstream or not they all get the same amount of voice.

            We all know those that will oppose. Thankfully many won’t and many will support. I believe more will but this consultation isn’t just about Faith groups so these small faith groups are very important.

            The fact that smaller group want this means they can’t ignore marriage Equality. They, if you like, keep it very much on the map for religious groups.

          3. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:29am

            Totally agree Stu. Think people are thinking to small when they should be thinking big.

      2. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:23am

        That doesn’t matter though JohnK. Consultations aren’t about more voice the bigger the Faith group. It means all have an equal voice no matter how big or small. The fact that some faith group want to do this shows how important they are to the cause. The fact they are getting media coverage makes them significant.

  8. This is good news. And it very much strengthens our case as it demonstrates explicitly that trying to assert a religious objection to marriage equality has little foundation. We can safely point to this group and make it very clear that bigotry against us is not a universal religious constant. Not only are they supporting us, which I appreciate, they are giving us leverage against those with different interpretations of the same story.

  9. Mr Ripley's Asscrack 28 Sep 2011, 11:52am

    Religion is a sham based on a lie and a conceit and is an insult to human dignity and intelligence. Believe me, the Holy God of Israel’s sheep will never allow THIS to pass. Circumvent them and it by making CP stronger and equal to marriage. Why involve religion at all?

    1. What about those LGBT people who disagree with you and wish a religious aspect to their marriage, why should they not be permitted this?

      Your suggestion of not involving gay people in religious ceremonies suggests separating out gay people from religious communities and giving them a second class evaluation. Now, if that is the general view of the organisation eg RC church then that is one thing. We should be campaigning against it. However, it seems you suggest otherwise and we should be happy that churches do not permit marriage.

      Whilst I would not want a religious marriage, I will passionately fight for the rights of mother gay men and women to have a religious element to their wedding if that has meaning for them.

      1. oops other not mother

      2. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:31am

        Indeed. Everyone should have the equal right to decide to have a civil or religious marriage. I do think getting civil marriage in would be a massive stepping stone but if some want to do religious and some want it then so be it. You may not agree with it but it should be a personal choice for all.

        1. Absolutely, and I do think it might have to be a bit more of a stepping stone process to the actual goal. That may mean introduction of equal civil marriage and then piecemeal approach to equalisation of the religious aspect (whether that is a marriage in itself (not my preferred option) or whether an option or bolt on etc).

  10. The catholic leader says this is a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. To say to a fellow human being `You must spend your entire life alone – without love, affection and intimacy with another human being’ – which is the catholic church’s message to gay people – THAT is a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

    1. Yes but the catholic cult’s opinions should be ignored – except when they try to subvery democracy,

      At that point its appalling record of child abuse needs to be brought up.

      Those idiots have no authority to lecture anybody about anything.

      1. I agree. Even when it is not the subject at hand, I will keep mentioning the abuse scandal, the terrible harm done, the blackmailing of families, the conspiracy of silence and concealment within the RCC whenever the RCC is mentioned. I want to make it very clear – loud, long and often – who exactly is trying to assert “moral authority” and why it is such a sick joke.

      2. Absolutely, the RC churches approach to many issues not least LGBT issues, child protection, contraception etc is void of any integrity.

        That should highlight in more techniciolour the integrity of these organisations who are supportive of equal marriage.

    2. “THAT is a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.
      – I totally agree with you and think, that it is the essence!

  11. Righteous Scots…kick the RCC out, they’ve oppressed us all long enough.

    1. Eugene: I hope this isn’t a piece of protestant sectarianism. Remember the reverend Ian Paisley’s ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ campaign?

      1. It amazes me that some people view criticism of the catholic church – a truly evil organisation – as sectarianism: yes the Ulster protestants are just as bad as the Catholics, but the secular majority in the gay community will criticise all (and condemn the LGBT fellow travellers who still adhere to all these bigoted and backward faiths) without prejudice.

        1. @Harry

          Some criticism of the RC church is (sometimes thinly veiled) sectarianism …

          However, I agree with you that just because one can criticise the RC church (and theres lots of criticism that can be offered!) does not necessarily render the person critiquing to be a sectarian. Indeed, I would find it offensive if someone called me sectarian purely as I criticise the RC church.

      2. Dr Robin Guthrie 29 Sep 2011, 3:41pm

        I discriminate against no single religion.

        I think they are all cr@p.

  12. The nonsense in pushing for a religious element for CPs is going to exacerbate opposition to same-sex civil marriage. Currenly, religious denominations do not participate in straight civil marriages so why would the government want to support religious CPs? It makes absolutely NO sense and in my opinon, a waste of time.

    1. yes religious CP are utterly pointless apart from being a moral victory against the church but at the moment it’s what Lynne Featherstone thinks the LGBT community and quakers etc want…what a joke! …she replied to this issue a few weeks ago and said “It is an important step forward for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, and for religious freedom. We are considering the responses to the public consultation and working to bring the regulations into force by the end of this year”

      If the move is to give us civil marriage then WHY is the church being consultated before March 2012 and why are they involved in shaping the Eng and Wales consultation process…

      religious CP or religious marriages or civil marriage…what is actually being offerred to us…? what’s happenning in the next 6 months before March 2012? It’s great to have support from these people but they’re not getting what they want and LGBT are in the dark as to why they’re involved?

      1. Tim Hopkins 28 Sep 2011, 1:59pm

        John, you have perhaps not noticed that this was a Scottish event. The Scottish Govt’s consultation on same sex marriage has already started and includes both religious and civil same sex marriage. So what these groups want is exactly in the remit of the Govt consultation.

  13. Michaelangelo 28 Sep 2011, 1:37pm

    Unitarians, Liberal Jews, Quakers, the Metropolitan Community Church and the Pagan Federation would probably mean about 0.5% of fringe sects support “gay marriage”. Hardly “Scottish Faith Groups Call for Gay Marriage”!

    Then you single out the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland as the “nasty” ones opposed… But why not mention: Episcopalians, Methodists, Free Church Presbyterians, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, Shintos, etc, etc – i.e practically every faith group.?

    1. Tim Hopkins 28 Sep 2011, 2:11pm

      The Church of Scotland are not opposed; neither are the Scottish Episcopal Church – they are both neutral. The press conference today was chaired by the former leader of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Richard Holloway who has himself conducted a number of same sex weddings (non-legally binding at present of course).

      And there was a representative of a national Buddhist community at the press conference also, calling for the right to do same sex marriages. I don’t know the views of Hindu communities in Scotland for example but I’ll bet you don’t either!

      However, as others have pointed out, it’s about freedom and rights, not about numbers. But if you want a numbers game, the Humanist Society of Scotland conduct more marriages than the Catholics and a lot more than the Epsicopal Church, under the “religious marriage” legislation (ironically), and they want to do same sex marriages too.

      Clearly the Scottish Govt have got it right in proposing to allow religious same sex marriage, and the UK Govt have got it wrong.

    2. Methodists actually are quite embracing of LGBT rights and are still debating the issue of same sex marriage. I suspect when same sex civil marriage occurs, Methodists will seek to engage in religious recognition of same sex partnerships.

      1. The methodists have recently been very supportive of LGBT people, which makes it curious why they have not spoken out in Scotland!!!

        1. I do find it curious, not necessarily negative, that they did not join in this (perhaps there are political reasons eg they werent invited?) but Methodists have been stark in their attempts to integrate and accept LGBT people

          1. I think it would be a good idea to draft an e-mail to Methodist central office, and ask them why they are not supporting the Gay Marriage push in Scotland
            I will see what I can do later this evening!!!

          2. I may well do likewise after my dinner guests have gone, if I havent had too much red wine by then!

          3. The Methodists Churches “Pilgrimage of Faith” a sort of policy document on human sexuality is not very encouraging with regards Gay Marriage.
            The document focuses mainly on the churches policy with regards blessings for civil partnerships. Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of overall commitment to endorsing civil partnerships. Instead the document highlights a fudge in which respecting the rights of individual conscience, are allowed override respect for a request to conduct a LGBT civil partnership blessings.

          4. I shall have a look at the document tomorrow, too much wine today to concentrate on it

          5. @JohnK

            Its a while since that document came out and whilst I agree it appears to skirt around the issue of same sex marriage, it may be because CPs were new and there was a presumption at the time the report was authored that this was a long term solution to the concerns about same sex relationships being recognised.

            I would be interested to learn what newer reports have been formulated and what current thinking is within Methodism about the issue of marriage and I will be writing an email later today to seek some clarity.

            I do note that they have two very interesting approaches surrounding certain aspects of the issue of same sex couples. Firstly, (and I feel we must bear in mind that at the time this report was produced there was no government intention to bring in same sex marriage) that if a couple seek a blessing and/or are already within the fibre of the church then it should be presumed that a blessing is appropriate. I concur with this, but feel we are moving on …

          6. … beyond this as a society more generally, and its time that the Methodists (and others) caught up.

            Secondly, they comment on there being a benefit of sustaining for a period an understanding that there are strongly held views that oppose on issues of human sexuality. I can see some of the logic in what they say here, but at the bottom line it does appear to be a bit of a fudge on the issue.

            Overall, given where the UK was on the issue of equal marriage (at the time the report was authored) I think its a progressive approach and attitude compared to many religious organisations. I hope the approach of the church is continuing to maintain (at least relative) pace with how society is beginning to progress.

        2. Unfortunately the Methodist do not appear to have produced a more up to date document as far as I am aware, so one might conclude this is still where this church is at.

          1. @JohnK

            It is possible this remains where they are at, I will let you know if I hear anything different …

    3. Which Buddhist group in Scotland – and, for that matter, Hindu or Jain group – has expressed opposition to equal marriage?

  14. This article exhibits the racism of low expectations.

    The article singles out mainstream christian churches and their lack of support. But no mention is made of islam. Because you already know that gay marriage would be unconscionable to muslims, so you adjust your expectations of them downwards.

    Wake me up when muslims start protesting that gay people have human rights.

    1. How about the mayor of Tower Hamlets and his comments (as a committed Muslim) in East London Pride … I seem to recall him saying he would passionately fight for the rights of LGBT people

    2. concernedresidentE3 29 Sep 2011, 8:58am

      islam is not organised in such a way as to have central spiritual spokespeople. Generally senior moslems therefore do not see their role to dictate to non-moslems what they do. While the MCB does speak out on some issues that relate directly to how they are treated they generally stay silent on most other things. In this particular case, i welcome that. if only the Catholics took the same view.

  15. “one does wonder …”

    Stu: I don’t wonder, I am neither CofS or Catholic but it seems obvious to me that these groups don’t support gay marriage because it is inconsistent with what they believe and they believe being consistent with their beliefs is more important that keeping people happy and supporting what is wrong.

    Other Christian groups don’t see it that way – it is as simple as that.

    For the Catholics and CofS the issue is not LGBT equality but rather doing the right thing.

    1. Does the Plymouth Breathren support Gay Marriage?

      1. JohnK: I do not speak for all members of the Plymouth Brethren and as I told you before PB members do not agree on a number of things. But to answer your question, I suspect the answer, in the main, is no. Personally, and it won’t surprise you, I do not support gay marriage for theological reasons but I do understand that many gay folk believe we should have gay marriage and not to do so is discriminatory. I am not entirely unsympathtic to that argument and the need to protect gay couples despite my beliefs.

        1. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:38am

          The only reason religious bigots don’t agree with marriage Equality is because they can’t handle knowing Gay couples can be committed smashing the old bigotted stereotype that all Gay men are promiscious. It threatens to challenge you own assumptions that two men or two women cannot love just like everyone else. This is why religion hold humanity back from progressing into a better society.

          Thing is just like any marriage but your own, other people’s marriage and relationship has nothing to do with anyone else and certainly in no affects anyone else unless of course they are so insecure.

      2. JohnK: it just occured to me that I know two members of the Plymouth Brethren who I suspect would gay marriage.

        Both are outstanding scholars and I respect them as scholars and as men.

        Hope this helps! Don’t forget to read my paper on PBism – like many denominations there is great variety and divergence of thought,

    2. @JohnB

      I do wonder.

      I see nothing in the Bible that tells me that my being homosexual or having sexual relations with another man is wrong.

      I accept adultery, sex before marriage, impure thoughts etc etc are all sins – but no where does it lay out that homosexual sex is wrong.

      I am not a Christian but my understanding of Christianity is that Christians believe the only infallible thing is the word of God. Most Christians are intelligent people and understand the need for exegesis and hermaneutics to ensure contextualisation and perspective is given to a text.

      Church leaders are fallable as are church members and those of no faith.

      I would reject your contention that the CofS and RC church do not believe in equal marriage. Many members of those churches do, including some in articles on PN. The leadership may disagree, but they are fallible. They are interpreting something that is not present in their scriptural texts.

      So, rather than doing the “right thing” as you …

      1. … contend, I would argue the leaders of these churches are misleading their members with inaccurate dogmatic interpretations of the scriptures that are false and damaging. I would further contend that by doing so they damage the ability of their churches to do many right things because they demonstrate a lack of humanity and fail to care for the population they seek to reach out to by being dishonest and lacking integrity.

      2. @Stu

        Firstly, I want to say I like your response although we do not agree.

        One of the benefits of reading posts on PN, you may be pleased to know, is that I am now less convinced that the Bible condemns homosexual activity, although I still think on balance the few texts relating to this would lead me to that conclusion.

        However, I remain convinced that marriage, as God designed it, was only ever meant between a man and a woman (Gen 2v24 etc.) and among other things this is for the good of society.

        I can speak for the individual churches and I agree there is likely a range of views in each, including CofS and Catholic. I believe the role of the church is to lead, not follow. It should be teaching what God says and not responding to what the world thinks God should have said, and is why I support the stands made by the leadership of those churches.

        I realise you and others may be disappointed with this response but although I do not want gays discriminated against any more than you, I cannot support something that intuitively and biblically I feel is wrong.

        1. @JohnB

          One of the benefits of sites such as PN is that we are able to debate and understand the rationality (and sometimes lack of) in alternative viewpoints or debates.

          Whilst it would clearly be wrong to say that there are no biblical passages which some take to “condemn” (and I use the word carefully as whilst condemnation of LGBT may not be what is intended, it is what is received) homosexuality and gay people. I welcome your comment that you feel less convinced that the Bible condemns homosexual activity. I personally can see no condemnation when contextualization is considered. Levitical texts in particular seem to place a similar disparaging nature on eating shellfish (which many Christians do) and homosexuality.

          My issue with your interpretation of marriage “as God intended” is that marriage predates Christianity and the recognised use to ceremonial recognition of relationships by the church and other faiths. I have no argument that the Bible does not give an ….

        2. … example of a committed same sex couple in any form, whether or not a ceremony of any sort occurred. Or at least from my last examination of the bible I do not recall Joseph and Isaac or similar …. Therefore, I can see why some would argue that it does not lend itself to supporting LGBT relationships. However, it doesn’t spell out advice on space travel, IVF treatment etc etc

          I agree that there is a responsibility on leaders within a church to lead. I would expect those leaders to lead responsibly and with integrity. I would not expect church members to follow blindly but to consider the integrity of the message they receive and question whether their knowledge causes them to doubt the propriety of what they are hearing – perhaps what Paul referred to as discernment. Its all too clear that much of the anti LGBT rhetoric from many churches is incompatible with what the text that you believe is infallible actually says.

          If Christians are intelligent they will notice that

        3. @Stu

          You are right about contextualisation and your shellfish example is an interesting one, and one I’ve seen used in PN posts. While I believe there is a theological explanation, the fact is that the same book that condemns sex between males also condemns eating shellfish.

          As for PN encouraging debate, that is of course how it should be, although coming in as an outsider (I recognise most PN readers are gay) I am mindful that folk get upset when people like me question their strongly held views.

          I agree marriage predates Christianity and putting aside whether or not we take literally the Genesis creation account, it was part of the original creation mandate and supersedes anything the church might want to add to it. As far as the New Testament is concerned it only reiterates what Genesis says and adds the interesting analogy of Christ and the Church.

          I certainly do not wish to offend but equally I feel I needed to make the point that while some faith groups (often more liberal in outlook) will call for gay marriage, other faith groups (often Catholic and Evangelical) will want the opposite – where the split is percentage wise, who knows?

          If I were a betting man, I would say we will have gay marriage in the next 5 years. How that will effect society, I cant say. I do believe, based not just on scripture but observing society, that strong traditional marriages makes for strong societies. The bigger tragedy is the breakdown of traditional marriage.

          1. “The bigger tragedy is the breakdown of traditional marriage.”

            Many would agree with that, JohnB. So maybe it’d be interesting to muse that allowing same sex couples to marry will help STRENGTHEN marriage not weaken it? ;)

            And I know we disagree (but very politely :) ) but I still can’t see how you think the Bible only advocates one form of marriage when they are all kinds of variations – concubines, slaves, relatives, rape victims….. etc etc. I think the Bible changed with the time and circumstances, and I don’t think it’s consistent at all.

          2. Hi Iris
            Welcome back :-) Good to hear from you as always.

            Yes, the strengthening point is fair and I know you have made it before. I think what you are saying is that gay marriage should not be seen as a threat to traditional marriage.

            The Bible changing is more difficult and I admit I find the acceptance of polygamy in the OT difficult to explain away.

            Once again, food for thought. Thanks.

          3. @JohnB

            I agree the breakdown of any relationship (traditional or married or otherwise) is a tragedy. I furthermore think the sense of commitment associated with marriage (of whatever formation) means that sense of tragedy can be compounded.

            Scandinavian academic research has demonstrated clearly that when same sex marriage is legalised and endorsed by a state the impact is an encouragement and refreshing for the institution of marriage and leads to an increase of heterosexual marriages in addition to same sex marriages. The research also suggests that there is a slight decrease in the volume of divorces and thus no obvious negative implication for marriage by ensuring (what I would term) equality.

          4. Iris: I was thinking again through some of the more difficult passages, usually in the Old Testament, that refer to marriage.

            I certainly don’t profess to have all the answers although I have some. I don’t believe the Bible is inconsistent at all although there are texts, e.g. re. marrying rape victims, that are not easy to understand.

            A couple of pointers I find helpful are:
            1. these passages should be read in context with the society at the time (quite different from now).
            2. arranged marriage was the norm then and as I discovered it is still the norm in many places today.

            I’m quite happy to live with the difficult bits and see this as part of my Christian calling. One day, all will be made clear. Meanwhile, my faith remains in a God who is wise, good, just, holy, loving etc.

          5. Thank you for the reply, JohnB. Ah, now see – we agree :D

            Yes, the Bible was wholly of its time and so on some accounts it’s wrong to criticise it because things that seem obviously dreadful to us now were not considered so then – women as property, for example. But that’s why, even if I believed in a Christian God, I would never use the Bible as a guide to how to live my life. Or rather, only in the broadest sense (eg to love one’s neighbour). I wouldn’t look to it for guidance on how to frame laws or grant rights in the 21st Century.

            Your point about arranged marriage is good. Indeed, to me that follows on from the attitude to women then. (Incidently, I had read that the reason women were to marry their rapists was that they were considered property and thus damaged by rape, so to recompense the rapist was supposed to take them off the family’s hands. The offence was to the man who owned the woman, not to the poor victim herself).

        4. Sorry Stu, I miss the second part of your post.

          In something I wrote on the subject (I’ll try to make it available on the Internet), one the characteristics of the coming king (Jesus) is truth, meekness and righteousness and that is what should characterise Christians. I regret it when that does not happen.

          As you will see from my responses, I refrain some of the more rabid rhetoric some Christians use, because it is unnecessarily and as you say lacks integrity. The issues aren’t always as clear cut as we might want. I agree the Bible is silent on many things although regarding something as fundamental as marriage, I think it says what we need to know and that is where I would want to rest my case.

          Incidentally, why there is a notable absence of gay good guys in the Bible, the relationship between David and Jonathan is as close as you are going to get. While I don’t see evidence of gay sex, I do so something very beautiful in the love between these two men.

          1. @JohnB

            Its interesting to note your comments on David and Jonathan, and also your comments about the difficulty of justifying polygamy that is shown in the Bible.

            There are going to be some areas where whilst our emphasis will be undoubtedly different, we will agree on – for example I think we can probably agree that some Christians and some gay peoples rhetoric about either LGBT people or people of faith is a distraction that makes finding a sense of acceptance, reconciliation (perhaps) and respect for differences very difficult.

            Some areas we will completely disagree on …

            One thing I do appreciate from your debate is that whilst you may not share some of the views expressed within PN, you recognise that there is an sense of honesty to much of the argument and a great deal of philosophical and applied thought given to the issue (on both sides).

          2. Thanks Stu for your thoughtful comments – much appreciated.

            Yes, I would be interested to look at the findings of the Scandanavian research. If as you say it has not caused any untoward impact on traditional marriage and indeed may have even helped, then that is an important finding.

            One of the worries traditionalists have is that if we redefine marriage and allow it for gay couples then it will undermine that instituion. Putting aside the rights and wrongs of doing this, that in itself is an important point and to show there is no issue may well mean that opposition will diminish.

            I agree we need honest debate given the polarisation and mistrust that is often so evident. I think also we, both gays and Christians (some can be in both camps), have more in common than some might think. Not only do we share a common humanity but in my experience gay folk are often very sensitive about issues around social justice, which is my passion also.

          3. @JohnB

            I think I have posted a reference to the Scandinavian studies on PN before, but not sure where – so I will dig it out from my files as soon as I can find it and post it here.

            One of the reasons (not the only one) that I am passionate about there being mutual respect and encouragement between LGBT people and people of faith (wherever possible) is that (as you rightly point out) there are some people who are both gay and Christian (or of other faith). Equally, trying to be constructive contributors to society means trying to live in relative harmony. There is fault on both sides of the philosophical and theological divides. Those people who try to bridge the gap make mistakes too, we are merely human.

            I think honest and relatively measured debate is useful, whilst noting there are some “lines in the sand” on both sides of the argument. I am sure we can learn a lot from each other, one thing the church could possibly learn is that presumptions eg on the impact to marriage ..

          4. … of the introduction of equal civil marriage to same sex partners. As promised I will try and dig out the Scandinavian study as soon as I can.

          5. This isnt the particualr study I have quoted previously, which I will keep looking for but it does explore the argument surrounding heterosexual marriage benefitting from equal marriage.


          6. Thanks Stu

        5. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:41am

          Marriage is designed for love but religion hijacked it, even though it has been around longer than religion, for it’s own purposes.

          Not to allow is discriminatory and religion should stop dictating it’s false claim over it.

          1. Dr Robin Guthrie 29 Sep 2011, 12:27pm

            “One of the worries traditionalists have is that if we redefine marriage and allow it for gay couples then it will undermine that instituion”

            This shows that “traditionalists” clearly think of gays as lesser, inferior.

            And who says it is theirs to “allow”.

            Is it not your gods judgement. Not mans.

            Again christians are assuming the role of their own god.


          2. @Robin
            Exaclty, I could not have put that better myself.

          3. Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 9:29am

            Excellent comment Dr Robin…

  16. If the Scots are also pushing for religious same-sex marriages, then I fail to see how the rest of the UK would not be compelled to endorse it. Personally, I don’t much care for any religious component in a marriage ceremony or a civil partnerships, but if people want them, so be it. I just don’t get it though. Straight civil marriages don’t have any religious element, why should CPs? Isn’t that unequal to straights?

    1. Tim Hopkins 28 Sep 2011, 3:57pm

      England and Wales would not be compelled to allow the conducting there of religious same sex marriages, just because Scotland does. However, if England and Wales introduced civil-only same sex marriage, it would recognise all Scottish same sex marriages, whether they were conducted by a civil or religious ceremony.

      That’s no different from the current situtation. England and Wales do not at present allow Humanists to conduct mixed sex marriages. Scotland does, and all Scottish marriages, including ones conducted by Humanists, are recognised in England and Wales.

    2. Tim Hopkins 28 Sep 2011, 3:59pm

      Of course that also means that couples in England and Wales who want a religious marriage and whose religious body agrees to do them (and exists in Scotland) would be able to come to Scotland to get married by the religious body here, and they would be properly married under English law too. Good for the Scottish economy!

      1. We can all make a dash for Gretna Green, like teenagers in the “good old days”!

        1. Very romantic . . .
          Love the idea!!!

        2. Thats sweet. They still have a blacksmiths forge where you can either have nuptuals or a pre nuptuals drink …

  17. According to Peter Tatchell, neither Labour nor the Conservative have endorsed marriage equality as official policy. I find that disturbing, Labour most of all. I know Miliband supports it but he’s not brought it up for discussion at their party conferences, nor is it expected. Ditto the Tories. I wonder why?

    1. Jock S. Trap 29 Sep 2011, 8:42am

      But it does seem Cameron is committed to having Marriage Equality by 2015.

  18. The sad fact is that on a freedom of information document on the 8th of July the CEO could only admit to one meeting on same sex marriage and that was with the catholics

    “With respect to your request I can confirm that in the last twelve months the Government Equalities Office has held one meeting to specifically discuss same-sex marriage. This was a meeting between officials and a representative from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, at their request…”

    Where were all those meetings with the Quakers, Unitarians etc, either the CEO are economical with the truth or no meetings are happenning with none of these liberals faiths or any gay orgs…WHY not!

    1. Tim Hopkins 28 Sep 2011, 6:19pm

      I can tell you that lots of meetings are happening in Scotland between the Govt officials responsible for marriage law, and a wide range of groups with different views including lgbt groups and liberal religious groups.

  19. Islam is evil. 28 Sep 2011, 7:02pm

    No Muzzies on the list either, are we not allowed to mention that?

    1. The amendment for religious CPs was put forward by a Muslim member of the House of Lords.

  20. chrisfourpointtwo 28 Sep 2011, 8:26pm

    i love stories like this because people often use my sexuality to turn me against catholicism or islam (specifically, but thats how bigots work). id be a massive hypocrite to even entertain the idea.

    the assumption that religion has no place in a modern progressive society made up of modern progressive individuals is just as ignorant and intollerant of ultra conservative religious INDIVIDUALS.

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 29 Sep 2011, 11:40am

      Yes. Religion does have a place in a modern progressive society.

      Unfortunately it keeps stepping out of that place and interfering in said modern progressive society.

      Indeed, the very words, “Modern”, “Progressive” and “Religion” have been shown time and time again to NOT belong together.

      1. Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 9:30am

        It does have a place and it’s interesting which religions what to be part of a modern progressive society.

        However no surprises for those that don’t! They will be left behind though.

  21. John, that is quite revealing. There must be a way to contact the progressive denominations and ask them to demand a meeting for the consultation. The Catholic cult shouldn’t be the only one accommodated. What is StonewallUK doing about this I wonder? What disturbs me is that neither Labour or Tory parties have adopted same-sex marriage as offiicial policy and yet the catholic cult is allowed to have a meeting? Something stinks!

    1. Hmmmmm.

  22. The Pagan Federation? That sounds fun!

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