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Evening Standard backs religious marriage rights for gay couples

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  1. There is no reason that LGBT people should not be able to marry.

    The options for that marriage should be a choice that the individual couple concerned is able to make.

    Currently, a heterosexual couple is able to choose a registry office wedding, hotel/country house wedding (or similar) or a relgiious ceremony (which in some instances may require either a separate civil ceremony or registrar to be present and in some cases not).

    Currently, LGBT people have none of these choices.

    I want equality.

    Equal but separate is not equal. Therefore, saying that a gay couple can marry but not have the same choices as a heterosexual couple is not equality and is not fair.

    I would not choose a church wedding – but that does not mean I should not have the option. Of course, it should be for the church whether to marry me or not (as it would be if I were marrying a woman) if I made that choice. I should have the option, though.

    Barring religious organisations who wish to exercise their

    1. religious freedom by marrying same sex couples that they support is both denying choices to LGBT people and denying religious freedom of both the LGBT couple and the religious organisation that wishes to support them.

      Some people have said that the issue of a same sex couple wishing to marry in a religious ceremony or the religious organisation seeking to support them having their religious freedom denied is a triviality. I would never call equality of civil or human rights a triviality – whether they affected me or not. Others might conceive that other peoples rights are trivial – that would not (in my view) be a very humane viewpoint or one that engages with the issue of equality or humanity.

      If we want equality – it has to be full equality. Partial equality by defintion is inequality. It should not matter whether these rights affect us – it should be about justice and integrity.

      I appreciate both the Standards position and Clegg, Herbert and Cooper for supporting it.

  2. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Jul 2012, 5:15pm

    Thank you and well done, Evening Standard. Full equality means without exceptions. Everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation should be granted equal rights, no relegating any grouip to a separate but equal status which is what CPs do. Some may argue it’s a question of semantics, it isn’t and shouldn’t be taken too lightly.

    Those who don’t want marriage, don’t have one. If gay couples prefer a CP, fine, but don’t deny me the right to marry, be it in a civil or religious ceremony. I wouldn’t want a CP and I wouldn’t want a religious marriage but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t support those who want either. I most certainly do. My marrying the person I love only affects me and the one I’m committing to, nobody else. The argument against equal marriage, civil or religious is without any merit or foundation.

  3. Omar Kuddus 5 Jul 2012, 5:16pm

    Gaay, Straight. Black, White. MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT

  4. Omar Kuddus 5 Jul 2012, 5:17pm

    Gay, Straight. Black, White. MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT

  5. Like so many of my peers, I grew up in the belief that my relationships, indeed my identity were somehow not as worthwhile or valid as those of my brother and sister, friends, or neighbours – simply because I’m gay. Much has changed: I can no longer be sacked just for being myself, I wouldn’t be charged with a public order offence for holding my partner’s hand in public, and most wonderfully of all I can be a father.

    There has been much (deliberate?) confusion over what the proposals actually include. Let’s be clear: they explicitly exclude religious marriage. It’s a vitally important matter of religious freedom for any faith to be able to refuse to celebrate a couple’s love and commitment to one another, however unusual that attitude might seem. Conversely, those religions who do want to celebrate same-sex marriages – including the Unitarians, Liberal and Reform Judaism and the Quakers – should not be prevented from doing so. Unfortunately the current proposals won’t even allow that

    1. despite a recent YouGov poll for Stonewall’s Living Together report showing that three in five people of faith actually support equal marriage.

      Having initially opposed the introduction of civil partnerships, some opponents of equal civil marriage appear to have found a new enthusiasm for them. They say that CPs ‘offer all the same rights and protections’ as marriage. There are two holes in this argument. Firstly, CPs do not offer ‘all’ the same rights as marriage – for example, should I die tomorrow, my civil partner would receive a far smaller pension than would my hypothetical wife based on exactly the same contributions. Secondly, and more tellingly, to argue that marriage and civil partnerships are essentially the same leaves only one reason for keeping them separate: discrimination against same-sex couples.

      Perhaps the most offensive of all the arguments advanced by opponents of equal marriage is the ‘whatever next’ argument. It really is downright offensive, not to mention

    2. patently ridiculous, to suggest that allowing loving, committed same-sex couples to marry would ‘open the floodgates’ to bestiality, child marriage, polygamy or any number of ‘unforeseen consequences’. Sadly, this appears to be the argument of choice for those unwilling to say that they just don’t like the idea of gay relationships. It might save them time and energy, not to mention causing much less offence, if they would simply say so, instead of insulting perfectly decent people in such an inflammatory way.

      Equal marriage is about fairness and equality. By insisting that marriage and civil partnerships must be kept separate and distinct opponents of equality regrettably perpetuate the offensive notion, even if inadvertently, that relationships between same-sex people are not as stable, rich or valid as those between heterosexual couples. It’s clear that these views impact negatively on public attitudes towards gay people themselves. The recent debate makes it crystal clear that

    3. marriage and CPs are not seen in the same light. For me, the ‘equal but different’ argument no longer holds water; rather, it perpetuates inequality. I’m not alone in thinking this. I’m hopeful that young people will one day grow up knowing they can realise their full potential in life, including settling down and getting married(if that’s what they choose), whatever their sexual orientation; that they will see their friends, siblings and neighbours’ relationships on exactly the same footing as their own; and that the state will no longer exclude 3.3 million people in England and Wales from the option of marriage.

      It will only be partial equality if it does not address the issue of those religious organisations, mnisters, leaders and congregations who wish to support gay people who seek to marry with religious significance. Equal but separate is not equal. No religious institution should be forced to conduct a gay marriage against their belief, but there is a very strong case for

    4. saying that on the ground of religious freedom, if churches want to conduct such ceremonies they should be allowed to.

      I look forward to the day I celebrate a very good friend of mines wedding in a church and my ex-manager’s (and now a friend) wedding in a synagogue. Both gay men. Both religious. They should neither be penalised by society by being prevented from marrying because they are gay, by religious organisations because they are gay or seen as irrelevant by LGBT people because they are religious. They should have the same rights, options and choices available to others. I look forward to them exercising those choices and rights.

  6. Not only a great article, but the first leader as well !

    The Evening Standard has become an excellent newspaper, very different from its days in the Daily Mail stable.

    It’s truly in touch with modern London, with 62% of its readers being 15-44.

    Compare that to the homophobic Daily Telegraph’s circulation which is smaller than the Standard’s and is rapidly declining (down 9.57% in May 2012 compared with May 2011).

    Homophobia is dying out.

    1. Absolutely homophobia is dying out.

      Its a process but it will be reduced to an irrelevance and seen as anti-social ignorance and inhumanity.

      Society (as with much on this planet) evolves – and the fittest survive. Acceptance of racism will die (its becoming more and more extinct in some areas). Acceptance of homophobia will also die. Neither issue are fighting fit nor do they deserve to survive.

  7. The Evening Standard? Blimey, the world (or at least some of London) really is changing!

  8. Churches should be allowed to perform gay marriages if they want. However I don’t believe they should be forced as this will cause more problems and probably create more fundamentalists. If you are of a religious persuasion then the church that performs the weddings will be the one getting more donations and eventually will become the norm with the churches that exclude gay weddings becoming outdated and will probably die out.

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