I think it is time the state withdrew the right of religious organisations to perform legally binding marriages.
Allow them to bless whichever types of relationships they choose to, but leave the legal part to state employed registrars.
All you will do is antagonise people.
However you may view religious organisations, they are still very powerful and hold a lot of sway with government. If you try to remove a legal power of the church, you will have a war on your hands that you will probably lose.
Better to allow them to do their own thing, but still offer secular marriages to everyone.
If the churches do not wish to hold gay weddings, that is entirely up to them.
The problem is that a few branches of religion want to prevent it for all religions.
They should not have that right to dictate to those religions that want to hold such ceremonies.
If for arguments sake, the Methodist church wanted to engage in providing CPs or marriages (when legal) to those who seek them – why should the Church of England or RC church be able to prevent this …?
I totally agree with this. If the various religious institutions (which are not necessarily exclusively Christian ones), wish to squabble amongst themselves, frankly, that is not our problem; There are too many people trying to muddy the waters by giving the impression that churches will be forced to accept same-sex marriages, and other LGBT extremists that want to eliminate them entirely from offering legally binding ceremonies.
The entire concept should be laid out very simply and clearly for all to see, that marriage is a legal right for two people, whatever their gender, and should the religious organisations wish to be part of that, they are more than welcome to join in, but it is purely optional.
I get the feeling there are a lot of people out there on both sides trying to obfuscate and deflect the primary principle of this whole matter, and it really needs to be stated up front and point-blank what this is about: There is no such thing as “gay marriage” – it is simply marriage between two people that is recognised in the eyes of the law. Anything else is simply a smokescreen or a compromise.
Right on David. Churches that wish to provide a place for a ceremony is their right as are those who beliefs prohibit it. Ramming issues down their throats will further drive a wedge between us.
From my conversations with CoE insiders this is something that some of them would welcome. The paperwork is endless by all accounts.
I don’t think that belief in the supernatural should automatically give one group rights & privileges that the rest of us are excluded from.
If we listened to the ‘morality’ of the religious, we’d still be whipping left handed children, burning heretics, exorcising demons from the mentally ill and keeping slaves.
By your logic, we could adopt Sharia and allow any man to divorce his wife without legal process, but not allow her any right to divorce him.
While we’re at it we might as well appoint a Bishop for transport and an Archdeacon of the exchequer?
” If you try to remove a legal power of the church, you will have a war on your hands that you will probably lose”
No we wont have a war on our hands not even in a figurative sense don’t be such an alarmist. They’ve managed in France with this system for centuries. Many religions may possibly prefer it and it has benefit to people other than lgbt
The French are predominantly protestant socialists, so generally don’t consider anything being taken away. The Church of England is the heart of a worldwide religious movement, and trying to muscle in on what has been primarily their domain for the last 500 years, they are not likely to give it up lightly. Rather than knock people down with a battering ram, I think it far better to approach the entire matter gently, and a compromise may be reached; if you force their hand, all you will do is make them fight even harder, and I genuinely think it will do a serious disservice to LGBT people as a whole for DEMANDING their rights, rather than trying to come to some compromise where everyone is happy.
“The French are predominantly protestant socialists” WRONG – it is a predominantly Catholic country with a conservative-led government.
“The Church of England is the heart of a worldwide religious movement” WRONG It is the Church of England, and although it belongs to the world-wide (but tiny) Anglican Communion, it is autonomous of the other national Anglican Churches.
Spot on Spanner1960. As long as couple receive the same legal rights as hetero couples what difference does it make where the knot is tied.
We can whistle that the Catholic Church will get on board and start holding gay partnerships in their buildings. Forcing them will start a war no one can win.
Spanner – surely you are not suggesting that just because a person or group of people are powerful they should not be challenged? Why should we allow them to bully and oppress us? The “church” or whatever we call the various superstitionmongers has no more right to bully us than a homophobic kid in the school playground – and their homophobia is just as based on ignorance and bigotry.
Actually, I am suggesting exactly that.
If you really want to go around poking sticks at wasp’s nests, then go ahead.
I just think there are better ways of achieving the same thing. Eventually, and inexorably, the church will die it’s own death, but it doesn’t require us to help it, it seems quite capable of imploding all on its own.
And again the religious bigots squeal like pigs.
They want to OPT OUT of the equality act.
Just what is wrong with people being EQUAL you religious cvnts.
You don’t get it do you. Why should one be forced to go against one’s religious beliefs. I’m gay and Catholic but since I came out, I haven’t stepped foot into a church because I’m against a number of their teachings. The issue of homosexuality is one of them and the choice for a woman to use birth control is another.
There are religious places that will hold ceremonies so if someone wants to tie the knot in a church, they can.
What a shame you are prepared to lose a pearl of great price and the salvation of your eternal soul.
Try being objective and seek out someone who really knows the Catholic faith and you will realise that there is nothing more logical or as determined to hold onto the truth – which is essential for real love.
There are lots of characters out there who will feed you lies in their determination for you to join them in the pit. Use your God-given reason and whatever graces of prayer you have left, and join them to pure reason and truth (even when you might have to accept some harsh realities).
You will be back in Christ’s heart before the end – and he can only be found in the one Church he founded, which keeps faith with him and his eternal teachings – the Catholic Church of your ancestors and friends.
It is interesting that John asks Miguel to use ‘reason’ to come to John’s idea of ‘Christ’s heart’, while using the threat of eternal damnation to make his case.
True objectivity requires us to ask John how he is so intimate with the mind of God, that he knows Migue’s ‘soul’ is at risk because of whom Miguel falls in love with. Until John can tell us how he knows this information to make such an extraordinarily arrogant claim, then he should be ignored.
I’ve heared once the catholics have got their teeth into you they never let go……it must be great to be a catholic and think you can absolve all your sins, regardless of how bad and nasty they are, simply by confessing to them…Funny kind of “cult” that it doesn’t matter how horrid you’ve been along the way you can still get into heaven as long as you confess to all and sundry just before you die…Nice one!
Like Miguel I’m gay and Catholic but I came out many years ago. Today I work as a philosophy teacher and a Catholic priest. I’m hoping that by working within the Catholic church I can help its ethical views on many issues to evolve and become more gay friendly. There are many other Catholics like me, but change in the Catholic church is slow, so you have to have great patience. One day I hope churches will accept civil partnerships and eventually gay marriages.
The so-called Christian Institute, CARE and the Evangelical Alliance are simply saying they wish to continue to “discriminate, harass and victimise”, and block “equality of opportunity” between people who share a prescribed characteristic, which includes a particular sexual orientation, and people who do not.
In fact their aims are in direct opposition to the Equality Act.
I want MY religion to exempt me from the sovereign law of the land – my religion will be as unprovable and unmeasurable as anything other. No one can prove that it is NOT my religion. I demand exemptions. No? Then why do we listen to what the bloody christians (or anyone else) wants when it comes to their equally unprovable and unmeasurable faith?
Ironically enough I agree with the lawyers for the bigots. Well, I agree with them that the “all-pervasive” public sector equality requirement will and should trump any attempt to exempt religious groups from having to offer their services equally to everyone.
Except I think that’s a bloody good thing and a very good reason to scrap the nasty exemption clause in the first place.
The florist can’t refuse to provide the flowers for a gay wedding. the limo hire company can’t refuse to provide the cars. The venue for the reception isn’t allowed to discriminate. The catering doesn’t get a free pass to break the law based on conscientious bigotry. The wedding photographer isn’t immune, however profoundly homophobic he might be.
If all these people are forced to respect equality provisions – and they are and that’s a very good thing – so should religious groups. “I think I’m special” is no reason for a legal exemption, Religion is not special. It does not deserve special privileges.
Also, and I never tire of pointing this out, would ANYONE try to make exactly the same case if the issue was mixed-race marriages? If racist churches and mosques wanted to be allowed to opt out of marrying mixed-race couples, would that even get to a preliminary hearing in parliament before being rejected unequivocally as an unacceptable, ridiculous thing to suggest? Yet churches have traditionally had just such racist attitudes, especially in America. But somehow homophobia is a more acceptable prejudice than racism. Pro-homophobia legal exemptions are allowed to get all the way to the house of lords and nobody bats an eyelid.
There is a serious cultural problem here. Admittedly it’s more a cultural blind spot than willful prejudice, but it’s still wrong. People need to have their consciousness raised to it.
Really good post VP.
There is a serious cultural problem here, it’s called homophobia and the evangelicals want to encourage anti-gay sentiment in the hopes of creating similar conditions for gays here as they have created in Uganda etc.
Christian Dominionists (that’s The Evangelical Alliance, the so-called Christian Institute and the so-called Christian Concern etc) see LGBT’s as a Satanic force, they are quite mad but they are also highly motivated to impose their views on the rest of us.
My partner and I are a mixed race couple! I think I’m going to ask a church to marry us and when they refuse I’ll go to the papers and say it’s because we’re mixed race… I’ll ignore the Gay thing entirely … Se what they’re defence is :p
”No, we don’t discriminate againt mixed race, just gays”
^ That would be a great headline…
Well done Nathan. That will be magic.
I love that Nathan … am sure there would be plenty of places to publicise that ….
Make sure you have a digital recorder in your pocket
I’m actually unsure about this.
I suspect you are probably right, but it has been pretty obvious for a long time that the government fears the church, and will try anything to appease it. One could also regard Muslims as “church” as well, and recent events demonstrate that no politician wants to confront any Muslim, let alone a radical one, for fear of the consequences.
I actually think if a mosque said “no whites”, this pussy government would probably take it on the chin and accept it. Pretty pathetic really.
Time to scrap the House of Lords.
How a crowd of unelected geriatrics were ever allowed to hold democracy to hostage in this manner is appalling.
Get rid of the House of Lords. They make a joke out of democracy. And don’t start any bull about how they keep an eye on the House of Commons. An elected upper house can fulfil the same function, but would actually have a democratic mandate.
As for religious CP’s- well luckily it is a largely irrelevant issue, affecting a tiny handful of LGBT people. The whole point of the religious CP debate is for PR purposes – to disguise the reality that civil marriage is denied to people in Britain because they are gay. And that even if a tiny number of minor cults allow religious CP’s to be performed in their buildings, that 100% of same sex couples will continue to be denied access to civil marriage, simply because they are gay.
Well said, dAVID!
dAVID: Oh give it a fckin’ rest.
Go ahead and scrap it and then see what happens when the commons runs roughshod over all legislation without any controls. That’s why that damn fool Labour government managed to bring in a law for every day they had in power due to their crony pals sitting in place of the people that really should have been there.
You are remarkably stupid Spanner.
If you had read my post you would see that I said that the House of Lords should be scrapped and replaced with a DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED Upper House.
I did not say to have no Upper House.
There is no justification on earth to allow unelected geriatrics to hold democracy to ransom like the appalling sack of useless that the current House of Lords is.
An exercise in utter futility. Why waste time on this nonsense. CPs are not marriages and civil marriages preclude any religious reference. Makes no sense. The government could have spent more of its time on civil marriage equality instead.
The Roman cult already bans divorced heterosexuals from having a religious marriage, so I don’t see why the non-catholic foes of equality are getting their nickers in a twist, dumb arses that they are. What a bunch of hypocrites.
If there is anything legally in the concerns of those that want to be sure they cannot treat gay people equally, then surely they can be addressed very easily in the wording, by making clear it’s an exemption to the equality duty.
But the way they refer to the equality Act as being “all pervasive”, suggests to me that this is actually a rather vicious attack on the Equality Act and the whole concept of a fair and equal society.
I suspect the problem is that the Parliamentary draftsmen, who are notoriously bad at their job (hence the bind that judges often find themselves in) have made a cock up yet again. Whilst it is doubtless true that religious bigots are trying to make the most of this, it does need to be addressed so that the legislation is water-tight.
Interestingly, whilst people are keen to jump on the ‘Blame the Church of England’ bandwagon, I do feel that I want to speak up for my Church here. The hierarchy have stood well back from this debate, because the C of E has superior law to rely on anyway: at its most basic, the Incumbent of a parish has the ancient Common Law right to marry a straight couple after publication of banns, which may not be interfered with without a specific statute abolishing it. No secular Registrar is involved in C of E weddings, so there is no need to licence premises for such.
The objections raised by the Welsh lawyer, therefore, would not apply to the C of E.
But as somoeone pointed out below is the equality law and in particular this tiny piece of legislation meant to work in the way that this QC states. Is it really so all encompassing.Everybody , including any judge , would know exactly how it was meant to work. The govt etc have been clear from the start and you can’t simply ignore their word. It’s meant to derail… simple as that and if the govt can’t deliver on this simple promise to the gay community then I have little faith in them delivering gay marriage..
Sounds as if they are trying to create an issue where none exists. Nobody is forcing or wants to force any church to perform same-sex unions if it is against their beliefs. What same-sex couple would want to have their union performed in a church that has hateful attitudes towards them? Sort of like a Jewish couple wanting to force a Catholic priest to perform their ceremony. It doesn’t happen so why think this would be any different?
This is all a smokescreen to make things look that much worse than they really are.
The bottom line is, straight couples have been performing secular marriages in registry offices for years, and the churches haven’t battered an eyelid about it, so then they make it same-sex marriages as well – so how does this affect the status quo? Absolutely ZILCH, and the churches know it, so they try to deflect the whole topic in any way they can in order to make them appear like some persecuted minority.
So exactly what right does the Christian Institute and its ilk have to prevent other more progressive religious denominations from holding same-sex ceremonies if they so chose?
No religious organisation is being forced to hold such ceremonies, only those that chose to do so.
Whatever the Unitarian, MCC, Liberal Jews, etc decide to do is none of the CI and other Christo-fascist organisations’ business.
Remember these fundamentalists do not simply believe that gay people should the right to marry, they believe that gay should not be entitled to any rights AT ALL.
“There is no doubt that some religious individuals consider homosexuality to be sinful. There is also no doubt, however, that other religious people do not. Once you acknowledge this one small point, that is all that is needed: the proportions of how many people feel each way is irrelevant. By codifying one position into law, you are codifying religious discrimination against all others that feel differently.”
“Religious liberty allows you to believe homosexuality is a sin. Religious liberty does not allow you to impose that belief on others by force of law. Religious liberty suggests that you should not be required to personally gay-marry people, in your own church; it does not suggest that you are allowed to declare a blanket ban on the practice among every religion and every church, nor as official government practice.”
Surely, if the equality laws are really that all-encompassing, then gay couples should already be able to sue the CoE for not allowing them to marry? Marry as in marriage, not CP. It is after all discrimination that they marry straight couples and not gay ones. I suppose they’d argue the state wouldn’t allow them anyway.
To me, it just seems like any excuse to derail progress…
Equality laws are *not* that all encompassing.
Women priests are still banned in the Catholic church, for example.
‘Evil ungodly bastards’ is one phrase that springs to mind…
(‘Stupid politically inspired idiots who didnt read the actual draft’ is another….)
So what this boils down to is not religious freedom, but religious privilege. Why are we so squeamish about challenging the “rights” of religious people to behave badly when the kind of bigotry and nastiness they say and do would be unacceptable in any other context?
But CPs are not marriages. They’re different, the local authorities have no power to issue certificates unless that particular faith group gives them the authority.
It’s like saying we won’t allow you to sell oranges if you don’t sell apples as well. If this is true then why do councils do gay CPs only and not straights ones. That’s discrimination and apparently the councils are obliged to eliminate this. This is all nonsense.
As an aside I don’t see how the govt , therefore, can only introduce civil gay marriages without offering the religious version of it as well. They too are under an obligation to remove inequality and discrimination and this ones hit you in the face.
I think PeterThatchel should be using this QC for his equal love campaign becuase by his logic the councils are obliged to remove discrimination and should therefore not be doing straight civil marriages without also doing gay ones. Funny it works when the relgious extremists want to use the argument against us but when we want to use the same argument it doesn’t work like that!!!
I now notice the Guardian has a poll on whether we should be allowed religious CPs…for heavens sake!!!!
Didn’t the Liberals promise to get rid of all the bishops etc (around 30 of them) and the aristocrats who inherited their places (still 92 left) from the House of Lords? Time to get this reform moving, that place must be a global joke!
It would certainly be a global joke if the lib dem/tory party can’t get a simple change like this sorted out…how long has it taken now, over 2 yrs and according to the Guardian this debate to annul the change comes 10 days after the change takes legal effect (how this can happen heaven knows!) …Doesn’t bode well for getting gay cvil marriage thru the lordy lords, after all the same type of arguments from this QC could be brought up then eg can’t just give gays civil marriage otherwise the churches/govt will be taken to courts for not offerring them religious ones as well..The only good thing about this is that if they get this thru properly I can’t see what arguements they wll have from preventing full marriage equality…
The house of the people for fairness and equality and humanity and human rights constitutional rights, not a living person nor entity, should every be allowed to promote hate crimes or discriminations ever, either treat people right courteous and fair and equal fairness, are get out of the public and be confined to home instead of the monsters getting out in public areanas and jobs and abusing people and mistreating their families and disrespecting good famiies, because the perpertrator is full of malice and hate , taught wrong and stays brainwashed in it, a cross or a long robe and book you call a bible thrown under your arm does not make you a christian nor a good person, neither does a peice of paper anyone including david karesh and charles mansion had, but where monster saying they where pastor, jeff warrens monster, these are just bad people who must be made to follow thru with human rights are be arrested for hate crimes an abuses, They ,must reprimand them for defamations to
I imagine religious organisations are more concerned about renegade vicars or priests who will host civil partnerships in church premises whether the heirachy likes it or not. There will be no law to stop them.
Mark Hill QC. “It presents a profound difficulty for a significant number of faith groups who regard same-sex relations as inimical to their sincere beliefs.”
It is tyrannical, outrageous, and shocking how some faith groups argue that anti-gay prejudice is central to the “very faith that impels” them.
Some faith! What happened to caring for the sick and feeding the poor, I guess they take a back seat to the central calling upon persons of faith to display clear anti-gay animus.
I agree that caring for the sick and feeding should be a priority for churches because it is the right thing to, and that is the whole point: Even if the law were to change, churches, or rather people of faith, must continue to do what is right or else they will have a greater judge to answer to.
I suppose many “religious” folk would prefer that gays should conform to their idea of the single, relentlessly sexually promiscuous, lonely and ultimately unhappy portrait they love to paint of us.
That we gays are fully dimensional people with the most diverse and rewarding lives, careers and loving intimate as well as other familial relationships just doesn’t fit the anti-gay dogma and propaganda they put out about us, it puts the lie to what they say, no wonder they don’t want to see us getting married and being happy and fulfilled.
Pavlos: Jesus says he came to give us abundant life, and that comes to great extent by following the will of God. As for living happy and fulfilled lives, there is nothing that would delight me more if you, other gay folk or whoever do this.
Canada has had marriage equality for almost seven years now and this has NEVER happened. NEVER. People within different communions, i.e. Anglicans, continue to advocate for marriage equality within their denominations, but that is entirely an internal matter for those faith communities. Canada’s marriage law protects any church from having to perform a marriage ceremony that is in contradiction of their religious beliefs. I am certain that UK religious organizations know this and are simply resisting because they oppose LGBT equality.
I agree with what you say up to the last statement. The reason why UK religious organisations (I am familiar with) oppose “gay marriage” is they don’t believe it is the right thing to do. LGBT equality does not come into it.
Both Care and Evangelical Alliance are groups that imo contain people of great integrity and if they are sounding alarms then that alone would give me cause for concern. I am not a lawyer and going through the different points and even thinking about doing the formalities implied or stated in this article, frankly leaves me cold and slightly bemused.
My view is a simple one: if churches wish to conduct or allow civil partnership ceremonies on their premesis then they should be allowed to do so and if they do not wish so to do, then that wish should be respected without any further ramification.
Do you have any particular individuals in mind when you speak of those people of great integrity?
I don’t know the organisations that well and have a terrible memory for names but over the years I have met or heard speak representatives from both organisations. Also I read what these people say and hear what others say about them. While not perfect and possibly (according to your particular point of view) blinkered in their beliefs, they demonstrate by word and action that what the say and do is governed by a desire to seek and find truth.
But when they have managed to convince themselves that they have the truth they go on to impose it upon others unfortunately, that’s when it all goes bad.
The problem I have with religious denominations that oppose marriage equality is that they simply refuse to understand that civil marriage has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion and there is no procreation mantra associated with it. If we were asking for religious marriages I could understand their resistance and opposition. A same-sex married couple’s civil marriage marriage isn’t going to affect religious hetero marriages one iota. There is no evidence to the contrary.
That said, I still don’t see why CPs should be given religious accommodation when hetero civil marriages aren’t. Precious time is being wasted and what the government should be concentrating on is same-sex civil marriage.
I agree, allowing secular civil partnerships to be held in some religious premises which have opted-in amounts to nothing much at all for most same sex couples, seems to me it’s just about a wider choice of allowed venues, not much wider as the major churches will continue to resist giving up their outrageous special privilege to discriminate against LGBT’s .
On the other hand, same sex civil marriage is of crucial importance to the human rights of all same sex couples as well as to actual and perceived equality.
A week before it is to become legal isn’t the right time to argue about it as well and this debate which is happenning 10days after it becomes legal? is definitely not the right time. We’ve had over 2 yrs to discuss this trivial change. Put it to rest and let’s move on. Do you really think if the govt can’t get this one poxy change thru the lords it has any chance of getting gay marriage thru the lords.
It’s also interesting that (supposed) Christians in other countries are now claiming that even decriminalising homosexuality will lead to religious rights being infringed. So the major denominations in those countries, including Catholics, are arguing against even the most basic human rights for gay people, on the grounds it infringes their own religious beliefs, or is on the slippery slope to it.
So it’s not really about marriage or religious rights at all. It’s about finding whatever off the wall argument they can come up with to persecute gay people in the name of religion.
See this article for example.
Oops, see this article for example:
Let’s be plain. All this talk of religious rights comes down to one thing: the desire of a certain group of christians to persecute gay people.
You are so right Eric, if these certain “Christians” are prevented from persecuting LGBT people then they whine-on that they are being persecuted themselves, claiming their religious liberty is being curtailed.
Clearly these religious tyrants have no conception of the word liberty at all but fully expect to be given the special privilege to impose their peculiar views on everyone else.
As someone looking in from a distance I am continually baffled by this debate. The exemptions have been written into the legislation and regulations. What exactly is the issue? It seems the Government is allowing the facts to become so cloudy that no one seems to be know what is being debated. This latest stance by the Lords escapes me. We too have a non-elected Upper House but I highly doubt it would pull a stunt like this. Flying in the face of the will of the elected Commons would be political suicide.
Is there any good reason why the British public are not trusted enough to democratically elect the Upper House of Parliament?
In pretty much every other democracy on earth, the electotate gets to vote for their representatives – in both Houses of Parliament.
In Britain we have an unelected Upper House which is allowed to hijack democracy like they are trying to do here. The House of Lords is not representative.
It is uindemocratic.
It needs to be scrapped and replaced with a democratically elected upper house.
Personally I hope this pathetic law to allow cults to perform religious CP’s loses. It is an utter waste of time, energy and effort seeing as LGBT will remain 2nd class citizens.
That does not mean that the House of Geriatric Lords should be allowed get away with pissing all over our so-called democracy.
Who would Jesus bully?
Religious exemptions legitimize bullying
I wouldn’t care if public money wasn’t involved.
~This is absurd and everyone who is in favour of marriage equality should abstain from marriage in support of those who can not.
This is a load of crap. It’s just religious fruitloops stirring up crap because they’re not getting what They want.
Time ot put them out to pasture.