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Comment: Archbishop Sentamu has no right to block gay civil marriages

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  1. Helen Wilson 31 Jan 2012, 11:26am

    The Christian church in the UK have already extracted themselves from having a say on civil marriage long ago when it insisted civil marriage must have no religious reference, could not be performed by a minister of religion and could not be held on religious premises.

    The CofE forgets it defined the difference between civil and religious marriage and clearly set the two down different paths as two distinctly different forms of marriage. Clearly Christianity can not now come back into civil marriage and claim ownership of it in any way.

    Civil marriage can only be defined by civil society not religion.

  2. Peter & Michael 31 Jan 2012, 12:12pm

    Let us face it, there are too many ‘Sham’ marriages being performed in the UK by ministers of religion, we concur that all people that wish to be married should have a ceremony at a Register Office in their area. This will ensure that a stringent checking of identity be fulfilled and those that may wish, have a ‘blessing’ in a church at a later date. Marriage should be a Civil matter.

    1. As I understand it, and I may be wrong, but marriage used to be a civil matter until the religious lot hijacked it and turned it into a religious thing?

      1. Marriage is a civil matter – that can be given a religious dusting. The priest acts as a public Registrar.

  3. We already know how bigoted this man is. Let him waffle his bile as much as he wants. As Peter Tatchell quite rightly has said, Sentamu has no say in the legal matters of the land as he is not elected. He will try to shoot any new legislation down but I think we are at a stage where many MP’s are finally on our side.

    1. Unfortunately unelected Bishops still sit in the House of Lords, it’s high time they were removed.

  4. we should have made CP the gold standard of partnerships rather than chasing marriage as the ultimate expression

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jan 2012, 1:27pm

      Unrealistic. Marriage, be it religious or civil has and always will be the universal gold standard around the world whether some disagree or not. I don’t see the overwhelming heterosexual population clamouring for CPs over marriage, even though I think both orientations should have access to either.

      Sentamu seems to have forgotten that the C of E’s legal team actually confirmed that allowing a religious element for CPs does not affect or mandate compliance by religious cults, so the same argument will be applied in the same-sex marriage debate. He’s not too bright if you ask me or has a serious case of dyslexia.

  5. Please someone answer a question for me:

    What is the difference between a marriage and a civil partnership?

    If gays want access to full equality (marriage, I presume?), why would heterosexuals want access to something “less” (civil partnership)?

    Or am I simply not understanding the distinction between the two. In my country, we have marriage equality. We also have “civil marriage” and “religious marriage”, although if you have a religious wedding, the officiating person has a legal “civil” contract to fulfill with all the necessary paperwork, etc…

    1. Father Ted 31 Jan 2012, 2:54pm

      They are both contracts of marriage, with a pointless and insulting separate but parallel legality.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jan 2012, 3:17pm

      There are some differences between the two. Civil Partnerships are not legal marriages under the laws of the UK and not treated as such. They do not have equal recognition in all countries of the world and in places where they are recognised, the rights conferred by a CP may not all be enjoyed when living in another country where they have legal recognition. For example, in France, a British CP would have more rights than inherent in the French version called a PAC, but the British couple would only be entitled to the rights conferred under the French version, inequality in fact. Currently, same-sex couples are not guaranteed to retain their rights given by the existing CP when travelling or residing in the EU. Only heterosexual marriage certificates are recognised which guarantee all of the rights. A CP doesn’t need to include vows, or exchange rings and you do not have to consummate a CP, unlike marriage.

      1. There are other implications in calculating entitlements to sharing pensions. The year limit for a CP is limited – whereas for a marriage it is unlimited.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jan 2012, 9:02pm

          Correct, I forgot to mention that. Thank you for posting.

      2. Peter & Michael 31 Jan 2012, 8:46pm

        Spain does not recognise CP.s from UK

      3. Spanner1960 1 Feb 2012, 8:43am

        Also, two people in a C.P. need not live together.

        Ultimately, the biggest difference is also what appears to be the most trivial: the simple semantics of it; If you were to say to someone “I am married”, nobody would know to who or what gender, it’s really as simple as that. If you say “I am in a Civil Partnership” you might as well shout “I’m a fag!” from the rooftops.

  6. Peter: As a person who I respect and admire as being fair minded etc., I am disappointed with the loaded nature of your article. Whether or not the archbishop has form, I can’t say, any more than you and I have form, but he remains imho one of the church’s good guys. I am thus inclined to defend him..

    As a church leader (whether or not you or I think he should be), he is bound to guide “the flock” and speak truth into the debate. He should then state the churches position and, more importantly, a sound theological basis on the matter, starting from where marriage originated: “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2v24), even if he is “the odd man out”.

    Unlike you, I don’t believe terms like “inflammatory attack”, “homophobic discriminations”, “religious authoritarian”, “disparaging attitude”, “intolerant and out of touch” and “bigot” apply to the archbishop.

    1. Father Ted 31 Jan 2012, 2:25pm

      Genesis is not real, or “the truth”, it is a creation myth, like many others in other religions, and most Christians and ex-Christians in the UK would accept that, rather than a literalist interpretation.

      Literalism is an excuse for unthinking authoritarianism.

      He is not speaking truth into the debate, he is attempting to block it out, and to block out the humanity and compassion that naturally cry out to recognise the love between gay people, and which has been recognised in various cultures throughout history, including Christian ones.

      1. You have to forgive JohnB, to be blunt, he’s a breeding ground for stupidity. This is the man who went on a tirade about evolution being wrong but didn’t know why, nor know who Neanderthal man was. He’s the same man that makes ridiculous quotes in the bible as “fact” and then ignores others that do not suit his bigotry.

        In short, the man is a turnip and should be treated as such until he makes some effort to go back to 2nd grade where he left off.

    2. Bigots never like to hear bigotry criticized.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jan 2012, 2:46pm

      The old testament also condones polygamy and the stoning to death of wives for adultery (practiced by some branches of Islam to this day). Marriage has existed in varying forms long before the Abrahamic, primarily the Jewish cult came along and changed everything. It has evolved to this day. Remember when women were considered “chattel”, supported by the religious cults, of note, the roman variety. Religious marriage has absolutely NOTHING to do with civil marriage. It has absolutely NO right to impose a religious belief on civil marriage let alone on the rest of society many of whom are non-believers and aren’t even “christian”.

    4. Peter’s article is perfectly fair, JohnB. Sentamu went far beyond merely stating the Christian interpretation of marriage – not that that interpretation has remained the same anyway. Watch here:

      Sentamu can state what some Christians believe (because it’s not ALL Christians) but what on earth is he doing dictating to the government how they should enact laws? That’s not his remit. He also shows an ignorance of LGBT people and expresses his opinions in a homophobic way.

      Why isn’t he poking his nose into the marriages of non-Christians and divorcees? Because he, like many other Christians sadly, has singled out one group of human beings to discriminate against. That’s not christian, it’s not necessary – and it’s none of his business. We’re talking about CIVIL marriage. He can marry who he wants in his church but that doesn’t give him the right to try to interfere with the law of the UK.

    5. @JohnB

      Peters piece is perfectly reasonable and fair.

      I suggest you also read the piece by Libby Purves opinion in The Times yesterday “Retreat from your battle against gay marriage”.

    6. @JohnB

      I understand your commitment to Biblical knowledge, and your unwaivering concern that the Bibles moral authority and wisdom is still relevant in the 21st century

      Unfortunately, in 21st UK politics the Bible is increasingly irrelvant with secularism in the ascendancy.

    7. Spanner1960 1 Feb 2012, 8:49am

      bigot noun someone who is persistently prejudiced, especially about religion or politics, and refuses to tolerate the opinions of others. bigoted adj. bigotry noun (bigotries).
      ETYMOLOGY: 16c, first meaning ‘a superstitious hypocrite’: French.

      What part of that description does not apply to the Archbishop? He is rigid in his religious opinions and unwilling to accept any compromise whatsoever.

      1. so don’t you think you may also be bigoted. you seem to hold little tolerance yourself to those whose opinions are different to your own?

  7. Father Ted 31 Jan 2012, 2:50pm

    Peter’s argument is unfortunately on flimsy ground if he is relying on the popyularity of the people. Civil and Human Rights should never be the at the whim of popularity, as unpopular minorities will always lose out.

  8. Father Ted 31 Jan 2012, 2:51pm

    Peter’s argument is unfortunately on flimsy ground if he is relying on the of the people. Civil and Human Rights should never be the at the whim of popularity, as unpopular minorities will always lose out.

  9. Garry Cassell 31 Jan 2012, 3:17pm

    This BIGOT,Sentamu should go back to Uganda and feel very comfortable with his hatred…….

  10. We aren’t even necessarily talking about marriage equality under civil law. There are churches and denominations who welcome LGBT people and would gladly perform a ceremony for them. Sentamu’s objection also demands that they comply with HIS faith. Why should they? if the CoE wants to remain a bigoted anachronism, let them, but don’t play their game if you need religion, find a church that will welcome you. Or have your ceremony at a Stately home, or on the Penalty spot of your local football club or anywhere else. As religion is not, and never has been, a mandatory feature of marriage.

  11. What I hate about the Church is that they complain that the gay community is tarring them all with the same brush and that most of the Church is supporting the Gay Marriage.

    It’s rubbish!
    Now that the sh*t is about to hit the fan, these so called supporters of gay Marriage have vanished!

    You’re either with us, or against us, silence is no longer an option!

  12. My 2 cents 31 Jan 2012, 4:39pm

    Out of Africa, and poisonous to civil discourse and the rule of law, Sentamu has brought his third world, autocratic mentality and all it represents to a democratic society.

    Does the Archbishop know that in the UK and elsewhere, atheists are allowed to marry? How has this more grievous insult to holy matrimony and scripture escaped his notice?

    1. Gay priest 31 Jan 2012, 5:16pm

      For the record, there are those of us in the Church of England who support the idea of equality for all when it comes to choosing under what legal name you wish to register your relationship. Many of us Anglicans are members of ‘Changing Attitude’ – an organisation which campaigns for equality across the board. Sentamu, I agree, is misguided but he doesn’t speak for the whole of the C of E. God forbid.

      1. How can liberals such as you be encouraged to be more vocal?

        I checked out ‘Changing Attitude’ and appreciated reading your experience at the recent ‘Lepers’ conference.

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jan 2012, 9:06pm

        You’re absolutely right. In fact, there are some catholic priests who support marriage equality but terrified to declare support for obvious reasons.

        The problem with the denominations in opposition is that none of them have quite grasped the concept that civil marriage is an entirely different vehicle to religious marriage and that those denominations are not required or compelled to recognise or officiate them. If we were demanding religious recognition, I could understand their resistance but this isn’t about that, far from it.

  13. “Dr Sentamu rejects the enlightened, progressive public will, in favour of his preferred imposition of homophobic discrimination in law. He is, in essence, a religious authoritarian who opposes equality. ”

    Right on, Peter.

    Furthermore, Sentamu has never been elected, would never be elected, and has a lot to learn about the persistent ambisexual drive of the human species.

  14. The Archbishop is a bigot!

    1. Yes, Archbigot Sentamu is a more appropriate title.

  15. Why does pink news always get Peter Tatchel to write for them. There are other high profile gay rights campaigners out there. Ones that don’t stick up for homophobes, islamists and that don’t bash Israel (the only proper democracy in the middle east and the country with the best gay rights in asia)at every oppertunity.

    1. Spanner1960 1 Feb 2012, 9:04am

      Maybe they simply can’t be arsed.

  16. Errol Semple 31 Jan 2012, 5:45pm

    What happened to separation of religion and state?
    Civil marriages are none of his business.
    Religion has a monopoly on hate.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jan 2012, 9:15pm

      Errol, in the UK, we don’t have separation of church and state. That said, you are right on two things. Civil marriages are not the business of religious denominations, never have been, never will be. The other is much of the history of homophobia can be traced to religion especially since the dawn of the three Abrahamic denominations, e.g. Judaism, later adopted by Christianity and Islam and are responsible for much of the homophobia we’re seeing in society at large throughout the centuries, most of it stereotyping and bullying. It is notable that most of the denominations have been silent when it comes to bullying and gay bashing even if it leads to murder. Religious denominations are the most virulently vocal in opposition to civil marriage equality you will note, but no surprise there.

      1. As a resident of York, we often see the ramblings of the fundamentalist Sentamu in the local paper and in all cases the paper chooses never to allow comments against the articles. So Sentamu gets a clear run without having his beliefs challenged.

        He really is one crazy guy who has in his past done exorcisms on children – he believes in casting out devils FFS.

        I just wonder how he might feel if some government decided that black folks could only have CPs and full marriage was for the white folks. He would be up in arms.

        Mind you his buddies in the xian Lords are no better with Carey spouting off about reparative therapies.

        This is the problems with these theists. In their delusion they think they have a right to dictate what we rationalists and believers in a secular world should be doing in our lives. Nobody is forcing Sentamu to get married to a man are they?

  17. GulliverUK 1 Feb 2012, 5:43am

    Might be worth remember that

    “The consultation will only cover civil marriage for same sex couples — not religious marriage.”

    Peter Tatchell also wrote in the Guardian about how these were civil only, and that religious same-sex marriage wasn’t in the proposals.

    he said; “The government’s proposed continuation of the ban on religious gay marriages is another surprise. It is an infringement of religious freedom to dictate to faith organisations what they can and cannot do. Some religions – such as the Quakers, Unitarians and liberal Judaism – want to conduct same-sex marriages. The equality minister says they will not be allowed to do so.”


    1. Too right… I would be happy to have a religious marriage at my chapel seen as I’m a paying Unitarian (membership gives me the right to vote on congregational issues.) … Any hetero couple is entitled to have a marriage in our lovely chapel regardless of religion… Most we will have is a religious cp with the registrar being on premises to sign the book and then leaving… And that’s only if it doesn’t cost a fortune!

  18. Spanner1960 1 Feb 2012, 8:38am

    “Right from the outset of the debate about marriage equality, Dr Sentamu seems to have got the wrong end of the stick. The government is proposing to legalise same-sex marriages in register offices only. This will not affect churches or other places of worship. “

    I don’t think he has the wrong end of the stick at all. I think he is fully aware of that fact but simply chooses to omit it, like so many other things in the Bible. It is obvious he is trying to stir up support by making the church appear oppressed and forced by the state to accept gay marriages, which is quite obviously not the case. In one interview I read he claimed that “if gays were allowed to civilly marry, it would only be a matter of time before religious establishments were coerced into accepting them.”

    I think that is highly unlikely, but more to the point, that is something that can be debated at a later date. At this point this is a totally secular concept and I for one think it should stay that way unless the churches wish to do it themselves.

    Somebody, (preferably Cameron), needs to shout very loudly so everybody gets the message that gay marriage WILL NOT AFFECT CHURCHES.

    1. I agree. I wish somebody WOULD tell them to butt out when we’re discussing civil marriage. They’re knowingly scaremongering and spreading lies and misinformation. They probably do it because they see their religion ‘in danger’ but what they fail to realise is that if they started acting in a more fair, thoughtful and non-discriminatory way, maybe people wouldn’t feel so anti-religion.

      The growing lack of interest in religion in the UK is partly due to more rationality and science, but also partly due to the hatred and spiteful nature of some religious leaders who try to marginalise groups in society.

  19. And here we go again… Dr Sentamu is from Uganda. Now, help me out folks as my geography is a little rusty. Where is this again…………..?


    So he thinks that marriage should remain the exclusive right of a man and a woman? Why? Why should the LGBT community be excluded from joining in with unity? Oh… sorry, its due to some ancient ruling made many years ago. Its time for this exclusivity to be stopped.

    A marriage is the CIVIL union of two people… religion does not enter into it… its only like this because the CofE want to see it and thus keep it as ‘theirs’. Marriage does not belong to any church; it belongs to the couple who are involved in the union. The CofE is only there to extract money out of marriage.

  20. PeterinSydney 2 Feb 2012, 7:07pm

    The dear Archbishop, of all people should understand the persecution of minority groups. It is time he removed his religious blinkers and looked at the real world. Otherwise he deserves to be treated as a blind fool.

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