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Jack Straw: Church’s marriage views imply I’m a better person because I was born straight

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  1. Not the biggest fan of Straw but *applause* for this :)

    1. Although I begrudge support from a mass-murdering supporter of torture he does make some good points!

      1. *rickl

  2. Why am I liking more of these former Labour ministers now that they’re out of top flight politics?!

    David Milliband, Jack Straw and Alistair Darling have suddenly started speaking sense, wtf is going on?!

    1. They are jumping on a PR bandwagon.

      They certainly lacked the courage and integrity to support equality when they were in power.

      As for Ed Miliband – very strange that he signs a pledge in Scotland supporting marriage equality, yet equality is not even Labour Party policy (not even in the top 10 of their most important issues).

      1. If you honestly believe that Labour generally do not support equal marriage then you clearly are blinkered or deluded.

        Since Labour have no clear policies on anything currently (they are in opposition). The comments of their shadow cabinet member on QT last night and Milliband (and all other leadership contenders) have made it perfectly clear they seek equal marriage.

        It may be because of being caught up int he public mood and yes they could have brought it in when in power – but nonetheless they support it and if that brings in equality for us to be frank I am happy. Barracking people is not going to win equality, especially when they are now our allies.

        1. Labour went to all that effort back in 2005 to invent a brand new ‘separate and not quite equal’ contract for same sex relationships, when they could very easily have pushed for equality instead of segregation.

          They claim ‘oh we would never have gained equality at the time’ is a convenient way of avoiding explanation why they legislated for discrimination.

          Up until 2010 Labour STILL claiming that CP Apartheid was sufficient for us and that we should be grateful for it.

          It was grotesquely offensive and they have never apologised for legislation for CP discrimination.

          You are blatantly someone who believes everything politicians say, judging by your sheep like agreement with everything any politician who is even vaguely pro-gay seems to say.

          Politicians are professional liars and opportunists however and cannot be trusted on anything.

          Ed Miliband signs a pledge supporting equality in Scotland?

          Fine,

          But I want marriage equality to be official Labour Party policy.

          1. @dAVID

            No I don’t believe everything politicians say. I look at the collective evidence and I assess it., I recognise that people and organisations (including political parties can evolve in their views) I recognise this is what has happened to Labour. You may choose to maintain your view that it is not official policy so Labour must be against same sex marriage (that is the impression you give) but the evidence says your view is totally wrong.

          2. @dAVID
            Not only do I not believe everything politicians say – I also do not take everything you say as Gospel. I prefer to rely on evidence not rhetoric.

          3. @dAVID

            On reflection perhaps it might also be fair to point out that I recognise where our allies are, and my aim is to support getting equal marriage and to engage with allies on the issue. I do not support Straws approach to many other things, but these comments I welcome.

            Furthermore, judging by your comments you are the sort of person that jumps to the kneejerk reaction of believing that EVERY single thing that EVERY politician says regardless of whether they agree with you or not is a lie. Its simply not a sustainable argument and your rhetoric is telling.

            The fact I agree with you on some things and am against you on others demonstrates that I consider my views and can agree with people whose attitude and approach I find repulsive.

    2. Psychotheologian 10 Mar 2012, 3:21pm

      I fear that it is much easier to speak your mind in opposition than in government. Government minister are essentially compelled to follow the party line. When in government, that is essentially the leader’s will. I’d love to hear what Mr. Blair has to say but I suspect we won’t…
      Full marks to Mr. Straw though!

  3. At last someone talking sense on the issue. Personally, I don’t believe in marriage, irrespective of sexuality or gender (I’m thinking of those who identify as Trans here) . However, for those people who do, again irrespective of sexuality or gender, it should be an option for all, no ifs no buts.

    This whole situation reminds me of the last time I ever went to church (outside of a roman catholic school upbringing). I was about 12 and my dad was had some kind of strange idea that going to church would make us a family (my parents divorced when I was 9). We got in church and there was an elderly woman in there who, frankly smelt of urine. All I could here and see were tuts and disapproving looks from the rest of the congregation so I made a dash for it thinking I just couldn’t be arced with the hypocrisy. All I remember is my dad chasing me round a muddy grave yard whilst the congregation looked on, and then going for a chinese meal later… It kind of shaped my view of church.

    1. Yes, more than a “I want to get married issue” it’s a freedom and equality issue. If I was as straight as it’s possible to be I would be really concerned that religions were strenuously trying to dictate *civil* law. That should concern everyone.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why we have the system we have – even though it don’t always work!

    2. I think it depends a lot how you perceive the purpose of marriage. Until it effects them lots of people never think about the rights and responsibilities that go with it.

      I was not concerned with marriage either until I got into a bi-national relationship with a non EU citizen and needed to move around Europe. A marriage certificate has been such an easy fix to immigration matters. However, I have to admit we were both a bit blown away by what a wonderful day we had with family and friends. Also the feeling that a government authority, in our case a Dutch municipality, regarded we were just as equal as anyone else. That was powerful. It was way more special than we were expecting.

      1. I completely get that and didn’t mention the legal/opening doors kind of thing – it was one reason it was on the table with my longtime ex-partner at a point. Plus I have to admit there is the nice part about celebrating your commitment to someone – however you choose to do it. I know my family would love a good old knees up!

  4. The Prime Minister made the pledge to a less than thrilled party conference; all three main parties are now in favour; nothing can stop it now.
    That’s why the God-botherers are going crazy.

    1. Why is the government delaying equality to 2015 I wonder?

      I have not heard a valid reason why marriage equality is not a reality by 2012.

      1. Who has said they are delaying it till 2015?

  5. Hmmm. Good that he says this. But remember that this was also the man who opposed adoption by gay couples with the repellant phrase, “children as trophies”. Not nice.

    1. I agree and I remember that offensive remark. Quite frankly the only people I have ever known who treated their children as trophies were straight. But forget his motives, even if he’s only bending with the party weather – it’s good that he has said it.

  6. Well spoken. Good to see this consensus amongst the parties. I can’t see them caving in to homophobes now. Roll on marriage equality! (Or at least partial marriage equality as the proposed change for England & Wales doesn’t go the whole way, unlike the proposal for Scotland. Hopefully the consultation will make that change. Gay Christians and Jews who worship in gay-friendly faith organisations like the Quakers and Reform Jews deserve legal recognition for their marriages because straight couples get it – how can this be equality otherwise?)

    1. Marriage equality by the end of 2012 is a reassonable and realistic expectation.

      To wait until 2015 is utterly unacceptable.

    2. Sorry Dromio, I’m probably being thick here, what’s the difference between the English & Welsh and Scottish versions of proposed marriage equality?

      1. We don’t know yet is the short answer, Ian

        The Scottish one Salmond will announce when they have reviewed their consultation. No doubt Featherstone and Cameon will announce the English one. Not sure what happens with Wales (is that tied to England???)

        We don’t know the full details. We do know England WILL have equal civil marriage, how its introduced is what the consultation is over. Scotland has only said it is minded towards equal marriage.

  7. Keith Farrell 8 Mar 2012, 6:54pm

    I like what he has to say, I hope the very church leaders will come forward and explain how they can delagae people to 2nd class on the basis of who they love

    1. Why?

      Civil marriage equality has NOTHING to do with religiion, and we need to keep hammering that message home.

      1. A point that Will Self, Will Young and Caroline Flint put convincingly on Question Time last night (and which Eric Pickles seemed to enthusiastically agree with!)

    2. Har Davids 9 Mar 2012, 7:05pm

      They’ve been at it for centuries, Keith, and they don’t need to explain anything. They’re their God’s mouth-pieces on Earth, and all the rest needs to do, is obey. Too bad for them, it doesn’t always work anymore.

  8. Wow!

    Clear simple straight talking (excuse the pun).

    Explaining things in simple language so hopefully the indoctrinated can begin to understand.

    One of the best things I have seen Straw say or write for a long time, in fact arguably the best/

    There are going to be some massive fireworks in the next few weeks. Yee hah!

    Wonder who is on Question Time this week …

    Anyone else think that Colin Hart will make a sore loser?

  9. The Churches’ teachings don’t say that at all. So a straw man from Jack Straw (pun intended). One wonders whether he’s even bothered to research the theology of the body, seeing as he seems to keen to attempt to comment on it.

    1. Don’t feed the troll

    2. The ‘Churches’ teachings’ have said all sorts of things.
      Who cares?

    3. Straw was talking about Christ’s [reported] teachings, not the Churches’. Big difference.

      1. Well many Churches would argue they’re the same thing. Certainly the Catholic and Orthodox. Plus Straw is attempting to enage in exegesis with no real understanding of where to start. Which is deeply flawed. For example he says Christ speaks of love, and rightly so, but what exactly is love? Straw is merely applying the modern hedonistic definition of love to a totally different concept and thus his argument fails.

        1. Let’s briefly indulge you, Adam.
          Did Jack Straw use exegesis (and/or hermeneutics) to examine the text?
          One of the texts he refers to is Matt(7:12):
          “12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets”NKJV. Many people believe Jesus was merely repeating what others had already taught. For example:
          The HINDU religion taught:
          This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain.
          The Mahabharata
          The BUDDHIST religion taught:
          Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
          Udana-Varga
          he JEWISH traditions taught:
          What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
          The Talmud
          The MUSLIM religion taught:
          No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he …

          1. desires for himself.
            Hadith
            The BAHA’I faith teaches:
            He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfil.
            The Book of Certitude
            Other sources state:
            Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others.
            Isocrates 436-338 BCE
            “Tzu-kung asked, ‘Is there a single word which can be a guide to conduct throughout one’s life?’ The Master said, ‘It is perhaps the word “shu”. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire'”
            Analects, 15.24
            But it can be argued Jesus role was positive and most of the above are not.
            Jesus’ “rule” requires you to do something favorably to others,
            while the others only prohibit you from doing something unfavorably to others!
            a. Jesus -> Do unto others what you want them to do

          2. to you.
            b. Others – > Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.
            With the others, all that is required is that you don’t harm other people; with Jesus, what is required is that you show kindness to others
            3. Jesus’ rule is truly the GOLDEN rule, the others are SILVER rules (of value, yes, but not as much as “gold”)
            [The only exception appears to be that found in Hadith (the traditions of Islam); but then, some of Islam is admittedly based upon what Jesus
            taught 600 years before Mohammed.
            So what Jesus taught was something new compared to what “uninspired” teachers had taught prior. But in another sense it was nothing new; rather, in a simple and easy to
            remember statement, Jesus gives us

          3. a guideline for conduct towards others that is in harmony with the law and the prophets.
            1. Just as we have seen in the rest of Jesus’ teachings (cf. Mt 5:21-48)
            2. This one “rule” summarizes what the Law and the Prophets were all about
            3. Just as the commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” summed up the Law according to Paul – Ro 13:8-10
            So, the basic points are:
            Be careful in your judgement of others and in your treatment of others – treat them how you would like to be treated.
            So it then follows if we seek to use further exegesis to apply this to current life that most people seek to be treated fairly, seek to have their committed relationships recognised and seek not to be judged and condemned by others for personal characteristics. Thus, exegesis shows treating people fairly and allowing them to celebrate their love in civil arrangements is entirely Biblical and correct.

        2. Where is your evidence that ‘hedonistic’ definitions of love are peculiarly ‘modern’? More to the point, what is ‘hedonistic’ about wanting to commit yourself to someone for life and have it publically recognised on the same basis as for others?
          Just by the by, what is your evidence that Jesus thought of himself as a mystical creature called ‘Christ’?

          1. @Riondo

            Exactly. I think that whilst there are numerous Greek words for love eg Eros, Agape, Philia and Storge – and all are used in the Bible. I do not think there is any difference between the emotions and intentions of a couple who consensually seek to celebrate their love and commitment to one another, whether that is today or 5000 years ago.

    4. … your a critical thinking student arent you? I am too, and may i point out that not only does your argument includes an instance of attacking the arguer? come on man, if your gonna argue, at least argue well!

  10. Well hasn’t he changed his tune??

    I’m trying not to bitter about all those who were anti-equality before they suddenly realised they were for it but it’s really hard.

    *through gritted teeth* So nice to see such positive comments from Mr Straw!

    1. But isn’t it at least better that they’ve now changed than if they stuck to their guns obstinately?

      1. They still deserve to be raked over the coals for their bigotry.

        Politicians are professional liars.

        it’s all very easy to be pro-equaliy now that most people are,.

        But these scumbags will change their tune at the 1st hint of a backlash.

        Sadly politicians lack any sort of integrity and can never be trusted on their words.

    2. I think we have be grown up about this and reconcile with those that may have once spoken badly of the gay community.

      Many straight people, particularly the older ones, have to confront a life time of the same negative messages that we ourselves heard and to evolve to a new way of thinking. They have to do there own type of coming out – which is a process.

      The fact that they are doing this means we are winning the battle. What I think we have to understand is we are never going to be that big of a percentage in the population so we need straight people to understand us and support us.

  11. Another anti-marriage equality person pretends he’s always been for it and critcises others for being against it…

    Does he really think we have that short of a memory?

    Welcome to the good side Mr Straw, wish you could’ve come over sooner.

    1. It takes time for people’s views to evolve, some water has gone under the bridge between then and now so I give Jack straw the benefit of the doubt, I’m very pleased that he has come on board for marriage equality.

      1. Or perhaps he’s just beng an opportunist now.

        he knows that poltically support for equality is no longer dangerous, so he now pretends that he was never a disgusting bigot.

  12. Never mind his opinions, Straw should be on trial in The Hague.

    1. On this issue his opinions are fantastic and I applaud them.

  13. Two years ago Jack Straw replied to petitioners for marriage equality:-

    The Government have no plans to legislate for same-sex marriage. It is important to recognise that marriage has particular historical traditions attached to it. ….

    …The Government have always maintained that marriage itself is only between a man and a woman. This view has been upheld by the UK courts, most recently in the case of Wilkinson and Kitzinger 2006. Wilkinson and Kitzinger are a British lesbian couple who got married in Canada where same-sex marriage is legal. Under UK law, their marriage is recognised as a civil partnership, but they wanted the court to rule that it should be recognised as a marriage. However, the High Court decided in line with case law, that it could not be recognised as a marriage because they are not male and female.

    1. He supports us now, and to me that is what matters

    2. Everyone has the right to rectify, the church won’t ever do it because it’s nature is immutable. Good for Jack

  14. His understanding of what we were taught at school and at churches about God and Jesus and morals and principles etc corresponds to mine.

    Don’t know what’s gone wrong with Christian groups and leaders. Before reading their anti gay stance I used to think they were the good guys.

  15. …Church’s marriage views imply I’m a better person because I was born straight…
    “I didn’t choose to be straight. It’s how I am. It would be no different if I were gay. I would neither be a better, nor a worse, person because of it. It would simply be how I was.

    Bravo! A straight man who gets it!

  16. George Broadhead 8 Mar 2012, 9:49pm

    “’Judge not, that ye be not judged’, and ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’, are two of his most powerful, and enduring, messages about how individuals, local communities, and whole societies, should live peacefully, and happily, with others.”

    Quite right, but these messages are not exclusive to religions.

    Atheistic Humanists follow what is known as the Golden Rule: “Do as you would be done by” which was taught by atheist philosophers like Confucius who lived many years before Christ.

    1. Actually “Judge not lest you be judged” seems quite apt, given the backlash to Cardinal O’Brien’s message of intolerance.
      I wonder if he thought he’d come from this looking like an irrelevant fossil of a bygone era, or whether he genuinely thought public opinion would be on his side?
      When even Daily Telegraph polls come out in favour of gay marriage he’s really in trouble.

      1. Indeed, Flapjack.

        I thought it was an entirely appropriate lesson for the Cardinal to learn.

        I loved it last night when the woman in the audience suggested that Sundays proposed pulpit message in RC churches could be construed as hate speech and most of the audience seemed to agree.

        Judge not lest you be judged, RC church …

  17. George Broadhead 8 Mar 2012, 9:52pm

    Is Jack Straw a liberal Jew?

    1. He certainly has Jewish heritage, how active he is in his beliefs is anyones guess

    2. I wish there was something called the liberal catholic or CofE becuase at least then they could have more of chance of doing what they want to do eg like performing CP/marriages in their churches. That requirment to get the Synod etc to make the approval for all theirclergy and churches regardless of their “liberal” beliefs was a bit mean.

      1. Liberal Catholics do exist. They have nothing to do with the Roman Catholics and the Vatican thinks they are serious heretics.

  18. This shows than good politicians who are goog people at the same time are a million times better than any pope, archbishop or iman. Thanks Straw, you are a friend, the little arbishops are the ones we should be afraid of with their intolerant and out of date ideas. Jesus was clear, his priests are obscure

  19. Cambodia Guesthouse 9 Mar 2012, 12:22am

    Yes, whatever the past… Applause to him now..

    A common sense message put in plain and common sense language…. (especially for ‘Sun’ readers etc to understand!)

  20. I am a 29 years old lady,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a username josedvilla on — Agelover.СòM —, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

  21. The hypocrisy of the Anglican Church is astounding, but this issue is easily solvable. I understand having a problem with redefining the word “marriage” so here is my suggestion which would make everyone happy: call that contract that you make with your significant other a “civil partnership” and leave marriage to the churches. This does two things: it gives homosexuals access to all the privileges and rights of “married” folk, but without redefining a word or removing a part of our culture. The thing you do at the Town Hall can be a civil partnership and then the thing you do in Church can be a marriage. That’s all I care about, as a bisexual: equal rights under the law, no matter my choice. Not being Christian I do not much care what churches think, or teach or believe but I do care when their teachings interfere with my civil rights, the rights I was promised as a child.

    1. Just as churches don’t have a monopoly on virtue or morals, neither do they have a monopoly on marriage. Some of them just wish they did. Secular and religious cultures all round the globe of all religions and none can still get married. Give some theocrats an inch…
      If you went round telling every secular straight couple who had a wedding in a registry office that they weren’t married but in a civil partnership you’d get pretty short shrift.

    2. Dave North 9 Mar 2012, 10:15am

      That is segregation.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 9 Mar 2012, 11:46am

      It wouldn’t be practical. Civil Partnerships for straight couples would only make sense if fhe rest of the civilised world had them and that’s NEVER going to happen. Marriage has and always will be the universal gold standard where some like it or not. I bet if a poll were taken to allow straight couples to have a CP, there wouldn’t be many takers. More would opt for marriage.

      That said, well done, Jack Straw! Evolution is a slow process, glad to see him on board. I’m more than prepared to forget his past opposition as I would anyone. In matters like this, pragmatism needs to take a front row seat even if it is conflict with one’s personal views. He’s clearly demonstrated that and he gets it.

  22. Its about time a politician used the line about not choosing to be straight.

    I think that it is the first time in UK policitcs that an MP has made such a comment about whether being gay or straight is a choice so well done him!

    1. Maybe we have go Gaga to thank for this ?

      She created a powerful message.

  23. Why I have always supported the secular arguments for marriage equality I am nevertheless impressed by those leaders who are being bold enough to call these extremist Christians out on their own turf.

    Clearly they have been so dishonestly selective and self serving in their interpretation of the basis of their beliefs. Makes one question whether there is really such a strong religious basis to start with or is the intolerance and hatred based on something else ?

    1. “I am nevertheless impressed by those leaders who are being bold enough to call these extremist Christians out on their own turf. ”

      it does not require bravery to support equality.

      It only requires some human decency – a character trait that was missing in Straw until very recently.

      His support for equality now is nice, but remember that he is a politician and therefore a professional liar whose opinions are always the ones he thinks will be most populat.

      Integrity is never an accurate description for a politician.

  24. Robert in S. Kensington 9 Mar 2012, 11:52am

    Well done, Jack Straw and thank you. You put Tony Blair to shame.

    1. Dave North 9 Mar 2012, 1:12pm

      Phoney Tony will be onside if you give him a large enough bung.

  25. Well put, Mr Straw.

    Some commentators have made the point that Mr Straw used to hold the opposing view. All the same, he’s got it right today and kudos to him.
    People are making the crossing to the ‘pro’ side all the time and we just need to let them know that we’re pleased they’re here!

  26. Why is it that politicians actually say rather thoughtful and nice things when they’re not in power? :)

    Cynic in me has an answer, but that’s beside the point. Thank you, Mr Straw :)

  27. Spanner1960 10 Mar 2012, 11:49am

    It’s al so easy to change one’s tune when you are not constantly in the public eye trying to push your party’s agenda.

    I still think the man is a weasel though.

  28. I completely get that and didn’t mention the legal/opening doors kind of thing – it was one reason it was on the table with my longtime ex-partner at a point. Plus I have to admit there is the nice part about celebrating your commitment to someone – however you choose to do it. I know my family would love a good old knees up!

  29. Patrick Mc Crossan 12 Mar 2012, 5:41pm

    As a gay man and as a gay catholic I have problems with Stonewall’s Draft Marriage Bill

    I think they have deliberately chosen words and phrases to assist me as part of a minority that will offend the majority.

    I believe Stonewall who have done and who do great work have chosen to upset the majority by removing Husband & Wife by amendments completely from the marriage bill. ( see )

    Extension of Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Bill 2012 [HC] a husband and wife” substitute “parties to a marriage”.

    For those who have been married and see it as an institution, and as Husband & Wife are part of the worlds accepted married status I feel it will create far too much upset to achieve marriage rights for gay people by removing the majority’s right to continue to be called Husband & Wife.

    Stonewall should achieve equal marriage rights without upsetting the majority.

    It is issues like this that gets people to believe we are going too far when we denigrate others rights to achieve our own right

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