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Head of Scottish Episcopal Church backs gay marriage consultation

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  1. While I appreciate their support and long may it stick a proverbial thumb in the eye of the RCC (proving that discrimination is not fundamental to christianity helps us) there is no denying the simple fact that marriage does not belong to religion and never did. Their approval or not should not play any part in the secular law-based decision to grant equality.

  2. I hugely welcome positive and encouraging comments on equal marriage by leaders of various religious groupings.

    Like it or not, as much as LGBT people are a part of society so are religious people.

    Like it or not, some LGBT people would wish a religious context to their marriage.

    These facts mean LGBT people and religious people (and those that fall into both camps) have important contirbutions to make in consultations on equal marriage.

    I prefer all marriage to be civil by a state registrar with the option for additional or follow on religious ceremonies for those who would value such an option in their celebration.

    If we are going to ensure that we are equal – that doesnt mean equal for some, it should mean equal for all who can consent. Therefore, LGBT people of faith should also have the option to marry in a context that has meaning for them. Although I personally do not feel any marriage same sex or heterosexual should be registered by a minister of religion.

    1. I agree LGBT people of faith should be allowed to marry. But if they choose a faith/denomination that hates them then perhaps they need to think twice. Simple truth is this – I am not Jewish, if I went to see a Rabbi and asked him to perform a wedding he would say no. I am not catholic, if I went to a Bishop and asked him to perform a wedding he would say no. I am not part of their dogma, I don’t believe in their faith and they have no obligation to accommodate me, gay OR straight. But nor do they have the power to deny me a marriage in a stately home with a celebrant. If LGBT people insist on being in faiths that disdain them then I am deeply tempted to say – if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

      1. @Valksy

        I agree with some of your comments.

        Marriage is important to people of faith and of people without faith, and that is one reason this positive and constructive response from the head of the Scottish Episcopal Church is valuable and appropriate.

        I am not Jewish and would not expect a Rabbi to agree to marry me (regardless of whether he was comfortable with same sex marriage or not). Nor would I expect a priest, bishop, vicar, hindu leader etc to agree to marry me as I am not Christian nor Hindu. However, I do have an opinion on participation in Christian, Jewish, Hindu marriages on a theoretical basis – whilst I do not share the belief system it does not mean I can not form an opinion – and given that I have an opinion then I am entitled to discuss it and I feel it only reasonable to expect others who have the same or differing views to also be able to express them (especially when there is a formal government consultation in process).

        1. Tim Hopkins 13 Oct 2011, 5:09pm

          I think that if you fell in love with a Jewish man and wanted to marry, a Liberal Jewish rabbi would be willing to marry you. Of course as yet it would not be legally recognised.

          1. I suspect you may well be right, Tim

    2. Religious people are indeed part of society.

      Churches on the other hand are undemocratic institutions that place ‘god’ above respect for civil law and civil rights.

      An individual priest speaking on his own behalf is entirely free to speak whaterver he likes.

      When he speaks on behalf of his undemocratic cult, that’s when I get frightened (and considering how many millions of people who have been slaughtered over the centuries in the name of religion we should all be viguilant in keeping cults out of politics)

      1. I see it as no different to a regional consultation that took place on certain arts groups that I participated in both as an individual and as a representative of a choir. The choir is not democratic, we make decisions as a management team of who is performing solo’s etc on merit not democratic vote, we decide material in terms of what will sell tickets and piush the choir rather than on vote. That does not mean that the regional arts consultation should not hear the views of me as an individual nor of the choir as an organisation.
        Individual priests, rabbis, or members of churches etc are entitled to participate in the consultation as are the churches, synagogues etc.
        It seems particularly churlish to be vehement against religious leaders participating in the consultation particularly linked to a story connected to a positive view from a religious leader on the subject of equal marriage.

  3. Why is this news,

    Civil marriage equality has absolutely NOTHING to do with religious groups.

    The episcopal cult supporting this consultation is no more newsworthy than the Edinburgh Stamp Collectors Group approving of the consultation.

    We need to make these cults realise that their interference in our laws and in our secular democracy is not required or not welcome (even if they are being supportive like in this case).

    1. Tim Hopkins 13 Oct 2011, 4:26pm

      We in Scotland are being offered by the Scottish Govt, and are campaigning for, the availability of both civil and religious (and humanist) marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. The intervention of the Episcopal Primus is very welcome and demonstrates the the Catholic bishops don’t speak for all the big churches.

      1. Why are you spending time on religious marriage? Most cults won’t allow same sex marriages even if it is allowed.

        Go for it if it means so much to you, by all means. I just don’t understand the logic of campaigning for the right to get married in a cult building, when most of these disgusting cults hate LGBT people, and always will.

        1. You answer your question yourself … it matters to some people, including some LGBT people …

          Whether you understand it or not is irrelevant …

          I don’t understand your obsession with the word cult … I dont understand your lack of open mindedness that many people who are religious (which has been evidenced in many stories including this one!) are pro gay …

          I also dont understand why people feel a benefit from a religious marriage …

          That said I see they feel there would be a benefit and I support their aims to have that equality …

        2. Tim Hopkins 14 Oct 2011, 10:26am

          The simple answer is that equality means fully equal laws. If mixed sex couples who are religious can have their religious leader conduct their legal marriage, same sex couples should be able to as well. To introduce same sex marriage but say that one of the legal rules of marriage (that religious groups that want to can conduct marriages) will not apply to same sex marriage would not be equality, it would be continued discrimination.

          And of course the Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Jews, Pagans and others want to do same sex marriages, as do the Humanists, who in Scotland do same serx marriages under the religious marriage rule (ironically). The Humanists are the third largest provider of marriages in Scotland, after the state and the Church of Scotland, and ahead of the Catholic Church and all other religious bodies.

      2. @ Tim Hopkins

        I don’t know if you can claim that the Scottish Government are offering us marriage equality as all they’ve done so far is launch a consultaion which is still ongoing and the Scot Gov keeps saying that no decision has been made and won’t be made until they hear all views. I do realise they also said that they are tended towards it, but it’s by no means a done deal. In saying that, I think it would be very difficult for the Scot Gov to turn around at the end of the consultation and say it’s not happening; but it’s still possible that could happen.

        1. @BennieM

          As cynical as I am about the SNP government, the climate in the UK would make it very difficult for them to refuse to move to some level of equality in marriage – I hope

          1. @Stu

            Yes, I agree with you. My point was that it’s not a done deal yet and the SNP government continue to say they haven’t yet made a decision and it is still possible for them to say at the end of the consultation that they are taking it no further, although like you, I think it would be very difficult for them to do so. But when the First Minister meets with a Catholic Bishop to discuss the issue, it does make me fear the worst – the KKK wouldn’t be invited to discuss race equality with the head of the government. To be honest, I still think it’s digusting that gay equality is up for discussion when race or gender equality would have been legislated for in the first instance without being consulted on.

          2. @BennieM

            I agree there is still room for slippage given that we dont yet have equality

            I can see the argument for not including religious groups in a consultation on marriage if it was solely a consultation on civil marriage, which in Scotland it is not.

            I can see the argument you are presenting on a consultation on race and gender equality is possibly reasonable, but a) we don’t have that sort of consultation at the moment and b) I suspect even the KKK would be allowed to contribute to a consultation as thats how democracy and accountability should work – although I suspect their opinion may be listened to but not adhered to. I hope it is the same with the outdated RC church in Scotland

          3. @Stu

            I understand completely what you say about everyone in a democracy having a say whether we agree with them or not. My point is that the Catholic Church in Scotland aren’t simply having their say – they are being given what I consider preferential treatment. How many other people are invited to have a personal meeting with the First Minister after they show their displeasure, for example? I feel that the Catholic Church IS listened to by politicians in Scotland. My main worry is that the SNP Government could back down on marriage equality under pressure from the Catholic Church.

            My other point is why is gay equality being consulted on in the first place? Something like this should not be up for debate, and the fact that it is shows that society in general still sees gay people as second class citizens. If it were black or jewish people who weren’t allowed a basic human right then there would be no consultation or discussion, it would just be put right.

            Finally, I’m also annoyed at the SNP Government for not coming out strongly in favour of marriage equality. While they say they are tended towards it, they saying no decision has been made until they read the consultation responses. Is it any wonder I have concerns? What if the responses are 2 to 1 against marriage equality? Will the Scot Gov just abandon the whole thing as the “public” don’t want it?

          4. @Stu

            Also, I’ve never actually said that religious groups should be excluded from a consultation – I simply think that there should be no consulation in the first place, the Scot Gov should just legislate for marriage equality.

            Since there is a consultation, however, I am dismayed that some people (i.e. the Catholic Church) are being given preferential treatment to air their views and my worry is that those views will be seen as being more important than the views of an individual.

          5. @BennieM

            I completely agree with you that *if* there is a consultation there should be no preferential treatment to any individual or group who wishes to engage in the consultation process, and whether realistically there is any preferential treatment to the RC church or not – there is the appearance of there being preferential treatment by the arranging of a meeting with Salmond. That is wrong.

            I do think there is room for a consultation on marriage. Not because there should be debate on whether there should be equal marriage – not at all, that is crystally clear a matter of fairness and equality and should not be open to debate. There is opportunity to debate the processes to introduce it and to consider whether and how any religious involvement should be considered. There will be those who wish religious involvement and their wishes should be considered. Personally I would remove all civil powers of registration from the church – but thats my opinion. I think Cameron was …

          6. … clever with the introduction of a consultation not of IF there should be equal marriage nor on WHEN but on HOW. That allows the debate to happen with a rider that there is going to be a positive change for the good. Its a shame the SNP govt are scared to demonstrate similar clarity.

          7. @Stu

            I think it’s fair to say that it isn’t just a case of the Catholic Church appearing to get preferential treatment from the Scot Gov – they ARE receiving preferential treatment. Whether the Scot Gov will actually listen to what the Catholic Church say or not is another point. The fact that they arranged a meeting within days of the Bishop writing a letter, even if it was just to humour him, is clearly preferential treatment. I often don’t even get a reply if I contact any of my MSPs (which I don’t do at the least wee thing, I tend to pick my issues), never mind a meeting with the First Minister! I do think, however, that the SNP Gov WILL listen to what the Catholic Church says, and this is what worries me.

            You see, tradtionally in Scotland, politicians tend to be a bit scared of the Catholic Church when they start throwing their weight around and threatening to withold the “Catholic vote” which is what’s happening at the moment.

            I also now understand what you mean about the consultation being a chance to debate the extent of religious involvment in same sex marriage – I agree completely with this and I think there should be religious same sex marriage. The thing that gets to me is that the consultation is not confined to just the religious aspect, it’s asking if we should have same sex marriage at all. As I said in an earlier comment, if the consultation comes back with more people against same sex marriage than for it, what happens then?

            My main worry is that it’s not a done deal, and marriage equality still may not happen, although I think we both agree it would be difficult for the Scot Gov to say so. It’s not impossible, though.

          8. @BennieM

            I do get what you are saying.

            I didnt say it wasnt more than appearance of special rights to the RC church – I said that there was an appearance of preferential treatment whether or not that was actually the case. In the consultation exercise it is imperative that no one is given preferential treatment AND that it appears that no one is given preferential treatment.

            I do think sometimes when we get distracted from our message seeking equal marriage by other issues such as inappropriate behaviour of others involved in consultations. Our message of equal marriage is totally convincing and the Great British public in England AND in Scotland are behind us. Gone are the days when the RC church will dictate to more than a few die hard Catholics as to how they should perceive social and moral issues. Even “good” Catholics are prepared to speak out in favour of issues where ethics, humanity etc count. Most UK Catholics I suspect are more liberal than their leaders!

          9. @Stu

            Yes, I see what you mean. But even if the public are behind marrige equality, it’s not the public who will make the final decision, it’ll be Scot Gov. As I keep repeating, my worry is that THEY could be influenced by the Catholic Church.

            I also agree about most Catholics being more liberal than the clergy but as long as they continue to attend mass and not challenge the priests, Bishops etc. directly about issues such as this then the Catholic Church will continue to hold these views. If all of these liberal Catholics stood up at once and insisted the Church listen to them then perhaps something would happen. As someone who was baptised as a Catholic on the day I was born and who practiced and believed in Catholicism for the first 20-odd years of my life, I know thatthe majority of these liberal Catholics won’t directly challenge their local priest no matter what they think – they will carry on attending mass like sheep even if they privately are pro-gay equality. Maybe some, like me, will stop going altogether but the majority will just carry on and nothing wil change anytime soon.

            By the way, I no longer practice or believe, and I haven’t done so for around ten years now.

          10. @BennieM

            I do get where you are coming from and I think we have to be aware of potential issues …

            I do think sometimes we have to trust consultations to work and then if they don’t take direct and clear action …

            If Salmonds recent video is anything to go by, then SNP are seeing the electoral value of LGBT people …

          11. @Stu

            I tend to think Salmond’s video is about getting the “gay vote” and no more. I realise I’m very cynical about the SNP, but you have to understand I used to be an SNP supporter and voter until they took Souter’s money in 2007. I honestly felt betrayed, as a gay man, by the SNP. It was then I started to look into it further and I was shocked to discover the sheer amount of homophobia within the SNP – most of which you probably already know about.

            What did Salmond do after filming this video – go back to his cabinet meeting and quite happily work with Roseanna Cunningham and Fergus Ewing? Two well-known homophobes who he gave ministerial jobs in the first place. If he really was gay-friendly, then he wouldn’t put up with them in the cabinet or the party, surely?

  4. The Episticole church in scotland and on national level is doing the right thing for standing against hatred and bigotry, and the violence and the abuse and mistreatment and unfairness it causes, the harms has let to chidrens suicides and murders from children and adult tauhgt hatred thru evil ministries of satan calling themselves christians, you cannot walk in hatred instead of love and charity and be anything good let alone a christian, like ted haggard and jimmy swaggart , an half the republican bible carriers like phillip hinkle, hipocrites, an abusers of others, you dont allow hate groups an clicks in the church to ruin the reputations of good people an otherwise good churches, you get rid of the hate mongers an the abuse an stigma they have been causing are the whole organinzatins should be arrested for assaults, and hate crimes , an let the rest of the real loving an kind few churches role on, in charity an goodwill works. but you get the terrorist out like south carlinos hate

    1. Professor Stanley Unwin 14 Oct 2011, 12:14am

      Some phrases from Unwinese
      Deep joy: Pleasing.
      Goodlilode: Good or excellent.
      Nockers (as in I did nockers): Not.
      Terribold: Terrible.
      Remarkibold: Remarkable.
      Horribold: Horrible.
      Falollop: Fall.
      Once a polly tito: Once upon a time.
      Thriftymost on your banky balancer: Very good value.

  5. David Nottingham 14 Oct 2011, 9:42am

    At last – a balanced approach from the Scottish churches. We finally have a church leader in Scotland who recognises that the state own the institution of marriage, not his or anyone else’s church. The Kirk and the catholics should take a leaf out of the Episcopalian’s book and butt out….

    1. Tim Hopkins 14 Oct 2011, 10:29am

      The Kirk have remained neutral on the issue of same sex marriage and are likely to continue to do so. Their secretary wrote to the Scotsman to correct an article that claimed the Kirk has hit out against the proposals, to say “no we haven’t”.

  6. How verifariously niceibold of the Episticole churchy.

    1. Spanner1960 16 Oct 2011, 6:00pm

      And I thought Stanley Unwin was long gone…

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