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Out4Marriage, Peter Tatchell and Ed Miliband raise concerns over Church of England gay wedding ban

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  1. Perhaps there’s a method in the government’s madness! Already the churches are saying ‘why can’t we officiate at gay weddings?’ I just hope this important legislation gets through because there shouldn’t be any discrimination

    1. Absolutely! There shouldn’t be any discrimination. The government’s plans to make it illegal for the Church of England and the Church of Wales to marry gay people is little different from a plan to make it illegal for Company X and Company Y to employ black people!

  2. The C of E and some of the tory homo hysterics have been jumping up and down about the church being *forced* to officiate. By making it illegal for the C of E to officiate their guns are spiked. What they really wanted of course has nothing to do with religious freedom, quite the opposite.They hoped that all religious groupings would be banned from holding SSM ceremonies.

    Needless to say they will continue to complain about churches being *forced*, and hope that not to many notices how off the wall they are.

  3. If the state can legally interfere in internal matters of state religion therefore it can if it wishes to force state religion to perform gay marriages, one could therefore challenge this lack of religious freedom under human rights act

  4. That There Other David 11 Dec 2012, 10:44pm

    I have to admit to having a real problem understanding the need for this part of the proposals. Are we possibly going to see Anglican ministers sent to prison for attempting to conduct same-sex weddings on church property? Because surely at some point this ban is going to result in that. Is that really what both the Tory Party and Church of England want to see?

    1. But it’s because the church kept insisting we will be” forced!!!” and even now some of them will continue to say that.

    2. The govt has said a legal ban is needed because the Church’s rules (canon law) require the Church to conform to national law. So (the govt is suggesting) if they left the CofE to opt in or out like other churches, CofE members could use the church’s procedures to claim that the CofE is in breach of its rules by defining marriage differently from the state.

      I don’t know whether the govt is correct. But if they are, the problem could presumably have been resolved by having the law refer this back to the CofE, i.e. “It shall be illegal for the CofE to solemnise same-sex marriages if canon law does not recognise such marriages”.

      Given the govt’s mishandling of the law throughout this process, it’s entirely possible that they just don’t know what they’re doing.

      But I suspect this is mostly about the optics – which they appear also to have misjudged.

      There is also a practical reason why the govt may wish to invite legal challenge – I’ve posted about this below.

  5. Oh dear- a massive hole in this legislation has been revealed straight away. It just won’t work!!

    1. That There Other David 11 Dec 2012, 10:48pm

      Bizarre isn’t it? Why would the Church of England want to set precedent for Parliament to tell it what to do? Do they really fear us so much they’re willing to sacrifice their ability to govern themselves?

      1. It’s a state church, and as I understand it is ultimately controlled by Parliament (Parliament has to agree to changes to its Canon law, which I think already bans same-sex marriage). Tatchell’s claim about the law seems nonsensical – of course the Church of England can be treated differently to other religious groups, and it already is treated differently in a variety of ways (not least the seats in the House of Lords). I think the only point of all these separate ‘locks’ is to do as much as they can to convince people that there is no chance of a legal challenge – this one seems a bit over the top. The Church in Wales is not established, though, so I don’t understand why it covers them too.

        1. Christopher Hobe Morrison 11 Dec 2012, 11:25pm

          This and the refusal to accept female bishops! The CofE and any other established church needs to be given a choice. Either accept minimal human rights related standards or lose their status. I have been hearing on Radio 4 today stories about how many people have been switching from describing themselves as Christians to describing themselves as having no religion. If the CofE wishes to have any sort of future at all, regardless of established status, it is going to have to give up its predjudices and phobias. It’s bad enough that they pretend the universe’s only messiah or saviour was crucified some 2,000 years ago.

          1. Its most likely not the Church of England’s choice. for this new law to be passes it has to get Royal Assent, The Queen has never supported the LGBT community and maybe this is her way of allowing the law to pass and to be given Royal Assent without having to Veto it completely.

            baby steps, we will get there one day

  6. As far as I understand it this has to do with the links between the government and the Church of England and Church of Wales, in law. For example, the CoE had to have women priests, to comply with the Equality Act, they were given lots of time, to come to their own pre-determined decision, and the same will be true for women Bishops — because the church, acting as a part of the state, has to comply with more of the Equality laws than other churches. There could have been some potential danger if the ‘state religion’ was seen to discriminate — which is the most powerful reason for not having any ‘state religion’ at all. So, this ban does two things a) shuts them up for good b) makes sure there is no possibiliy of a legal issue.

  7. I think there will be plenty renegade vicars and bishops only too willing to defy such a ban. Also, I can hardly imagine the police wasting resources to raid and “illegal” wedding. There will be only one sort of marriage after all, legal marriage.

    1. My knowledge is quite superficial, but I suspect that the method of enforcement would not be the police, but rather that a marriage license could not be obtained and that the marriage could not be registered, unless the names were ambiguous.

      1. I see what you mean. The sooner a case is taken to the ECHR the better then.

  8. Chris Fewings 11 Dec 2012, 11:06pm

    Many Anglicans in the Church of England are extremely angry with the way the spokesman for the Bishops in the House of Lords is purporting to speak for the whole church. It is almost certain that a number of bishops disagree with him but have been silenced. Two ‘junior’ bishops, Alan Wilson and Tim Ellis, disagree publicly. There are many openly gay Church of England clergy – some live with their partners but no hanky-panky is permitted!!

    I don’t go to church every week but still really value Anglican worship. I’m not gay, but I care deeply about same-sex Anglican couples whose love is disregarded, and I believe the church should be as open to celebrating same-sex relationships for non-churchgoers as it is for opposite-sex couples. I believe strongly that the Church of England should keep its official mouth shut about civil marriage as there is no consensus, and allow vicars to have blessings of civil partnerships or lifelong covenants or whatever they want to call it immediately.

  9. Please join us on our Facebook page Christians for Equal Marriage.

    1. Excellent links on there, like this one;

      http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/labours-uturn-on-equal-marriage-why-is-equality-for-minority-groups-a-matter-of-conscience-8405578.html

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/136517653162819/

      We should never lose sight of the fact there are LGBT Christians, that we have many beloved friends in the churches, and that 60% of Christians, both Anglicans and Catholics, here and in the US, believe in full equality — whatever their leadership claims and says. It’s sometimes difficult to remember this when we heard some people who claim to be Christian saying such nasty, hateful, horrible things.

  10. The CofE got what it asked for. A strict prohibition on same sex marriages taking place in their churches will be written into law.
    Any complaint they may have about it, they can take it to Canterbury Cathedral.

    1. They can give Sentamu and Carey a ring?:-)

  11. The C of E has been bitching about us for long enough, and the some bright spark has a great idea – and the rug got pulled out from under their feet.

    They wanted nothing to do with equal marriage? Well, they got their wish.

    And if the befrocked bigots are upset, now – well, honestly, I don’t give a crap.

  12. Christopher in Canada 12 Dec 2012, 1:47am

    Why does the Anglican Church in Canada allow female priests and bishops and gay weddings? Isn’t it all one denomination?

    1. Exactly! Hypocricy rules ….!
      But then, we lecture the world about democracy – and there are 40 unelected bishops in the house of lords. We need a RADICAL overhaul in this country, starting with the complete separation of state and religion.

    2. David Nottingham 12 Dec 2012, 12:49pm

      The Anglican Church in Canada is only “in communion with” the Church of England and as such are not governed by canon law of the church in England. The church has its own Primate and is governed by its own General Synod. This means it is quite possible for the Church in Canada to have differing views and practices from the Church of England. The other difference is that Queen Elizabeth II is not only head of the UK Government and State but she is also Supreme Head of the Church of England (busy woman!) Queen Elizabeth maybe the Queen of Canada but she doesn’t have the same constitutional role as she does in the UK and is certainly not head of the church in Canada.

  13. Kerry Hollowell 12 Dec 2012, 6:03am

    I hope to see a huge fall in the number of CofE and CofW numbers, no right minded LGBT person would want to align their beliefs with these organisations from now on.

    1. and hopefully nor would a significant number of their friends and relatives,which is often forgotten when these sorts of numbers are crunched….

  14. So will Millibland tell his MPs to vote against the legislation in order to score short term advantage by embarrassing the tories?

  15. I think they are missing the point. The whinging homophobes in the CofE WANT gay marriage banned. They’ve got what they wanted. However, the more enlightened in their ranks realise that this ban will increasingly marginalise the CofE and are having doubts about (a) the long-term effect of being viewd as behind-the-times and (b) missing out on a potentially lucrative share of the market. This legislation will now show them up for the vile hypocrites they are ….

  16. Is there no pleasing these people? First they demand special rights because they hold a ‘belief’. I don’t believe in taxes but I still have to abide by the law. Then, when they get the ban they demand, they’re STILL not happy! This type of religious involvement in state matters is ludicrous in a modern society. Unelected bishops in the House of Lords? Ludicrous in a democracy! The sooner church and state are separated and relgion becomes just another ‘club’ which people can join if they want to, the better. But special opt-out clauses from the laws by which the rest of us must abide? Nonsense.

  17. The govt’s stated explanation (deference of canon law to national law) looks unnecessarily cautious to me – but I’m no expert on this.

    There are a number of other possible reasons for this. As Ray123 noted, the govt wants to “spike the guns” of the CofE hardliners.

    Also, the govt is determined to ensure that HMG, and not individual churches, is the target of any equality suit. The CofE is the obvious test case, partly because establishment raises additional issues. The govt may be hoping to act as the lightning rod here, encouraging a case against HMG which will confirm religious freedom (striking down this ban in the process).

    BUT – while the ECtHR won’t want to get into a philosophical discussion about establishment, reinforcing the legal dependence of the CofE on Parliament WEAKENS the CofE’s argument to be treated like a faith body and makes it look more like an arm of the state! Far from helping the CofE, the govt may be helping to finish it off!

    They need new lawyers.

    1. “Far from helping the CofE, the govt may be helping to finish it off!”…I like to think that sometimes the government knows what its doing….

  18. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 4:21pm

    I have absolutely NO sympathy for the CoE. It has opposed our rights forever and sees nothing wrong excluding us from access to civil marriage, let alone religious marriage. Archbishop in waiting Justin Welby has said he does not support equal marriage and has the hypocrisy to say doesn’t like the word “exclusion”. He wanted to exclude us from marriage entirely just like his predecessor Rowan Williams, so he now has his wish come true and doesn’t like it. The hierarchy made this an issue so now they’re reaped what they’ve sewn, their own doing.

    One very good thing to come out of this is that they’ve invited their own self isolation, up there with the roman cult, both opposed to equal marriage and female bishops. Bigotry loves company doesn’t it?

    I applaud Maria Miller for having the courage to do this, richly deserved in my view. Let them get a taste of their own nasty medicine for a change, richly deserved. I’m gloating with schadenfreude. Revenge is sweet!

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