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Church of England lawyers dismiss fears over new civil partnership rules

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  1. Very good news for religious civil partnerships. Extremely bad news for religious marriage equality.

    Equality Act needs to be amended before religious organisations can even think about marrying same-sex couples

    1. I agree, religious civil partnerships are neither here nor there… literally.

    2. Don’t worry, Jae. It’s one more step on the road. With each step, general acceptance, indeed support, becomes more widespread, and the next step becomes inevitable.

      And it’s not the Equality Act that needs ot be amended: the whole point is that, since it is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry ANYWHERE, for the moment the Act does not apply here.

      Don’t underestimate the canniness of the Church of Englands lawyers. A lote of them are gay, and they know exactly what they’re doing, bit by bit.

  2. Brass Tacks 2 Dec 2011, 6:06pm

    If the C of E are happy with it, it must be kosher. Underlines again that the whole thing is a ploy by antigay religious extremists.

    1. I’m not sure I’d describe it as ‘kosher’ though; the C of E claim to know who the Messiah is ;-)

      1. Spanner1960 3 Dec 2011, 10:55am

        He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.

  3. If the CofE lawyers are happy with it then the diatribes by certain MPs, RC clergy and extreme evangelicals is a smokescreen, irrelevant and pure prejudice and discrimination seeking to perpetuate homophobia

    1. Stu:
      I must admit, I am hearing conflicting messages here. The Equality Act touches a lot on my work in the community and overall is a good thing as it places a public duty on organisations not to discriminate and to be proactive in ensuring equality.

      I don’t believe most churches who would not want to perform civil partnership ceremonies or get involved or be party to are necessarily homophobic or intent on discriminating.

      My view is if churches would like to be involved in civil partnership ceremonies they should be allowed to do so and if not then they should be free not to do so. I think that is the clarity I would seek.

      I think when same sex marriage happens there be further issues to consider. My view is Christians first duty is to obey God’s law and then the law of the land in which they live. So far that has not conflicted.

      1. @JohnB

        I agree the Equality Act is very important and protects many across varied strands of protected characteristics by seeking to ensure fairness and equality.

        Whilst I accept some religious groups do not wish (for ideological or theological reasons) to engage in civil partnerships and oppose same sex marriage. Where I think it is clear and undeniable that there is homophobia is where those denominations and churches who do not wish to participate in CPs seek to prevent others from doing so.

        I feel the stance taken by some RC and evangelical individuals, churches and organisations regarding CP regulations is wrong, immoral and patronising.

        I note your view is that if churches wish to endorse CPs then they should be able to do so. I appreciate that position but regret that others have sought to try to prevent this in a manner which I can not see as anything other than homophobic.

        When same sex marriage happens, I have no doubt there will be some Christians who will take …

        1. … direct action against same sex marriages either in civil ceremonies or any religious equivalent that is held. That would be wrong, illegal, immoral and demonstrate the lack of commitment of the church to serve all people. It would be key in demonstrating that some Christians wish to segregate homosexuals. That would be unfortunate as I recognise that not all Christians are homophobes. Unfortunately, the rhetoric and approach of the Christian Insititute towards gay people and LGBT equality is similar to that of the Iranian government in trying to provoke the British government into conflcit.

          1. Stu: I don’t agree with your comparison of Christian Insitute and the Iranian government (reminds me of the offence the gaystapo comparison gave earlier). While I do not speak from the Christian Institute and regret after passing on some of the concerns you raised they did not respond to me, my take is they offer an orthordox perspective and are simply engaging in the democratic process and pointing out things they see as being in the best interest of the country.

            I agree same sex marriage does look likely and hope when it happens Christian will respond in a charitable way, while maintaing the integrity of their beliefs.

          2. @JohnB

            All I meant to say when using a comparison of the Iranian government to the Christian Institute was that one of the methods of working was to act provocatively to seek a reaction hoping to use such underhand tactics to create discord. I certainly don’t see that I used any of the repeated and flagrantly offensive language that Alan Craigs made. If I offended anyone, then I am prepared to listen to where the offence was an moderate what I said, if appropriate. There is a difference between a simple comparison and repeated vile rhetoric of the type Alan Craigs made (in my opinion).

            It is disappointing that the Christian Institute were unwilling to either seek to explain/defend their stance or offer some explanation (perhaps including apology) when you contacted them. I would regard this failure as an extra element of concern for those of us who feel they behave without integrity.

            I hope many Christians will either accept same sex marriage (when it happens) ….

          3. … Of course, there are some who already endorse and support same sex marriage. I suspect some will be unhappy but hope they will be honourable and respectful in their approach. I do suspect some will not. The signs of agitation are already there – although they are a minority. It could be interesting which elements of rentamob ally themselves with the most vocal and militant of certain Christian organisations and individuals and will legitimise direct action, An allegiance of ultra right wing, certain RC and fundamentalist Christian elements could be damaging to society – to say the least. I hope me impression is wrong. I fear it will not be.

          4. I didn’t feel you were trying to be offensive Stu. It is right that you make your points in a robust way but as we both know, even with every good intention, we can easily be misconstrued.

            I regret the Christian Institute are not willing (it seems) to engage when they are challenged. It may be that you and I have misread the situation and they know something we don’t but, for what it is worth, my simple maxim is that when one engages in the public square one needs to be prepared to be challenge and respond accordingly, even when it is a rotweiller like my friend Will.

            We have already had lengthy exchanges on gay marriage so I won’t go over old ground here. A while back, I signed up the Manhatten declaration and later the Westminister declaration, which has a bearing on this subject. You are right to discern some sort of alliance between RCs and evangelicals. I am reminded of the unholy alliances spoke about by my tutor in C19 church history. Evangelicals and RCs ganging up against liberals (Mo, We, Fr) and Evangelical and liberals versus RCs (Tu, Th, Sa) (presumably Sunday was a day of rest). I hope and pary for a peaceful and right outcome even when there are strongly differeing views.

          5. John B wrote:
            ” I signed up the Manhatten declaration and later the Westminister ”

            You are not welcome on this comments board in that case.

          6. “When one engages in public square one needs to be prepared to be challenge and respond accordingly, even when it is a rotweiller like my friend Will”

            @JohnB . . . it was curious how in the Evolution debate sometime ago on PN Will, AdrianT and myself exposed how you barely have a grasp of scientific knowledge to GCSE level.

          7. “I regret the Christian Institute are not willing (it seems) to engage when they are challenged. It may be that you and I have misread the situation and they know something we don’t”

            The Christian Institute is an extremist organisation, and even in the face of this evidence, I understand you still want to gloss over this. Why is that?

          8. “my simple maxim is that when one engages in the public square one needs to be prepared to be challenge and respond accordingly, even when it is a rotweiller like my friend Will.”

            And when you learn enough about evolution to actually make that challenge and not look like a petty fool, as you do now, I will be sure to engage you in like fashion.

          9. @JohnK

            I do pause before making this comparison (slightly tongue in cheek) …

            Given the City of London Police’s recent linking of the Occupy LSE movement as a “potential terrorist” organisation … one wonders if the City of London Police would perceive the Christian Institute at a similar level ….

  4. What a complete fuss. Gay marriage in this country is an utter inevitability, short of a major right wing shift in the status quo. The wording of EA 2010 will eventually HAVE to be brought up because once gay marriage is legal it is going to cause an unavoidable clash. You cannot just keep making laws that say one thing and keep putting in a subsection which says “but this does not apply to any religious bodies.” Ludicrous. It’s face up to it now, or face up to it later. As I’m not engaged, or plan to be any time soon, I’m happy to roll with the punches :)

  5. Wow, this is brilliant. It’s going to take the wind out of the sails of the religious nellies bleating on about being forced to oversee CPs in their churches. It’s also another silver lining for the civil marriage equality consultation in March next year. I’d never have thought the C of E would have made such a sensible statement, well done. It won’t be able to put up much resistance since the same requirements will be that no religious denomination would be required to officiate a same-sex civil marriage. The Roman cult will be having a conniption hearing this.

    Chris, absolutely right. It is inevitable. I think once the consultation begins, the Labour Party may well endorse it as official policy before the Tory Party does.

  6. The Equality Act needs to be scrapped.
    The Equality Minister herself said that religious establishments will not face legal action, this can be read in her statement, if they refuse or do not want to allow homosexuals in the place, and rightly so.

    Homosexuals have civil partnerships, these suffice, you have an alternative to marriage, and you should be grateful for what you have, if I had my way you would have NOTHING.

    Homosexuals are getting way to big for their boots and need to be taken down a peg or two.

    Now stop whinging and be grateful for what you have.

    1. You don’t get it, do you?

      We don’t believe we are inferior to you.

      I know that must be hard to get your head round.

      1. de Villiers 2 Dec 2011, 9:50pm

        Agree entirely.

    2. Irony, right?

      Or mental illness.

    3. Oh you’re hilarious Neal being an internet troll must be so much fun. Sitting there behind your computer screen giggling at the responses you receive to your outrageous and hilarious comments.

      Haven’t you got anything better to do with your life? You know like masturbation and farting.

    4. “Now stop whinging and be grateful for what you have.”

      No thanks, I’ll keep pushing for equality.

      And there’s nothing you can do to stop us.

    5. Poor Neal, so ex-gay therapy didn’t work? If you’re straight, why are you trolling gay sites? Prurient interest, just can’t stay away from the men?

    6. Dont Feed the Troll

      1. Ever think of going back and asking for your money back for the4 ex-gay lot, it clearly didn’t work. (And AA while your’re at it)

  7. Neal, dear…I think it’s time for you to get some therapy. Fast, before your thinly veiled hatred destroys you.

    1. jamestoronto 3 Dec 2011, 12:02am

      Keith has disappeared — no loss — and now we have Neal to haul out the trash.

      1. Keith hasn’t disappeared, he just calls himself Kev or Stuart Browning sometimes. Wouldn’t surprise me if Neal turns out to be one of his too. DNFTT or his sockpuppet minions.

        1. The rule is report comments and -1 but no discussion feed rats and they come back

          1. de Villiers 3 Dec 2011, 9:32pm

            I agree – the best response is no response.

        2. He has disappeared again (or at least some of his posts have) yey!

      2. Spanner1960 3 Dec 2011, 10:58am

        Or maybe just that “care in the community” is obviously not working and you people really need sectioning.

        1. Keith, I’m getting worried that your mental health issues are not being kept in check and that you might do something harmful to someone you hate. Please go and see a doctor and get your medication sorted out before you end up in prison for a hate crime. I can see how much you are suffering in your comments. You are obviously very unhappy, and you have convinced yourself that homosexuality is wrong because someone said it was in a book that is thousands of years old. But, there is no such thing as a ‘homosexuality disorder’, we do not suffer because of our sexuality, there is no cure, because there is nothing wrong with us. Whereas your suffering and unhappiness is probably a psychological condition that could be helped with treatment.

        2. Hey Kyle

          Do not spend time in the cesspit with that. -1 and report is enough

      3. Dont Feed the Troll – just report and ignore …

  8. LGF are running a campaign I see urging us to download a template letter and send to eveyyone in the house of lords – I’ve done it and got good responses. Must admit I didn’t dare send to the Tory peers, sorry but looking at their photos they all appear to come from old Tory stock, maybe wrong but my gut feeling is not to trust them.

    http://www.lgf.org.uk/news-articles/conservative-peers-attempt-to-derail-legislation/

    I wouldn’t have thought that the equality act should have allowed the govt to only offer civil marriages to gays and not religious ones as well. If we ever get gay marriage then surely you wouldn’t just be able to offer one version of them. It’s like saying you can have ice cream but only vanilla ice cream. The other falvours are only for straight couples.

    1. Nice that the provincial charities are making an effort, but it really needs the London organisations to be more effective nothing was ever achieved in the north.

      1. Provincial, nothing achieved in the north …

        Patronising ignorant comments …

        A few successful northerners … Sir Ian McKellen, James Agate, James Kirkup, George Merrill, Neil Tennant, Marc Almond and many more – and all gay …

        1. Spanner1960 3 Dec 2011, 3:17pm

          David Hockney, Alan Bennet, Paul O’Grady…

          1. Well said, Spanner1960!

        2. don’t forget all the northern (I mean scottish) inventors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Scottish_inventors

          yup nothign is achieved up north

          1. or in the north of England – George Stephenson, Thomas Edison, William George Armstrong etc

      2. “it really needs the London organisations to be more effective”

        No heather it needs you to make an effort. Print out a few copies of the template and send them off. Or do you need the London organisations to tell you to do it first? Better yet maybe they can do it for you.

        “nothing was ever achieved in the north.”

        Are you one of the people who had a whinge when the BBC decided to move offices to Salford?

      3. I actually live in Australia, I just use the internet, found the link, cut and pasted the letter and set it out to all the email addresses in the member list link in the house of lords. Do you really need to be in London anymore? If Stonewall rather than LGF had done the same on the internet then I guess I would have used Stonewall’s internet link, but they didn’t. Stonewall did send out an email a few days ago and said they would be fighting for this change. Personally I like the call to arms to the general public approach that LGF use…

  9. The best weddings are the ones held in the open, like beaches and nice natural settings. But if you want to get married in a Church there are many gay churches now that will do this.

  10. whymewhyme 3 Dec 2011, 9:10am

    i think that a secular government should implement civil marriage immediately – the imposition on the church to allow partnerships is a red herring to distract teh argument away from gay marriage and to allow an excuse of … church didn’t allow partnership so how can the state allow marriage. get back on track – civil marriage NOW !

    1. Spanner1960 3 Dec 2011, 11:04am

      Precisely. The business of forcing churches to perform same-sex marriages or CP’s is simply a deflection from the real nub of the matter. The ability of registry offices to simply extend their jurisdiction to same sex marriages should be virtually a rubber-stamping issue.

      CP’s are NOT marriage, never were and never will be. They need to be wiped off the statute books completely and eradicated as the flaky compromise they were brought in as. Anybody already in a CP should be automatically upgraded to “married. Simple, job done, no fuss, no bother. What is the problem with these people?

  11. John B wrote:
    ” A while back, I signed up the Manhatten declaration and later the Westminister declaration, which has a bearing on this subject. ”

    You are not welcome on this comments board in that case as far as I’m concerned.
    I will not bother to read nor respond to your posts in future.

  12. Wow this story just got a whole 9 seconds on BBC news. Nice to feel represented

  13. Women can still buy gentlemen’s outfits, adults can still buy children’s books, but same-sex couples still cannot marry.

    1. Damn that was what I was going to say lol

  14. Dr Robin Guthrie 3 Dec 2011, 9:39pm

    I’m happy with it.

    These old fools can worship whichever deity they like, and feel sanctified in their “belief”.

    I neither want nor need their opinion.

    However these filthy b@stards wish to impose their particular religious brand on ALL churches and have that enshrined in law.

    Sorry but no.no and thrice no.

    Have your opt out bigots.

    Just stop imposing it on other religions.

    Viscous hate ridden cvnts.

    1. Yes, sticky, thick and vicious with it.

    2. Sadly it sounds like they’ve turned you into one too.

  15. Any that don’t wish to perform state sanctioned ceremonies should not receive state sanctioned tax breaks. Simple.

    1. steven reid 5 Dec 2011, 6:36pm

      Well said. Agree

  16. Dr Robin Guthrie 3 Dec 2011, 10:35pm

    Why would a religion need a Lawyer if it were not afraid of its purpose and legality?

    1. Your comment reminds me of a punch cartoon, where an Anglican Priest expresses joy at the return of a labourer to his congregation. He inquires as to where he has been worshipping and the labourer gives a small list of non conformist denominations. Concluding his list, he states that he was unhappy at non conformists services and that he has given up on religion and decided to return to Church.

  17. In the little picture and caption it says “The Chruch says marriages and civil partnerships are different publilc services so the Equality Act would not apply” is that not shooting themselves in the foot? if they are classing marriage as a public service then surely as with all public services it should be bound by the same law that gives equal rights?

  18. My prediction –
    When marriage equality arrives they will retain their opt-out regarding performing the ceremonies, but it will gradually become dead-letter. More and more evangelicals, fundamentalists and Ultramontane Catholics will lose their selectively justified prejudice purely by dint of our social normalization and they will start to notice the money they are losing. The clergy who already perform blessings in village halls and private homes will start doing it in churches without anyone particularly noticing, and then actually officiating at weddings. Many of them will then start doing what religious claimants to Absolute Truth always do: pretending that it was always so. So now no-one acknowledges that Christians once approved slavery, the killing of heretics, or the sale of indulgences, or condemned the lending of money at interest.
    This is how Christianity changes through the ages. And denies it. The essential requirement of unchanging truth is radical amnesia.

    1. Dont forget they also practiced witch craft lol

    2. Some C of E vicars have been performing such blessings in church for decades ( remember the Vicar of Thaxted?) and early Catholics as well as Eastern Orthodox Christians hundreds of years ago, some of the couples became saints.

      1. That is quite true. And modern Christians are quite amnesiac about it.

  19. The Quakers have released a very positive press statement.

  20. The fact that the bigotted Cult of England (who will not allow any CP’s in their buildings) are happy with the opt-outs they receive, simply shows what a useless, irrelevant distraction this new law is./

    Civil marriage equality is what is required and expected.

    And I think we need to start holding the government’s feet to the fire on this issue.

    Why is the governent planning to introduce equality in 2015.

    It should be winnable by summer 2012 and any delay beyond that date is the government simply dragging its feet.

  21. Hilay Calre 5 Dec 2011, 1:43pm

    “gentlemen’s outfitter” is an unfortunate analogy, given the church’s record on dealing with women

  22. jamestoronto 5 Dec 2011, 2:19pm

    This seems like just some more legalese mumble jumble tossed out to further muddy the waters. The issue is plain and clear — equal civil marriage. There is no reason for any church to comment on this at all. Staying focused on the real purpose instead of being pulled into these meaningless side debates is is what is important.

  23. steven reid 5 Dec 2011, 6:33pm

    The church teach us to make no difference in others, yet its them doing this, I belong to a church, and have the same rights as a women and man getting married, so I have the right to get married to my boyfriend in my church, its owned by the congreation. What right has the minister to tell me he will not act as we pay him to work for all of us.

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