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House of Lords urged to reject challenge to civil partnership rules tomorrow

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  1. matthew halliday 14 Dec 2011, 9:24am

    and who says religion and common sense cannot go hand in hand!

    1. This is a joke right.

      Obviously common sense preciudes believing that ‘god’ invented the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th.

      1. @dAVID

        I might think (not that I would presume) that some of your political ideology does not hold water …

        That does not make me then extrapolate that every view you hold is wrong nor that you are devoid of common sense …

        In the same way, I do not share the belief system which underpins religion – but that does not mean that some views those people hold are not right nor that they lack common sense in some areas …

        Of course, everything is black and white to you when religion is involved … and life is rarely black and white – there is a lot of grey …

        1. Religion is complete nonsense.

          My political ideology does not involve genocidal sky-fairies and virgin mothers you know.

          If you believe that the bible is the word of ‘god’ then you do not have common sense.

          It really is that simple.

          1. @dAVID

            If I believe (which I don’t) that the moon is made of cheese, it does not then follow that every other opinion I have is invalid ..

            I may beleive one thing which is scientifically totally wrong but have opinions on other things which are of consequence …

            You seem to suggest otherwise and that there is a mutal exclusivity – thats not true….

          2. Yes but every other opinion you may have about the moon is invalid and nonsensical.

            If you believe that the world was invented by a genocidal sky fairy (aka ‘god’) then it follows that your opinions on worldly matters are nonsensical.

          3. @dAVID

            If I believe that a cake is homemade, but it turns out that it was bought from a shop – it does not mean that I can not recognise the ingedients in the cake, the quality of the cake and pass comment on it …

            So whilst I agree that the concept of creation is wrong, that does not mean that someone who believes in creation therefore has wrong or irrelevant views on anything connected to the planet … eg human relationships, beauty of landscapes etc etc

          4. de Villiers 14 Dec 2011, 8:03pm

            It is not that simple David. You say that because you have no knowledge of theology or serious philosophy.

      2. Many members of the Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Judaism don’t actually believe in god.

        1. and all members of the big religions do? of course you’re not supposed to think for yourself in some of them..

  2. Civil partnerships must not be performed in religious premises. What does darkness have to do with light?

    1. “What does darkness have to do with light?”

      If this is a philosophical question, then the answer is that the two opposites are equally necessary. night follows day, day follows night. Otherwise, what is your point?

    2. Jock S. Trap 14 Dec 2011, 10:21am

      “Civil partnerships must not be performed in religious premises.”

      So ‘religious freedoms’ means denying those religions who Do which to perform Civil Partnerships (and marriage) on their religious premises.

      The only darkness is ignorance.

    3. Well, the darkness of superstition has often been illuminated by reason – the Enlightenment, for example.

    4. Helen Wilson 14 Dec 2011, 3:37pm

      I agree the darkness should not be allowed to perform in any venue, their music is truly shocking!

  3. Such a load to-ing and fro-ing over an irrelevant distraction that is going to affect such a tiny number of people,

    Meanwhile LGBT people remain 2nd class citizens, unable to access the legal contract of civil marriage simply because they are gay.

    Marriage equality would do away wit the need for this unncecessary legislation.

    Make marriage laws gender neutral and then this would allow the tiny churches that are willing, to perform same sex marriages in their cult buildings.

    Meanwhile all the larger cults will remain as monstrously bigotted as they have always been.

    1. And I fully expect the unelected fossils in the House of Lords to support maintaining the ban on cults performing CP’s.

      It is unrealistic to expect an undemocratic institution like the House of Lords abide by democratic principles.

      I want the House of Lords scrapped in its current form and replaced with a democratically elected, fixed term Upper House, as exists in many other democracies.

      1. DJ Sheepiesheep 14 Dec 2011, 11:41am

        Really? Do you think that the Senate, the elected Upper Chamber in the USA, has a better voting record on LGBT issues? The House of Lords has several out gay members. How many elected Upper Chambers can say that?

        1. Probably not.

          However the US Senate is democratically elected for fixed terms.

          The House of Lords is an undemocratic institution which is NOT elected.

          Therefore it lacks legitimacy, regardless of whether some members are gay or not.

          1. DJ Sheepiesheep 14 Dec 2011, 6:29pm

            And it is precisely because it is unelected that we have the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, which means that the House of Lords cannot ultimately frustrate the will of the the House of Commons. Put simply, the House of Lords does not possess the power to oppose the Commons.

            However, the House of Lords is still an effective ‘talking shop’ that reflects the views (whether we agree with them or not) of all of the interest groups found in the UK.

        2. Australia has Penny Wong and Bob Brown. I don’t really see the correlation between the house of lords and open gay members. If we ever get gay marriage in the UK, the opposition will mostly likely come from the house of lords, it always has. To suggest that the house of lords is gay friendly is daft. How many countries that have gay marriage have an upper house like the house of lords?

      2. dAVID, remember the Alli amendment started in the House of Lords in the first place. The Lords have already passed this once, which will certainly weigh with them. Even unelected fossils dislike being asked the same question repeatedly in the hope of getting a different answer.

        Provided anyone bothers to show up (which is a big if), Baroness O’Cathain should find little support for overturning a principle that the same House agreed only eighteen months ago.

        The danger here is that their lordships, carboniferous or otherwise, pay more attention to the mischievous opinion provided by Mark Hill QC than to the tidy refutation provided by the C of E’s lawyers. They might then agree with the Statutory Instruments Committee that the law as drafted does not meet the will of Parliament expressed in the Alli amendment – an entirely erroneous conclusion which, if supported by the Lords, would certainly lend support to the theory that many members of that house are in it for the nap time.

        1. The Alli amendment would have been far better had it originated in a democratic house of parliament.

          Just because some good sometimes comes from an undemocratic institution, does not excuse the fact that the House of Lords is an undemocratic institution which should be replaced.

    2. @dAVID

      Do minorities matter?

      1. Yes.

        Thinking back over slaves, women, blacks, gays, trans, left handers….just to get the long list going.

        When straight, white middle class males truly see themselves in a minority, then we might have true equality…everyone being in a minority.

        1. @Polly

          I agree wholeheartedly that minorities matter …

          It is when dAVID makes comments such as “an irrelevant distraction that is going to affect such a tiny number of people”, that this make me concerned that he feels minorities do not matter.

          I think ethinic minorities, LGBT people, left handers, those of various faiths, disabled people, children etc etc all matter … including those who sit in more than one protected group eg a disabled, asian, lesbian, Jew deserves respect and fairness … It may sounds to some like PC going mad – but its not, its about addressing people as individuals and respecting them

          If we as a minority (LGBT people – and there are minorities within our minority) do not respect minorities then how can we begin to ask the rest of society to respect us …

          1. You really don’t get it do you.

            Yes minorities matter. However religions are belief systems. Religious groups are not minorities – they simply share a common interest, just like a group of stamp collectors or trainspotters

            Nobody shouid face discrmination based on their age, race, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, physical or mental ability. These are all immutable characteristics

            However a freely chosen, voluntary, lifestyle CHOICE like relligious belief should have zero influence on deciding the laws of our country.

            If you are religious and don’t approve of same sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex.

            Otherwise keep your cult beliefs off our laws.

          2. @dAVID

            What about the minority which is gay people who have a faith … do they matter?

          3. The minority of gay people with faith matter as human beings and they deserve the same human rights as anyone else.

            And they should enjoy freedom of religion.

            However their freedom OF religion is no more important than my freedom FROM religion ie their religious belief should niot be allowed to influence laws in our secular democracy.

            Religion is a choice. It is beyond sickening that cultist constantly feel the need to pervert our democracy with their nonsensical superstitions.

          4. @dAVID

            So, gay Christians or Jews should be able to have a CP on religious premises if the denomination is willing to do so – and thus this minority within a minority matter … it ensures their freedom of religion, does not interfere with your freedom from religion and ensuring advancement (admittedly baby steps, in my view) of LGBT rights …

      2. Yes minorities matter. Religions are belief systems. Religious groups are not minorities – they simply share a common interest.

        Nobody shouid face discrmination based on their age, race, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, physical or mental ability. These are all immutable characteristics

        However a freely chosen, voluntary, lifestyle CHOICE like relligious belief should have zero influence on deciding the laws of our country.

        If you are religious and don’t approve of same sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex.

        Otherwise keep your cult beliefs off our laws.

        1. Do gay Christians or gay Jews matter? Do their rights matter?

          1. What civil rights do gay christians and jews lack at the moment which are specificly lacking to them (bearing in mnid that a wedding in a cult building is not a civil right).

          2. Well, you seem keen to prevent them from celebrating a CP in their place of worship , if the denomination or organisation is happy to do so … that I would contend is preventing their freedom of religion … also, permitting it would not interfere with your freedom from religion …

          3. Wrong.

            You seem to be regarding the change which will allow a tiny number of people get CPed in a cult building as worth celebrating.

            I think it is pathetic that LGBT people will remain 2nd class citizens and will do so even after these cultists are allowed get their 2nd class legal status in their cult buildings.

          4. @dAVID

            I regard CPs and CPs in religious buildings as progress, but not being the end of the journey …

            Womens rights came in tranches (and many parts are still not real), non-white rights came in tranches (and many parts are still not real), disability rights are still not complete, this is an improvement on LGBT rights which I believe we should welcome, but strive for more …

            Equally, freedom of and from religion must be protected too

  4. Jock S. Trap 14 Dec 2011, 10:25am

    The safeguards are there and have been there but typical that the extremist in our religions see fitt to make any excuse to allow their own brand of discrimination. All because a lot of people don’t actually want to do what they say.

    Typical Bigot religion response:- if you don’t do what say I’ll stop you doing it any other way.

    Let’s hope common sense prevails as these much more accepting, open religions start to hopefully take control.

  5. It is worth noting that Christianity no longer represents a majority view in the UK (, and even if they did, a great many of them support gay marriage.

    I have become a firm prodisestablishmentarianist.

  6. The arrogance of some of these religious nutters is amazing. Who do they think they are trying to prevent more progressive religions from allowing civil partnerships an religious component.

    Expect more of this red herring nonsense once the marriage equality consultation begins.

    1. Be careful what you wish for.

      If you allow ‘progressive’ cults like unitarianism, quakerism and liberal judaism meddle with our laws, then you can hardly complain when the more monstrous cults like catholicism and anglicanism and islam and orthodox judaism and hinduism start demanding a say on how we set our laws.

      1. In what way are they ‘meddling’ with the law? The law is meddling with their religion by banning religions from celebrating same-sex marriage. Religious views should not carry more weight than any other but they should be able to make express their views – it is entirely reasonable for religions to be able to ask to use their premises for any celebrations they want.

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Dec 2011, 4:26pm

        I don’t see how those religious denominations wanting to play a role in civil partnerships are meddling in our laws, quite the contrary. The ones who are, are those wanting to prevent those willing to participate to be banned from doing so. I see this firing back on the Romans and other right wing religious “cults”. That is a good thing too. I don’t think the British public would allow religion to dictate our laws since the majority don’t attend religious services. We are not a religious society after all. The very denominations supporting us will be the ones supporting marriage equality.

  7. If churches wish to conduct or allow civil partnership ceremonies on their premises this should be their decision.

    And if they do not wish so to do, then that wish should be respected.

    1. “We recognise fully the rights of those who did not wish to do so and are clear that the legislation protects the freedom to say no as well as yes”, as is quoted in the article.

  8. I have always thought religious CPs were an oxymoron and that CPs are intrinsically discriminatory. But religious CPs are a useful step on the road to marriage, robbing opponents of the only argument which has real traction in the UK – religious freedom.

    Whatever your religious views, equality means same-sex couples should have the same marriage options as anyone else, including religious weddings. If the coalition legalises only civil same-sex weddings, that discrimination should irk atheists as much as Quakers.

    Religious CPs will show the public that no churches are “forced” to perform CPs. The bigots will then find it very hard to claim that equality will mean being “forced” to marry same-sex couples.

  9. Every day I hate religion and every bloody fool that follows it just that little bit more (and please, don’t whine and say “we aren’t all like that” – don’t tell me, I don’t need to know it, tell the hateful and the bigoted and the cruel who attack, harm, degrade and demean us in the name of whatever invisible nonsense you follow).

    1. If you want to well up hatred in yourself, thats your call …

  10. Stop the Hate 14 Dec 2011, 3:54pm

    Everywhere around the world, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are trying to reverse whatever tolerance there may be locally for gay people. Either criminalise, or remove anti discrimination laws, or as in England reverse the right for some willing religions to recognise gay relationships. The latest is in south Korea, trying to remove anti discrimination measures for gay students. It’s time to wake up to this world push for intolerance and ignorance.

  11. Baroness O’Cathain …. stooge of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. Those old men who wear frocks will stop at nothing to scupper equality – they’re all about control!!!

  12. Miguel Sanchez 14 Dec 2011, 5:05pm

    For the love of God, you all have gotten soooooo off point it’s not funny. The Catholic will never get on board so that’s a moot point. 3 groups all came together to offer their support and everyone has missed that.

    Today’s letter reads: “Liberal Judaism, Quakers in Britain and the Unitarians and Free Christians have indicated that they would wish to take up the opportunities offered by the legislation which was passed with support from all parties.

    “We recognise fully the rights of those who did not wish to do so and are clear that the legislation protects the freedom to say no as well as yes.

    “We do not believe the state should force churches or faith communities to act against their sincerely held beliefs; however, we claim the same right in accord with our own deeply held views of equality and justice.

    “Our wish to undertake civil partnerships registration in a religious context reflects our shared commitment to the inherent worth of each individual and our respect for loving relationships between people of the same sex.

    “There has been growing acceptance in England and Wales of a broader view of what family means reflecting the increasingly varied pattern of relationships, including same sex couples.

    “Faith communities like our own have similarly embraced this diversity. We were pleased that Parliament recognised this when it approved civil partnership registration in religious premises. We look forward to putting in place this legislation.”

    The letter was signed by Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain, Derek McAuley, Chief Officer for General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches and Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism.

    My hat is off to the Quakers, Unitarians and the Liberal Jews. They truly care about the LBGT community.

    1. “For the love of God”? Heh.

  13. Nothing but an outstanding victory over these Tory homophobes will convince me that the Tory party have gotten a control over their party.

    I exect Baroness Dracula to lose but I hope she loses in a big way.She’s been pretty successful in the past in overturning gay equality issues in the house of lords and she really need to be put in her place once and for all. Hope the labour and lib dem peers turn out in force. It’s also a test for them!

  14. If the house of lords don’t see this debate as what it really is ie an attempt by a nasty lot of homophobic tory peers backed by extreme christians to prevent further LGBT equality then they really need to be disbanded with. If the govt’s only way of getting this done and dusted is via the parliament act then it really shows what an utter waste of time the house of lords are. I really resent people saying what a wonderful piece of democracy we have in the UK by having an unelected house of lords which is still made up of bishops and hereditary peers. Most have been put there yrs ago and do not represent society now. Having spent a few days going thru the whole list of 700 or so peers in order to email a letter asking them to support this change and reading their details I have absolutely no idea why some of them are. Why on earth is a children’s presenter a baroness, a crime writer a baroness etc, etc, etc….

    1. “… see this debate as what it really is ie an attempt by a nasty lot of homophobic tory peers backed by extreme christians to prevent further LGBT equality”

      You have summed it all up in those words john.
      The same people are working really hard at depriving LGBT’s of their rights globally by spreading lies and misinformation about LGBT’s they do this under the cover of religion, they are highly organised, highly motivated and obsessively relentless.
      In our favour, these extremist Christians don’t have a legitimate argument and we already know the script of anti-gay misinformation they all recite from.

  15. de Villiers 15 Dec 2011, 8:43am

    Lots of attacks on the Right. I see very few comments agreeing with the Conservative MEP who has campaigned to get Cyprus to repeal its homophobic laws.

  16. Pleased to see on twitter that the Bishop of Oxford has said in the House of Lords that if the attempt by Baroness O’Cathain comes to a vote – he will vote against it …

  17. Bishop of Oxford says he agrees with Lady O’Cathain that there should be religious freedom. But he believes the regulations provide freedom

    Bishop of Oxford: Groups such as the Unitarians, Quakers should be free to – but not forced to – host CP ceremonies if they wish.

    Bishop of Oxford states that he is not convinced these regulations would force religious organisations to host CPs against their wishes

    Bishop of Oxford: ‘On balance, I believe the safeguards are already in place’.

    Bishop of Oxford say he won’t be supporting Bns. O’Cathain’s motion. The CoE’s legal opinion is clear no church can be forced to host CPs.

    Lord Laming: ‘I hope very much that this prayer of annulment will be rejected’; won’t be supporting Baroness O’Cathain either.

    Lord Laming: Don’t wish to sound critical, but have to say that it’s sad that churches have not been in the vanguard of promoting equality.

  18. Lord Pannick, a human rights lawyer and cross bencher, disagrees with legal opinions the Baroness O’Cathain has presented, states there is no chance that courts would compel religious bodies to perform CPs. Lord Pannick calls on Baroness O’Cathain to withdraw her ‘prayer to annul’ (the motion), says any attempt to sue a religious org for not holding CPs would be ‘completely hopeless and misguided’.

  19. Bishop of Blackburn is clearly on the wrong side of history … woolly and confused in his speech to the House of Lords, but seeming to support the Baroness … shame on him!

  20. Reports saying that there are very few members of the House of Lords supporting the Baroness – although Ian Paisley is in the chamber …

  21. Baroness Richardson states that, as a Christian, she is strongly in support of CPs and she believes this view is held by many people of faith

  22. Baroness Noakes supports the government position on CPs and rejects the challenge.

  23. Baroness Butler-Sloss is also opposing Baroness O’Cathain. Another lawyer who thinks her legal worries are entirely unfounded.

    Baroness Butler-Sloss is a very honourable and respectful lady of law!

  24. Lord Lester reminds peers that the CofE’s own legal advice is absolutely clear that churches cannot be forced to host civil partnerships, dismissing concerns of Baroness O’Caithlan.

    Reports Baroness O’Caithlan looking very grumpy in the chamber.

    Lord Lester says that litigation against a church for not hosting civil partnerships would have ‘a snowballs chance in hell!’

    Lord Collins speaking and reiterating his thanks to fellow Peers for making both him and his husband so welcome, says this mattered a great deal to him as a new peer. Expressing strong need for both equality and religious freedom. States “No part of the Equality Act would compel religious premises to host CPs”.

  25. Lord Dannatt (Former army chief of staff) seems to believe there is ambiguity, strange that all the other lawyers speaking in the House of Lords seem to disagree … Strange to recall he also opposed LGB military personnel being respected.

    Lord Carlile strongly supporting equality and talking about his daughter, her civil partner and his two “wonderful grandchildren”.

    Lord Carlisle: It’s absolutely clear that the Alli amendment will not force religious groups to act against their conscience. Some argue that the words ‘for the avoidance of doubt’ actually cause doubt. What could be more absurd?

    Lord Collins explains that it is not for Parliament to prevent the genuine wish of some religious groups to celebrate CPs.

  26. Lord Falconer points out that the CofE, Catholic Church, Govt and Equality Commission lawyers agree there’s no risk of compulsion

    Faulkner: Bns O’Cathain’s worry about regulations fails because of the regulation’s specificity about the lack of compulsion.

    Lady Hamwee: ‘I don’t like to see people fed fear.’

    Lord Alli makes the point that those who want to throw out religious groups’ rights to host CPs tend to be the same people who rejected CPs.

  27. Lord Carlile closes his remarks by noting that the House has taken a lot of time today to debate something that isn’t even a problem!

    Lord Henley closing debate suggests to Baroness O’Cathain that a vote is unwise (vast majority of speakers in support of equality)

  28. Baroness Royal says labour oppose Baroness O’Cathians motion and will whip Lords if needs to go to vote

  29. Lord Henley: You don’t have to be a lawyer to know that religious groups cannot be forced to host civil partnerships.

  30. Baroness O’Cathain announces she is withdrawing her prayer to annul the Alli Amendment!

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