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Editorial: Thanks Home Secretary for coming @Out4Marriage, now come out for religious same-sex marriage!

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  1. This isn’t a bold statement, don’t be ridiculous. She’s the Equalities Minister! How could she NOT back marriage equality in the present climate without being seen as even more of a joke than she already is? Stop fawning over a speech! How cheap are you?

    How about she repudiates ALL of her past homophobic record, rather than some of it? You may be content to ignore her past homophobia with a hand wave, but I’m not convinced she has made such a complete 180 after so much bigotry

    How about she explains why we’re consulting on our rights rather than just granting them?

    How about she explains why my religious rights are violated by a religious marriage ban?

    How about she explains why our rights are up for a free vote? Why isn’t this a 3 line whip? If the Tory party considers this a matter of human rights then it should be.

    1. Indeed her position would be untenable if she didn’t say what she was saying. She strikes me as an insincere snake, a typical HR bullsh*tter who would say anything to keep her job. Nevertheless, the alternative is that she says the opposite. Would you prefer that?

      I don’t really care whether she personally supports equal marriage or not, but if she ends up convincing other people along the way, and if her support has some sort of effect on a positive voting pattern, then what’s the problem?

    2. Ian Simper 25 May 2012, 2:09pm

      Why can’t you just give her credit for what she’s done ,why rake uyp the past. No wonder there are so many people out there who are homophobic. Just lighten up.

  2. Equal marriage, religious and civil, is Liberal Democrat policy. If the draft bill does not contain provision for this, then Lib Dem MPs are ready and willing to submit amendments.

    1. Religious marriage equality is 100% dependent on whether the religious cult in question supports it.

      Straight couples don’t have religious marriage equality – catholic divorces cannot remarry in a catholic cult building for example.

      The religious cults which support equality are so tiny, and so few in number, that is simply muddies the water on the issue.

      Remember that the vast majority of religious cults will continue to oppose equality even after the introduction of civil marriage equality.

      1. However, and I think we should prioritise equal civil marriage, but in discussion of equal same sex religious marriage … surely the goal should be to not legally restrict those religious organisations who wish to go so from being able to marry same sex couples?

        1. Yes but it is unhelpful in the extreme I suspect to even consider religious marriage equality before we have even achieved civil marriage equality.

          Bringing religious cults into a discussion on civil marriage equality will only reinforce their sick beliefs that their superstitions should be imposed on all of society.

          1. Not sure its unhelpful in the extreme – it is arguably (and I agree with this opinion) an unhelpful distraction from the goal of equal civil marriage and when equal civil marriage is achieved, then this is a stepping stone to ensuring religious equality for Unitarians, Quakers, Liberal Jews and others who wish to marry same sex couples. Fair?

      2. The govt doesn’t stop straight couples from getting married in the church or the registry office. Both are legal options to them. Let the church continue to decide who it wishes to marry but remove the legal restrictions for those who want to perform same sex marriages. I’m not convinced leaving out religious same sex marriage is going to get us civil marriage. The argument is over the word marriage.

        1. There is no distinction in European law between Religious and civil marriage. The government is not in a position to make the promise it is making. Marriage equality will be forced onto the church. The Church will have to comply or dissent. The Church regularly declines to marry heterosexual couples in certain circumstances. The marriage sacrament of the Church will become illegal as soon as same sex marriage is introduced

          1. Marriage is not governed by European law.

            As for English law the Marriage Act of 1836 the requirement that the ceremony take place in a religious forum was removed, and registrars were given the authority to register marriages not conducted by a religious official. These registry office marriages were referred to in case law as civil marriages. There is a distinction in law.

          2. “The Church regularly declines to marry heterosexual couples in certain circumstances.”

            On what grounds? And why have they never been successfully challenged legally about their apparent dicrimination I wonder?

          3. Graham

            Are the church legally challenged about their refusal to marry heterosexual couples?

            If not, why should this change when a same sex couple is refused access?

      3. dAVID, we will get equal civil marriage either way. Either the Bill will contain support for religious equal marriage, in which case people who don’t want it will attempt to amend that out, or it will not, in which case people who do want it will attempt to amend it in. Those amendments will either pass or fail, but the bill overall will continue.

        1. I suspect you are right.

          I do think civil equal marriage is easier to bring in through parliament without the obstacle of religious issues.

          Maybe thats a slightly cowardly approach – I call it pragmatic.

          1. Spanner1960 27 May 2012, 10:26am

            If they do decide to force the church at a later date I would consider it very wrong. Much that I despise the church and its teachings, they should have the right to refuse. To sneak the legislation in to do it later is, in my opinion, despicable.

          2. Spanner1960

            I would also disagree with forcing churches to carry out marriages (whether same sex couple or opposite sex couple) which they felt they could not support (for whatever reason).

            However, I also disagree with barring those churches who wish to carry out marriages of same sex couples from being able to do so.

            Given that (please correct me if I am wrong) its exceptionally rare for a heterosexual couple who are unable to marry in a church (due to reasons of the churches own views) to take this to court and challenge it, and even rarer for the case to lead to success in the court – I doubt there would be many (if any) successful challenges of courts who wish to bar same sex couples marrying in their ceremonies.

  3. Religion is so tiresome. In my day to day life I never meet religious people, and yet whoever they are, and wherever they are, they seem to be the most divisive group of people ever. Every single political issue that centers around common sense, equality, peace, happiness, dignity and a myriad of other positive things seems to have religious people as its devil’s advocate?!

    Abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, equal marriage. All hot topics, and the only people who protest against ANY of those things do so for religious or “moral” reasons (often morals that are borne out of religion).

    I don’t care for religious equal marriage and I think all of the money and power that gay rights groups and the gay media have should be put behind anti-bullying campaigns, not fighting for the Quakers’ right to marry same sex couples.

    1. Let’s not bung all “religious” people into the same category…the ones that do come out in favour of equal marriage are good guys , it’s not just the Quakers, there’s even anglicans and catholics among the good guys (admittedly not the leaderships of these religions).

      I’m not quite sure religious org are getting that much money and power to fight for religious same sex marriage but surely the fight is for equality and that includes religious same sex marriages.

      If you hadn’t noticed there a fair amount of bullying going on at the moment from the anti-gay marriage brigade. Only recently the catholic schools were telling children under 16yrs to sign the C4M petition. Many of the MPs are saying that we can’t have gay marriage becuase it would mean that children will have to be taught about gay couples and how harmful that would be to the family and bringing up of children. Get real…we are being bullied becuase we can’t get married.

      1. “the fight is for equality and that includes religious same sex marriages.”

        well here’s an idea.

        Introduce same sex civil marriage equality and everyone benefits.

        Once that is achieved it will be much easier to tie up loose ends like allowing those minor religious cults to perform same sex religious weddings in their cult buildings if they want.

        Religious marriage equality is a vastly more minor issue than civil marriage equality

        1. I think its definitely a small issue – but we are fighting for minorities in any case.

          That said – I agree introduce civil marriage and everyone can benefit and I would suspect religious marriage restrictions on same sex couples would be removed in a relatively short period of time when society has accepted the fairness, honesty and integrity of equal civil marriage.

  4. I am a committed & practcing Xtian.
    What has bugged me, viewing from outside the UK, is the apparent lack of historical perspective within both the pro- and anti- combattants.
    For believers, marriage is a sacrament and an intrinsic part of the belief system: that is NOT the same as CIVIL arrangements for the ordering of Society within the Civil Law.
    I am not an historian and what follows may well, therefore,be deemed simplistic by those who are:
    For reasons of widespread public illiteracy and innumeracy in the past, the Sovereign and his/her government handed over the keeping of public records of births, marriages, deaths, wills and inheritence to parishes [and in part also to consistitory courts.]
    This is how Parish Priests evolved also into registrars, by what amounts to historical accident of practicality.
    In much of mainland Europe [certainly in France] to gain the necessary legal privileges, rights, responsibilies of of ‘coupledom’ it is necessary for the parties concerned to sign

    1. on the dotted line in front of, in France, the local mayor of the ‘commune’ at the Mairie or Hotel de Ville (Town Hall). If that couple then chooses to hold a religious [sacramental]celebration, it is entirely up to them.
      This arrangement surely should be the aim of Society and yes, I am aware that the French have yet to sort out same-sex marriage, but their arguement benefits from a much clearer starting-point, WITHOUT the possibilities of waters being muddied by muddle-headed pontifications by some whose shadow barely crosses the threshold of a church of other place of worship, from one year’s end to the next.
      [Incidentally, did anyone note the Archb.of Canter.’s remark during the Blessing Ceremony of Charles & Camilla in St-George’s, windsor? :”Charles and Camila, you are married in the eyes of the State……..” (my italics, or would be is this page were so formated)

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 25 May 2012, 9:19am

        Your point being?

        1. His (good) point is that if we had separated religious and civil marriage in the UK, with only those marriages in registry offices being recognised by the State, then marriage equality would be far easier to achieve as the religious and civil institutions are clearly separate. In France and many other European countries, if someone gets married in a church it won’t be recognised until they have undergone a second, civil ceremony (though most people do it the other way around, with the civil one first).

          Indeed, I think this model is the ideal. Everyone has the same civil ceremony recognised by the government with the religious ceremony later for those who want it.

    2. – BEGIN RANT —

      Being a “practising” Christian, one assumes that you slap your wife about and stone your kids, and if not WHY NOT.

      It says so in your XIAN manual.

      Or are you one of those cherry pickers of the “good” book, picking only those bits that suit you.

      How anyone can claim to be a proper functional human and adhere to that tomb of poison I do not know.

      The sooner the whole sorry fairy story is confined to the bin of history the better.

      — END RANT —

      PS. Say hello to the man in the sky for me……… ROFL.

      .

      1. I am a proper functional human being and i do not slap my wife or stone my kids. I don’t think Jesus required us to do that. Giving the bible context might enable you to look at it in a different way. Cherry picking can work both ways

        1. Indeed cherry picking can work both ways – glad you acknowledge that some Christians do cherry pick from the Bible – particularly on the issue of any form of sexuality.

          1. Yes i think it can be difficult to interpret in a blunt way because we have to take the cultural context into consideration. People exegete the bible in a way that suits them. We only see dimly and we have to acknowledge that in all humility. But there seems to be some deeper principles at work other than what the apostle Paul said.

          2. @Graham

            I suspect you find, shall we say, more meaning, in the Bible than I do. I find it interesting as a sociological and partial historical account of how some people lived and interesting stories and poetry.

            To try and understand what is being said by the storytellers its important to consider the historical context and the etymology of the words that were in the original translation.

            Unfortunately, on both sides of the argument regarding the meaning of passages such forms of analysis and consideration can often be absent.

            I agree many of the Pauline comments are not as literal as some would have them understood – I would also say that the vocabulary used in English translations are, in some areas, based on incorrect interpretation and thus the meaning is twisted and distorted.

  5. “Today, it was revealed in the House of Commons, that backbench Conservative MPs will be given a ‘free vote’

    not only backbenchers????

  6. Whilst my personal priority is equal civil marriage, I do acknowledge that religious freedom is not curtailed by entitling those churches (and other religious organisations) that wish to from conducting the marriage of same sex couples. Indeed, religious freedom of those churches (and other religious organisations) who do feel they wish to support their LGBT members in marriage are having their religious freedom curtailed if the law prohibits them from doing so.

  7. I have never heard of official government policy being a matter of a free vote before. Weird.

    As for the proposals for civil marriage only, these would actually reduce the rights of gay couples who belong to religious denominations that currently celebrate civil unions. It interferes with their religious freedom, if they are not allowed to continue after gay marriage is introduced. Of course, those denominations that do not wish to celebrate it for their gay members, should not be forced to, and they should be reassured on that point.

    1. So to protect the ‘religious freedom’ of the tiny number of LGBT people who belong to gay-friendly cults, you think that the currently civil marriage equality efforts should be stopped?

      That’s an appalling idea.

      Religion has NOTHING to do with civil marriage equality.

      If after civil marriage equality is introduced then those LGBT religious cultists who want to get their union blessed in their cult buildings can continue to do so.

      It’s worth repeating: religion has NOTHING to do with civil marriage equality.

    2. Nombie

      Many issues aree subject to free votes – examples include:

      Hunting, Abortion, Death Penalty, Equalisation of Age of Consent, Sex Education, Alcohol regulation, Control of Drugs, Euthanasia etc etc

      1. Spanner1960 27 May 2012, 10:28am

        And then when the vote doesn’t go the way they want it, they just invoke the parliament act, don’t they Mr Bliar?

        1. I was referring to the House of Commons about free votes.

          In terms of the Parliament Act – it is a democratic tool that was voted in by peers and MPs.

  8. Obviously I agree that same sex couples should be allowed enter into a civil marriage (and fhat opposite sex couples should be allowed enter a CP.

    It is unhelpful however to bring religious marriages into the discussion at this point.

    The vast majority of religious cults remain opposed marriage equality.

    Why even discuss religious cults at this point? They will remain as monstrously bigotted as they have always been.

    Civil marriage equality benefits all LGBT people. Religious marriage equality ONLY benefits the small number of adherents of those religious cults who support equality.

    We need civil marriage equality. Religious marriage equality (for the minor cults which support it) is merely a loose end that can be resolved at a later date. Don’t let this minor issue, derail plans for equality.

    And remember the VAST majority of religious cults will continue to deny us our humanity even after civil marriage equality is introduced.

    1. We have CPs done in religious settings so they could at least allow civil marriages in religious settings.

      Would there really be more noise if they just sorted out religious same sex marriages now. After all the opposition is coming from churches even though we are only being offered civil marriage. In fact without sorting out the religious marriage legal side properly they’re always going to object and say we’re all going to take them to European courts.

      It’s a loose legal end which remains unanswered, it’s confusing and it’s incomplete when it comes to equality and anyway the opposition is just as loud even if they include relgiious marriages or not. Would religious same sex marriage really make any difference to the arguments, I think it would add clarity.

      1. “Would there really be more noise if they just sorted out religious same sex marriages now.”

        Considering the grotesque homophobia of most religious cults and their twisted beliefs that their cult should be allowed impose their superstitions on the rest of society, the answer is clearly ‘YES’.

        They’ll go on and on and on and on about how their religious freedom is being curtailed.

        By focussing solely on civil marriage equality it is quite easy to reply to these cults ‘Civil marriage equality is none of your business, so shut up and start paying tax’.

        Religious marriage equality will affect only a tiny number of LGBT people.

        1. Whilst I wholeheartedly support my LGBT friends who are religious and the desire of those who wish to be able to have the ability to marry in their regular place of worship (or a place of worship); I do wonder whether that may be a potential obstacle to equal civil marriage that is unnecessary at this time. I see equal civil marriage as a stepping stone to truly equal marriage (for those religious organisations who wish to participate).

          In any event one of my gay Christian friends is very happy to have a civil marriage and a celebration and blessing in his church – he will be married and the church will celebrate that.

          I do think once civil marriage has been bedded in and seen as a reasonable component of an equal and fair society that religious marriage (for those organisations and couples who seek it) will inevitably follow – although I do not see this as a prerequisite for all religious organisations to follow.

        2. “By focussing solely on civil marriage equality it is quite easy to reply to these cults ‘Civil marriage equality is none of your business,…”

          But that , in fact, hasn’t happenned, has it? It hasn’t made one bit of difference just saying equal civil marriage , the opposition is the same, the amount of noise is the same and according to them marriage is their “business”. The fact that the govt hasn’t sorted out the issue and just brushed it under the carpet causes more problems rather than less….how the F#$K are they going to say that the Quakers and gays are not going to take them to Europe if they’re not allowed the same as straights or other churches. Giving same sex marriage with opt outs is much more likely to succeed and convince people.

          1. Well they do go on (and on, and on ad infinitum), those religious cults.

            Even considering religious cults at this point will make their bigotry and undemocratic meddling even more pronounced.

            Allowing religious marriage equality is a loose end (affecting a tiny number of people) that can be very easily sorted out at a later point.

            And I am very suspicious of the motives of the quakers and unitarians and liberal jews, arguing for religious marriage equality before we have even achieved civil marriage equality.

            They seem more than willing to throw the entire LGBT community under the bus to suit their own religious agendas.

            Then again they are religions, so even if they are gay-friendly, they clearly think they should be allowed to meddle in public policy.

  9. A far more important issue to the LGBT community (and the rest of society) than whether religious cults support religious marriage equality is the fact that religious cults are tax-exempt.

    It would be FAR more useful to get these cult groups to start paying tax on their vast incomes.

    1. I think to say that is more important to the entire LGBT “community” is disingenuous.

      The are LGBT Christians and Jews for whom I think the issue of being able to marry where they worship would have primacy for them, their family and at least some of their friends – in their view.

      There are LGBT people for whom appearance of equality, human rights and religious freedom of ‘churches’ such as Unitarians and Liberal Jews may either hold primacy or equal value to issues of taxation for religious organisations.

      There are others for whom taxation may be more important than the issues of equality for some LGBT people.

      1. “The are LGBT Christians and Jews for whom I think the issue of being able to marry where they worship would have primacy for them, their family and at least some of their friends – in their view.”

        Well at the present time LGBT christians and jews are able to marry nowhere. IN fact no same sex couple is allowed to marry anywhere in the UK.

        And the unitarians, quakers and liberal jews are very small in number – the larger cults – catholicism, cult of England, islam, hinduism etc remain as bigotted as ever.

        I would ask that unitarians and quakers and liberal jews keep quiet about religious marriage equality until AFTER civil marriage equality has been introduced.

        By going on about how they want the right to marry in their cult buildings, before we have even achieved civil marriage equality, they are promoting an environment where the religious cults feel they have the right to meddle in our civil and human rights.

        Civil marriage equality has NOTHING to do with religion.

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 25 May 2012, 12:31pm

    Though I support religious marriages for gay couples. I do think it’s better to leave it until after equal civil marriage becomes law. It’s bad enough with the right wing religious nutters already claiming civil marriage as their business, why make it worse right now? We’re not Norway, Sweden or Denmark, would that we were.

    Religious same-sex marriage will come eventually once society has realised that equal marriage hasn’t harmed or affected anyone’s marriage in the same manner in which CPs are now able to have a religious celebration.

  11. My head is exploding after reading the rants, the sub-texts and etc.
    I am a Lib Dem. I am also gay. To add t that, I am in a CP with my ‘husband’…ahh this is where I have the problem – he is not called ‘husband’ – he is a ‘partner’ (excuse me while i copiously vomit in the corner of the room – my partner?? I detest that phrase!)

    He is my husband and this is why I want marriage to be permitted for same-sex couples. Civil? Religious? Both! Religion DOES NOT own marriage, despite all the balderdash the nutty christians will come up with to support their right to own the title

    I am pleased that the Homes Secretary has come out in support of marriage equality. She is not homophobic in the least and despite my dislike of her politics (and atrocious dress sense), she was voting in the past, in line with the party whip which was expected and demanded.

    I want to be married to my husband – thats all there is to it.

    1. Well said Chris.

    2. Spanner1960 27 May 2012, 10:29am

      I think you have the entire argument in a nutshell there.

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