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Comment: Gay marriage proposals are welcome but flawed

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  1. Exactly! Why discriminate against us gay Christians who would welcome the opportunity to get married in church? Its only extreme evangelical churches aligned to the anti-gay ‘Christian’ Institute who wouldn’t want us in their churches anyway let alone be married in them.

    1. I’m not entirely convinced it is discriminating jamesh.

      Lets say this law in enacted tomorrow.

      If you wanted to marry your same sex partner in a CofE church or RC church you would still be unable to as they are unwilling to and the law does not intend to force them (and there is a strong argument it should not)

      If you wanted to marry in a Quaker, Unitarian or any other denomination – even if they were prepared to marry you then you would still require a civil ceremony as their ministers are not entitled to formally register a marriage (whether same sex or opposite sex).

      You could still have a ceremony that is regarded as matrimony in the Quaker, Unitarian church etc and go through the required civil legal formalities at the registry office.

      What is the difference? I just don’t see it.

      1. But I’m not a Quaker or an Unitarian, I’m an Anglican. It is wholly discriminatory not to allow individual priests the freedom to conduct marriage services in the state church. They’re allowed to marry straight people, why not gay?!

        1. @Jamesh

          Even if the government changed this, the CofE leadership and synod have made it perfectly clear same sex marriages will not occur on CofE premises.

          I do not think we should delay allowing same sex couples to have a civil marriage in the hop the CofE might catch up in terms of equality. It might not.

          If you have an issue with the CofE not permitting equal marriage – take it up with the CofE, stand at your PCC to sit on Synod or lobby your denomination. Do not blame the government when they are ensuring equality for the gay couples who do wish a civil marriage.

          Why should I wait for my civil marriage to my bf (if I was planning one!) just because the CofE don’t agree with it. The government do and I welcome that.

          The CofE should – but equally I do not think it is the governments place to dictate to the church on who they should/should not marry – take that up with the church.

          1. I did stand on my PCC but the new homophobic female priest made me stand down as I had a boyf…

            The best solution would be to separate church and civil marriage like they do in other countries. Everyone should be able to register their marriage in a registry office, then have a church blessing. However this won’t happen soon as churches will kick up a fuss if they can’t marry people in church.

            I do think, however, that because the CofE is the state church it should do what the state requires of it!

          2. @Jamesh

            You have my deepest sympathy about your problems with the priest. I suspect if you really wanted to you could make a case against the church (although ti could be messy!)

            I agree that the ideal solution would be separation of civil and religious marraige. Its what I would like to see – every couple who wish to and meet the criteria for it (eg not bigamous, consensual etc) having to participate in civil marriage to have it state approved and those who wish religious involvement having that as decision between themselves and their church

            I also think there should be a complete separation of church and state. People should be able to exercise their religious freedoms but they should not be influenced by the state or be an influence on the state.

      2. Anna-Jayne Metcalfe 15 Mar 2012, 7:36pm

        Actually, many non Anglican and Catholic churchs CAN host marriage services.

        My own church (MCC Bournemouth) has married quite a few straight couples in the past year or two, and we want to be able to do the same for same sex couples too.

        With the consultation as it stands we’ll be able to perform civil partnerships but not same sex weddings. In a church where 80%+ of the congregation are LGBT this is quite frankly nuts.

        1. Any church can conduct marriage services. For it to be recognised as a marriage in terms of civil law then the minister conducting the ceremony needs to be recognised by the state as being competent to act as registrar. Predominantly those ministers are only CofE of Church of Wales ministers (although there are some Methodists and others – although very few – who can). If the minister of religion is unable to act as registrar this does not prevent the church holding a marriage, merely requires either a registrar to be present or for a separate civil ceremony at a registry office (which tends to be more common). There is no reason MCC or others could not marry a same sex couple in their religious ceremony and the couple have a separate civil ceremony in a registry office.

    2. To be honest a gay Christian makes as much sense as a vegan who works at KFC.

      1. Another bigot. If you grow up gay and your parents take you to church why can’t you be both gay and christian? Its church-bigots, and atheist-bigots like you, who make people’s lives miserable!

        1. You are very right Jamesh. You obviously face support and attack from Christians due to your orientation and from LGBT due to your faith. That is sad. Good luck.

        2. Surely if you follow a faith you need to abide by its rules?

          Catholic Church doesn’t allow divorce – you don’t see divorced people throwing their toys out of the pram to protest.

          What is next, atheists complaining that they are expected to believe in God to go to Church?

          1. No you don’t need to believe in God to go to church! People go for all sorts of reasons, some like the music, other the stillness.

            And in the christian religion no-one can agree on the “rules.” That’s why there are so many denominations. Some churches have split on the arrangement of the pews!

            Try to be more open-minded: no-one is forcing you to believe. Why feel the need to criticise what people do? I’m not criticising other gay people who want to go clubbing and take drugs all the time!

          2. Oh dear Jamesh. You last sentence about clubbing and ‘taking drugs all the time’ is a bigoted comment I’d expect from a homophobe not from a gay person., Xian or otherwise!

  2. The only one flawed is this man. It is hard enough to get ONE thing going than to argue for two simultaneous pushes.

    Where was his alleged enthusiasm for straight civil partnerships for the last 5 years?

  3. If civil marriages were allowed, wouldn’t it make civil partnerships redundant?

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Mar 2012, 5:17pm

      Probably, but I still think they should be available if gay or straight couples would rather not marry but have a union not associated with it. Personally, I don’t think there would be many straight takers for CPs if it were legal right now. What would be the point unless one is a feminist and doesn’t believe in the patriarchy of religious marriage?

  4. I gave feedback on the consultation this morning, raising the same point as PT: why should certain churches be prohibited from performing same-sex marriages if they want to? Why should the bigoted churches with the loudest voices dictate what more tolerant churches can offer?

  5. I always thought that civil partnerships were created to give gay society “equal” legal rights without pissing the church off – a sort-of halfway house? No gay people that I have ever met were clamouring for “civil partnerships” BEFORE they were created to pacify us, much less straight couples. We wanted MARRIAGE, not this “almost as good as” crap!
    It’s the church who has a patriarchal outlook, not, nor never, the registras who just officiate a legal document.
    If and when we are given equal marriage rights (in it’s legal, not societal, sense), “civil partnerships” become superfluous to all. When he proposed back in 1998, my now husband asked me to marry him, not “will you civilly partner me?”!
    Can’t St. Tatchell take up the straight cause AFTER we’ve won OUR legitimate battle?!

  6. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Mar 2012, 2:20pm

    I was under the impression Lord Ali is proposing an amendment to allow the Unitarians, Quakers, Liberal and Reformed Judaism to hold same-sex marriages which many in the government apparently agree with?

  7. Craig Denney 15 Mar 2012, 2:30pm

    This government has given in already and even if religions want to host gay marriages they cannot. This is not my understanding of marriage equality!

    We’ve been ‘Sold up the garden path’ by this government!

    All that rubbish about equal-marriage at there party conferences was B*llsh*t!

    This is not Equality this is continued discrimination!!!

    1. Don’t be so utterly ridiculous. We’ve had civil partnerships for years and haven’t been continually saying that we were ‘sold up the garden path’ by the Labour party. It’s one step at a time and once civil marriage is in place, marriage in religious institutions will eventually follow. If they do it all in one go, it’ll just end up rocking the boat.

      But do stop the hyperbole – this is something to celebrate.

      1. Craig Denney 15 Mar 2012, 6:14pm

        What happened to Same-Sex Marriage? Now it’s equal civil marriage!
        David Cameron has ‘U-Turned’ like he u-turns with everything else and has sold us out!

        1. I thought this had always been about civil marriage?

          1. Craig Denney 15 Mar 2012, 7:27pm

            They have banned ‘all’ churches from holding Marriages even if they want to or not.

            What is the point of this Consultation when they have already decided the outcome?

      2. Spanner1960 16 Mar 2012, 6:11am

        I have been saying PRECISELY that. Labour sold us a complete lemon.
        As usual, people like you get thrown scraps and leap about celebrating it instead of questioning their motives and demanding that they get it right.

  8. Joel Hutchings 15 Mar 2012, 3:59pm

    I find it hard to feel sorry for the straight couples who are apparently desperate for civil partnerships and don’t think it’s useful to expend energy fighting that battle for them. If they want it, let them fight for it and we (and other movements) can support them, but let us fight OUR battles first before getting involved in securing more rights for the majority!

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Mar 2012, 5:16pm

      This is why I agree with the approach the government is using. Secure civil marriage equality first for gay couples guaranteeing safe passage, then pursue alternate unions for straight couples who choose not to marry after the fact. I would like to see full equality for both orientations but we need to get this done first for gay couples who are currently banned from marriage. Including access to CPs for straight couples right now would only fuel the opposition’s claims that our marrying will diminish marriage if straight couples want a different kind of union. It’s bad enough they’re ranting irrationaly about same-sex civil marriage which has nothing to do with them.

      1. Robert, you are right, of course, but it is frustrating that equality must be brought in with such tip-toeing subservience to the more bigoted religions. It is particularly bizarre that the government is arrogantly refusing to allow freedom of choice to certain religious groups while kowtowing to others.

  9. Civil partnerships should be available for homosexual and heterosexual couples. Civil marriages should be available for homosexual and heterosexual couples. We can’t be doing this “separate but equal” thing. I didn’t work with race, and it doesn’t work with sexual orientation.

    1. Spanner1960 16 Mar 2012, 6:08am

      Precisely, so why have two versions running in parallel? Marriage has worked for everyone for thousands of years, religious and secular alike, so why confuse the issue, increase the administration costs, impose more requirements on every single application form known to man and generally mess with a system that works perfectly well for 99% of the people?

    2. Hmmm, well I guess some people don’t want to make that step towards marriage. I wouldn’t be terribly upset if they got rid of civil partnerships, all I care about is being able to 100% legally and equally marry another woman, and for other people to enter100% legal and equal same sex marriages.

      1. to have 100% legal*

  10. Pardon me if I don’t want to waste a single moment or a single breath getting in to the people squabbling over who their bloody invisible friend likes the most. And spare me the hetero cr@p too – I truly could not give an airborne copulation. Make the marriage law gender blind, the rest is a bloody frippery, only of meaning to the participants and if you stupid sky pixie doesn’t want you to play, then tough, perhaps you need to pick a better fiction.

    1. Valksy

      Weren’t you complaining about transphobia from LGBT people yesterday on a thread?

      Surely faith based phobia is equally repellent?

      1. Drivel. Faith, and the individual interpretations and denominations of it, are an absolutely conscious and one hundred percent deliberate choice that people make. I think you will find that trans people do not choose to be that way. Ignorant false equivalence.

        1. What an odd thing to say. I think most religious people would say that they have no choice in the matter. They have become convinced that there is a God, say, and it would be a lie for them to say otherwise. I guess they could become closet Christians (or whatever), but there’s no matter of choice involved.

          1. When you say ‘have become’ do you not imply that there was a degree of choice? Religion is not something innate like sexuality.

          2. It is perfectly possible to believe in your god and pick a denomination that will embrace you. If you actively participate in, and collaborate with, an institution that considers you an inferior second class citizen then you have made that choice and you must live with. And I would not fight for you to get what you want from them, the LGBT community has enough battles on its hands to get in to fights over the unprovable

      2. Homophobic bigots are usually blinkered to their homophobia.

        Racist bigots are usually blind to their racism.

        Transphobic bigots are usually blind to their transphobia.

        Those who exhibit faith based phobia are also often blinkered to their phobia.

        All bigots often express their revulsion at the suggestion that they are behaving in a similar manner to other bigots as false.

        Disappointed by you Valksy. You usually speak sense. Shame you are blinded by your bigotry.

        1. Thanks Lance. I agree. And I supported Valksy yesterday when it involved prejudice against her. Why can’t people just live and let live? If people want to worship the sky-pixie why is that so offensive to others??

          1. To say that belief is not a choice is ridiculous. Regardless of evidence, one still makes a choice to believe or not. Religionists have caused much suffering to fellow human beings. They are still trying to destroy us and are still trying to force us all to live according to their particular fantasy. I am well aware that not all are such but moderates the garden from which they grow. I grew up in this evil and my recovery was not possible until I was able to overcome fear enough to just hear new ideas! Eventually, I was truly Born Again, in a very real way, because I chose not to believe at all. I found peace and joy and became myself.

          2. To say that belief is not a choice is ridiculous. Regardless of evidence, one still makes a choice to believe or not. Religionists have caused much suffering to fellow human beings. They are still trying to destroy us and are still trying to force us all to live according to their particular fantasy. I am well aware that not all are such but moderates the garden from which they grow. I grew up in this evil and my recovery was not possible until I was able to overcome fear enough to just hear new ideas! Eventually, I was truly Born Again, in a very real way, because I chose not to believe at all. I found peace and joy and became myself. As a non believer.

          3. I don’t care if people worship the sky pixie. Hell, I don’t care if they decide to worship their own nosehair. BUT – and this is often the issue for organised religion (which, by its nature must recruit in order to consolidate wealth and power) is that it sticks its fingers in to education, sciences, social policy and the law. The individual may worship whatever they want, but they have no right to try and coerce me to do so too, or force me to comply with their own dogma. And the leading force opposing LGBT equality (and in many places, safety) is organised religion.

        2. I have held a similar view to Valsky for eyars-that it’s like jew wanting to join the BNP of NP. However, just because it revolts me doesn’t mean I want to stop anyone else having that sort of faith. In fact I don’t think I can claim one atheist friend! (I am but am also a Dualist so spirituality is not OUT.)
          I think for me the problem comes when religionists demand we respect their belief and not just their right to believe. I can’t respect what I find to be silly or wicked, stupid or dangerous. This doesn’t make me a bigot unless you redefine the word. I am not at all offended by people’s belief in God. I am deeply offended by their actions based upon the belief when those actions are harmful and not when the actions are neutral or good.

        3. Let’s make it very clear – there is a difference between personal faith which belongs to the individual, and organised religion. Your faith beings and ends with you. Organised religion, by its nature, must be dominant and I resist that attempt at dominance over those who do not believe in it. And frankly, if you are not aware that the primary reason the LGBT don’t have full rights, and in many cases around the world, guarantees of basics like safety and liberty, is organised religion.

  11. Interesting to read the Telegraphs comment.

    It appears they assert that the rank homophobia being used by the religious extremists is the fault of Lynne Featherstone.

    They seem to suggest that because the Equalities Minister proposes improving equality for gay people that it is her fault others respond with dark age homophobia.

    Thats about as sensible as saying that when the US introduced inter-racial marriage that the politicians who sought to ensure fairness were to blame for the racial violence of the KKK.

    Come on Telegraph, you may be biased and have your policy dictated to you by the RC church. You may be in the pocket of C4M. But surely even you can come up with a better argument than that!

  12. Why is it that UK civil partnerships exclude straight couples, incidentally? New Zealand’s civil unions don’t. As for religious same-sex marriages, I agree with those others that want to marry withion an inclusive denomination or faith- that option should be open to them…

  13. Can’t PT campaing for a real alternative to marriage open to all. The British CP is a copy of marriage. Many straight and gay people don’t want to make that full commitment and would like something more like the French PACS…something which has fairly good rights attached to it but is simpler to get out of and you can decide how your assets are split and where they are going to go to when you die etc..

    CP and marriages are too similar, campaing for an alternative type of union please!

    I hope the govt is going to eventually give us religious marriags and not do a daft thing like allowing churches to perform civil marriages as long as they don’t have any religious aspect to civil marriages in a religious setting!!!…

  14. Spanner1960 16 Mar 2012, 6:02am

    For once I agree with Peter, this has been yet another fudge. My criticisms are:

    a) Religious ceremonies are banned where they should be allowed where all parties consider them acceptable.

    2) Civil Partnerships will continue to exist where they serve no purpose, as civil marriages replace them as a secular alternative, (and heterosexual people are still forbidden anyway)

    3)They intend to charge a fee to ‘upgrade’ those in CP’s when the government were the people that instigated this unwanted compromise in the first plcae, and so should be held responsible to give us what we should rightfully have in the first place.


    Within the midst of an offensive report in the Telegraph there is a poll being run on marriage (please vote and demonstrate the strength of feeling!).

    Within the article, the RC church are at it again and saying gay relationships are merely friendships. Devalue, dehumanise, substandard treatment – the usual rhetoric of the Archbishops.


  16. It might indeed be better to allow heterosexual couples to form civil partnerships – and to do so in place of civil marriage, which should cease to exist. All civil marriages should automatically be converted into civil partnerships.
    Religious married couples could be given the option of converting to civil partnerships or to relinquish all the tax and other privileges of being married.
    If the churches wanted to continue having ceremonies to solemnize civil partnerships, they would of course be free to do so.

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