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Lynne Featherstone: Churches will not be sued under gay civil marriage proposals

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  1. I’m fine with this. Whatever it takes to get round the bloody Lords Spiritual. We knew they would demand an exemption, just as they did with the Equality Act 2010.

    If you go to church, and your church won’t marry you then perhaps it is time to find someone else who will?

    1. Bisexual woman in Edinburgh 25 Apr 2012, 6:43pm

      The problem is that several faiths want to be able to marry same-sex couples, but with the proposed legislation, would be barred from doing so. Featherstone appears to be fudging the facts: letting the Catholics continue to refuse to marry same-sex couples (or divorce mixed-sex couples, come to that) is one thing, but not allowing the Quakers, Unitarians, MCCs, Liberal Jews or Reform Jews to marry same-sex couples, despite their wishing to do so, is another matter entirely.

      1. Hodge Podge 25 Apr 2012, 7:20pm

        Indeed, getting religious same sex marriage is a matter of religious freedom. (And so is letting churches set their own rules, sadly even if they’re daft).

        (When did comment rating break? Given the sluggish rate of redesign on this site, I’m surprised they haven’t commented out the thumbs. If you need a new web developer, I’m free from june 7th :) )

      2. Exactly. Tired of some Christian groups thinking they speak for all people of faith. Why should other people of faith suffer for Catholic intransigence?

  2. One can’t sue a Church anyway . It’s not a person.

    1. It has legal personality.In the same way as you can sue a fire service, NHS Trust, John Lewis’, Tesco or any other organisation – you can also sue a church.

      However, I believe that this is reasonable. The government has a role in religious freedom as well as it does in other human rights.

      No church should be compelled to offer same sex marriage – although it would be useful for those that wish to, to be able to do so.

      I believe the uk gov ernment would contest this if it were ever taken to Strasbourg.

    2. “One can’t sue a Church anyway . It’s not a person.”

      Really Jim? That’s just embarrassing. Did you even bother to research that comment? A company is not a person, but you can sue that.

      Of course you can sue a church, as Stu says, its a legal entity with a duty of care, and of course it can be held legally responsible under tort law. Head out of the bible and read a real book, there’s a good chap…..

  3. I wouldn’t have any sympathy with any gay Christian who sued their church because they won’t marry gay people.

    None at all.

  4. Robert in S. Kensington 25 Apr 2012, 4:36pm

    Great! I love Lynne Featherstone. I still think the Unitarians, Quakers, Liberal and Reformed Judaism should be allowed to participate even though this is not included in the consultation. I don’t understand why it wasn’t since it’s quite clear that no religious denomination would be compelled to officiate same-sex civil marriages. At least have an opt-in clause.

  5. Is Ms Featherstone able to reassure anyone that there’s not gonna be any prosecution in case of a Church not marrying couples because of the colour of their skin? Did anyone think she could realistically do it?
    The answer to both questions
    -> Hot Air.

    1. So there is clear documentary evidence that some religious groups have been concerned about being sued in relation to their views that they should not conduct marriages of same sex couples.

      Where has there been any suggestion that a church in the UK has suggested they may not marry a couple due to their ethnicity? If there has been some claims that this may occur – please supply verifiable evidence.

      I suspect there is no such verifiable evidence and it is pure maliciousness and bitterness from Beberts because his beloved Labour party failed to ensure equality for LGBT people and now a coalition of LibDems and Conservatives are introducing it.

      Beberts can’t stand Conservatives so much that he is prepared to damage equality for LGBT people to try and maintain his argument that Tories could never introduce LGBT firendly legislation. His antipathy and hatred of the Tories is more important to him than human rights or equality.

      Shame on him

      1. How can someone call “LGBT friendly” the idea of locking gay people out of Equality legislation? This could only happen in a mind blown by the hot air of the ConDemned.

        1. What are you talking about, Beberts?

          Do you call ensuring same sex couples can marry LGBT friendly? I do

          Do you call removing convictions from the criminal records linked to offences of consensual gay sex that have since become legal as LGBT friendly? I do

          Lets think, who was it who gave the precedent of exclusions for religious bodies under the Equalities Act? Mr Blairs government.

          Was that LGBT friendly? Not in the slightest.

          So precisely what do you mean “locking gay people out of equality legislation” – explain and define what you mean.

          1. Before anything, you need to define […ensuring same sex couples can marry…]. How can you “ensure” gay couples can marry by preventing them using Equality legislation? Do you “ensure” interracial couples can marry by preventing them using Equality legislation? No denomination is allowed to discriminate according to skin colour, why should sexual orientation be treated any differently?

          2. Which bit of equality legislation are you talking about – be specific rather than be cryptic

            I note you do not respond to comments about the precedence set by your beloved Labour party.

          3. Labour worked to outmaneuver Tories homophobic antics. The Tories and LibDems could have already introduced equality legislation. Labour wouldn’t be against them. The LibDems wouldn’t either. Who else but the Tories themselves would be working against equality? UKIP? BNP? Those are marginal parties. It doesn’t take a genius to conclude where the anti-gay forces are really resting… and who are being fooled…

          4. I note Beberts, that again you refuse to answer questions despite two people asking you.

            Perhaps that is because you are talking sh!te.

        2. Berbets you say they could have already introduced the legislation. You are clearly unaware of parliamentary procedure. There is currently a consultation happening. After the consultation a draft bill is created and read out to parliament, they then have a committee stage where they make changes, it is then read out again where people ask questions and then its is amended and read out a third time where people vote on it. If passed it then goes to the house of lords and if they vote no the whole procedure starts again, and on next time its in house of lords if vote no it goes around again and on the third time it bypasses the house of lords and gets royal assent. each denial by house of lords delays implementing it by a year and guess what? church leaders have seats in the House of lords so they will reject equality legislation, they almost always have done. This is why theres the estimate for 3 years at most for when it can be introduced it doesn’t happen just like that.

          1. Why do you think most people are fuming with what the Tories are doing? They are the only party able and willing to block and/or derail equality legislation. The other two main parties have already proven to be progressive and the purpose of the current useless consultation is to delay the process. CallMeDave has already accepted that equality may not happen under his leadership. What else do you need to know?

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 25 Apr 2012, 6:06pm

      Do you know any religious denomination in the UK that actually discriminates against a person’s skin colour in regard to marriage? I don’t so your point is meaningless. None of the ten countries where equal civil marriage is legal force any denomination to participate and neither will the UK. The government consultation has made that quite clear and transparent from the outset, so have Theresa May, David Cameron and Nick Clegg as have several Anglican bishops supporting us, although I don’t know why some MPs need reassuring, assuming they’ve read the strategy set forth in the consultation.

      1. Does it matter if a denomination discriminates against a person’s skin colour in the UK or on the Moon? I don’t think so. Some appointed minister for “Equality” nonetheless, seems to be willing to lock some people out of Equality legislation, just to appease to those who are well intent in discriminating against them.

        1. Which denomination is discriminating on skin colour – provide documentary examples.

          Oh you can’t. What a shame.

          Beberts as usual talks out of his @rse

          1. Many denominations have discriminated through the centuries. Do you doubt History can repeat itself?

          2. In that instance. Currently – yes I strongly doubt it. Those who present it as possible have subvertive reasons for doing so. What are yours, Beberts?

          3. What is subversive about analyzing history and presenting possible future outcomes?

          4. When looking back at historic contributions on PN comments – its clear to see you will manipulate so called “facts” and “history” to suit your partisan views and twist and manipulate what others say.

            You also continually evade questions put to you – as you have done repeatedly on this series of comments.

          5. Will, i have made no attempt to distance myself from partisanship, if that’s what you are trying to say. Historic facts are analized and interpreted, or if you prefer “manipulated”, to suit someone’s views. That’s what history specialists do on a daily basis. If you believe in some kind of purism in the field of history, if you believe in neutral history, you’re welcome to prove its existence. The World is made of 7 billion people, not 70 million. The former is 100 times the size of the latter. Everyone is free to play with those numbers and take their own conclusions.

          6. @Beberts

            So shall we take that as a no to the offer to answer the questions that have been put to you?

          7. People who think questions haven’t been answered should feel free to ask as many times as they wish. People should also feel free to answer the questions posited to them as many times they wish. Can I guarantee people will feel satisfied with the questions and/or answers? No, I can’t.

  6. A necessary statement, though it won’t stop many claiming that they will be sued.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 25 Apr 2012, 7:38pm

      Of course not, they choose only to believe what they want because they really have no argument. If Jesus Christ himself appeared to them and told them they wouldn’t believe it. Bigotry is wired in their defective brains.

  7. Gay couples who want to marry on a religious premiss cant sue the church, but can churches who want to be able to marry that gay couple sue the government?

    1. Yeap. Why the government don’t just do an “opt-in” which allows people to do it if they wish to I don’t know.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 25 Apr 2012, 6:27pm

      Probably not, Alex. As I said in my previous statement, the consultation should provide at least an opt-in for those who want to participate. In fact, I think it would take the wind out of the sails of those who don’t, show them up for what they are, bigots and not behaving in a very ‘christian’ manner. I think those who want to support us should petition the government formally.

  8. Now this part of the discussion needs to be broadcasted on the news channels so that people realise that their churches are lying to them about being sued. Will it though? Doubt it not with the current bias on the news channels.

  9. Personally I think that the homophobic elements of the Church’s concerns are quite realistic: once marriages between same-sex couples are legal, refusal to conduct them would be equivalent to refusing to conducting marriages between non-whites after racial segregation became illegal. Prior to Wilberforce, the Church used the Bible to support the continuation of slavery. Featherstone’s ‘reassurance’ is the equivalent of saying. ‘don’t worry, when we end slavery in the British Empire, you Christians can keep your slaves because it says slavery’s fine in the Bible’….

    1. the church can still refuse to marry any heterosexual couple that comes to them and the same would be true for a gay couple and her words ARE important because its only for CIVIL marriage at the moment not RELIGIOUS.

      Personally i think the church are being willfully stupid they know what it says and they are just preying (pun intended) on those that haven’t read it and are too stupid to believe everything they are told and to go read it themself.


    This website from MP David Davies also has letters and responses from the govt, equalities commission and stonewall saying none of them would pursue a legal case against the church..

    They’re usual statements from LF..

  11. So if you want to be married in church, you have a civil partnership. Thankfully, judges don’t get up in the morning to listen to that sort of crap.

    1. “So if you want to be married in church, you have a civil partnership. ”


      Can you translate this into English for me?

  12. I’d also like government assurances that not a penny of my tax money goes to fund ‘faith schools’ and that religious cults will be taxed like any other multi-national company.

    1. That would be wonderful. If they want to meddle in politics, let them pay their fair share of taxes.

  13. I don’t think churches should be forced to marry anyone – but I also think that those who wish to marry same sex couples should be allowed to do so

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