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Lib Dem MP tables same-sex marriage bill amendment separating state and religious marriages

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  1. Dave Page 6 Apr 2013, 2:28pm

    This is not a bad idea – and is in fact a radical solution which would leave us with clearer legislation.

    The French style system, where all marriages are civil, and some couples choose to have them religiously blessed, is simple, clear and logical.

    Our legislatively complex system comes from having an Established Church whose priests have the same powers as state registrars. We can see how hard it is to amend that marriage law by looking at the draft Bill proposed for Westminster, and comparing it with that in Scotland where there is no established church; the proposed Scottish law is much simpler!

    It would certainly be unusual for Parliament to repeal swathes of existing legislation for a ground-up rewrite, but it would be a sensible approach, which is why Simon Hughes discussed it during the Second Reading.

    1. I can’t work out from the article whether he’s proposing what you’re saying. Will it still be possible for churches to act as registrar under this proposal? The article is not totally clear.

      If it’s as you understand it, it’s theoretically extremely sensible, but politically it endangers the passing of the bill.

      1. Dave Page 6 Apr 2013, 3:07pm

        I don’t think it does endanger it – by introducing it as an amendment at this stage of the Bill’s passage, it will be subject to a separate debate and vote in Parliament. If it’s voted down, then the rest of the process continues as if it had never happened.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 3:01pm

      I would love to have the French marriage system Mr. Mulholland but the reality is, we don’t have that luxury since we have an established church which is granted powers by the state to perform religious marriages and isn’t autonomous in that respect. The church already bans divorced people from a religious ceremony. Religious denominations that wish to conduct same-sex marriages shouldn’t be barred from doing so which is the rule of law in almost all of the countries where equal marriage is legal. They are free to do as they wish, rightly so. Freedom of religion is a two-way street. I suspect he has an ulterior motive to thwart equal marriage which won’t work and explains why he didn’t vote for it on February 5th. This is a red-herring that won’t go anywhere similar to the referendum on election day which bigoted homophobes Burrowes and Loughton have called for. Another pie in the sky. An act of desperation.

      1. Dave Page 6 Apr 2013, 3:06pm

        We have an established church defined by laws. Those laws can be changed.

        This is being submitted as an amendment; if the amendment is voted down, it won’t affect the passage of the main bill. It’s actually a pretty sensible way to have this radical approach debated in Parliament without risking the legislation passing at all.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 4:21pm

          Well, it wouldn’t pass so I put this down to yet another delaying tactic to legalise equal marriage, nothing more similar to that nonsense put forward by Loughton and Burrowes. That he didn’t vote for equal marriage means he doesn’t really support it. He would have voted yes regardless of the flaws he sees in the current bill. No bill is perfect.

      2. Have to say I am suspicious of the motive here too! Is it a wrecking amendment or not ? I suspect the former as this would require some pretty major changes to current legislation. Lets just get same sex marriage on the books and consider separation of church and state later.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 5:53pm

          Totally agree and a more practical approach about which they can take as long as they want to make up their minds about that. Get it passed first above all things.

    3. This proposal would require that marriage registration would be taken away from the churches. Are the religious going to vote for that?

      This is nothing but a malicious wrecking amendment. The timing of it confirms the intent.

      1. To whomever marked me down on this: don’t misunderstand. I would very much like to see this proposal implemented. The churches should have no role in the marriage contract.

        But this proposal really is ‘redefining marriage’. If this amendment were to be accepted, all our arguments about this not affecting anyone else’s marriage, religious freedom etc. would crumble and the bill would bot be passed. This is what’s behind this.

        You are therefore a troll or a fool.

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 4:27pm

        Thoroughly agree with you. What he’s proposing couldn’t possibly be enacted on a whim. It would present a major change in the way the CoE operates and would probably reject it. The quadruple lock goes way beyond what needs to be done giving religious cults protections and guarantees but for some, even that’s not enough, including Mulholland. Lord Pannick QC said it was air tight and no way the ECHR could intervene. In fact the ECHR have indicated that it will not interfere in EU member states’ marriage laws. It’s another red herring, a desperate attempt to delay and derail. I have news for him…NOT going to happen. He needs to face reality and the facts. If he felt so strongly, why didn’t he take part in the Committee hearings?

      3. Craig Nelson 6 Apr 2013, 4:37pm

        I agree it’s a wrecking amendment though dressed as a mere rationalisation. The tendency of the amendment is to disestablish (de facto) the CofE. Now many people are in favour of that and, sure, have a debate about it.

        I don’t think it has much to do with same sex marriage though and tends to undermine the Bill. Certainly if passed the government would probably withdraw the Bill because fundamentally changing the relationship with the established church isn’t something the government will be able to carry through without a lot of thought.

        This is just an example of grandstanding by the MP. The danger is that people against the bill vote in favour of this amendment in order to wreck the Bill. It’s an attempt to say – yeah I’d like to be in favour but there are so many unresolved problems….

        I sincerely hope the amendment does not pass.

    4. Probably not a good idea to cite Simon Hughes in support of your argument

    5. Common sense 6 Apr 2013, 3:52pm

      What about Quakers? Should we be banned from celebrating gay weddings because a catholic says we should?

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 4:28pm

        Absolutely not. No denomination should have dominion over another. They should have the freedom to do as they wish which is what freedom of religion is all about.

    6. bobbleobble 6 Apr 2013, 5:01pm

      If you actually read the amendment what he’s trying to do is to create a new form of relationship called a civil union for anyone not tying the knot in a church. He’s trying to take the word marriage away from everyone who isn’t religious.

    7. Not a good idea either, when there are people who want a religious marriage and religions who want to marry people. Furthermore, giving in to the mentally insane, religious nutters will not benefit anyone.

    8. This amendment would result in Unequal Marriage, a two-tier system of religious marriages, for heterosexuals only and seen by many as being the only proper form, and state marriages for homosexuals and those heterosexuals who don’t mind being married in the same category as homosexuals.

      Why did Mulholland abstain from voting in February, I wonder! What’s his real motive? Who IS Mulholland? What does he believe?

  2. I’m originally from The Netherlands (now in UK) where this has been enforced for decades and thus allowed relatively easy for marriage equality to pass while religions can act according to their beliefs. It makes sense in my view.

    I reluctantly accept but heavily object that institues giving legal power can discriminate, as is the case with churches and marriages currently (divorcees for example) and also with the new bill. That is just wrong. Either execute the law or don’t but not half as you please.

    I think the proposed solution by this MP is indeed the only fair solution,

    1. I married in the Netherlands and the Dutch system is great. Everyone has to go to the town hall to get civilly married. Then those who want to (or can) have a religious marriage according to how their religion does it. But that is only a religious marriage and has no legal status. So there is total separation.

      The Dutch Town Halls offer marriage rooms or the registrar will come to approved places like hotels, marriage venues, canal boats etc). The registrar at our marriage did a really nice job – he was great.

      There are lots or merits with Dutch/French system but I can see some of the mainstream religions might not like it as it does take power away from them. Also weddings are earners for them so they may also imagine lost revenue.

      What I don’t like is this guy introducing this idea at this late stage – what’s that about ?

  3. Liam the God 6 Apr 2013, 3:00pm

    Lib-Dem, Politician. He’s probably lying. It’s impossible to trust these “Mainstream” political parties now because all three have lied.

    1. Craig Nelson 6 Apr 2013, 6:48pm

      I don’t know if he’s lying or not but he is clearly not being straightforward in his dealing. This amendment is a means of him (and possibly a few others) to vote down the Bill and pretend they’re in favour of equality.

      I’m sorry but that won’t wash.

      The amendment itself is laughable – in a few short lines two major Acts of Parliament are repealed (the Marriage Act 1949 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004) and a new status created (civil union). So it’s clearly not a serious proposal even for starters. Possibly it might not even be selected for debate because it’s not really intended to be a sensible amendment.

      The least time devoted to this self promoting stunt the better.

      1. Or it’s… you know… a secular liberal approach to marriage.

  4. common sense 6 Apr 2013, 3:44pm

    This is a terrible clause that anyone with an eye on liberty and equality should oppose. It is just a sop for the Catholic tendency and the way the Catholic Church has behaved in recent history I really do not think we should be appeasing them.

    Quakers have been campaigning long and hard for the right o continue celebrating gay weddings and idiots likke thisindividual want to ban us from celebrating. Along with the Unitarians, liberal synagogues, reformed synagogues, URC, MCC and other religious institutions

    Why is it that Anglicans and Catholics continually discount our right to religiously celebrate our weddings. Totally furious at this.

    1. I must admit I don’t understand this amendment fully, and there seems to be some discord in this forum as to what it means, but surely the catholic and Anglican churches aren’t choosing to never celebrate marriages again so if they can, why can’t the Quakers?

      1. Common sense 6 Apr 2013, 4:36pm

        The Catholics will never celebrate gay marriage though Anglicans and Presbyterians may do so eventually. Quakers in the UK have been celebrating gay weddings since the mid 1990s so the civil partnership legislation banning us from doing so was a shock to the system. Since 2003 Quakers have campaigned to reverse this ban and lord Ali’s amendment was the outcome. This time round with equal marriage Quakers do not wish to be similarly discriminated against.

    2. This is not true. With Mr Mulholland’s amendment, any church can conduct any marriage ceremony they like – a white wedding to the stirs of Bach, barking at the moon, a rain dance etc , with all the joy that brings, to be married in the eye of their creator – but the state, which does not recognise that creator, would still require a separate registration for it to be legal. That is perfectly just and fair. The current proposals uniquely force all same-sex couples to shop around to find someone who will marry them.

      1. Common sense 7 Apr 2013, 4:06am

        But for Quakers, the registration is integral to the sacrament of marriage. Strip it out nd it is just a meeting for worship. I am totally and absolutely opposed to this wrongheaded reform. It proposes destroying something precious just because the Catholic Church is throwing its toys out of the pram.

  5. Common sense 6 Apr 2013, 3:51pm

    Note for anyone to naive to understand the background to this amendment, Greg Mulholland is a fundamentalist Catholic and is NOT to be trusted around anything related to gay rights. Output interests are not in any way close to his.

  6. Spanner1960 6 Apr 2013, 3:56pm

    I see his reasoning, but this is the wrong way to go about it.

    Whatever many may say, marriage is first and foremost a legal matter; Religious institutions are given dispensation to administer the ceremonies, but nonetheless, all marriages should be recognised as the same thing.

    Dividing marriages into civil and religious ones is the thin end of a nasty wedge where they will be seen as unequal and disparate.

    I think the process that operates at the moment is quite acceptable, and religions should be given the option to opt in or out of same sex marriages.

    If one has to be radical about this, then the only real way is to do as the French, and make ALL marriages civil, and simply let churches etc offer blessings.

    1. thanks for you comment, but I was wondering , as I dont quite understand this . Would this mean, in the B and B cases that have come about that a gay couple could be excluded if they had a civil marriage , and only straight people would only have a relgious marriage. So a B and B could turn us away on those grouds. No admitance as you dont have a reglious marriage , which we adknowledge. Sorry for being so thick.

      1. bobbleobble 6 Apr 2013, 4:24pm

        It’s possible I suppose but I suspect the law would simply state that a civil union (which is what he apparently wants them called) and a religious marriage are required to be treated the same, just as it states now that a marriage and a civil partnership are to be treated the same.

        1. Spanner1960 7 Apr 2013, 12:20pm

          Yes, but we all know that would not be the case.
          You know many religionists would then imply that they were superior, and civil marriage wasn’t “real”, (Particularly if it had same-sex marriages included)
          Equally, they could also use it as a weapon to claim they were being persecuted.

          One law, one marriage, one equality.

    2. Dave Page 6 Apr 2013, 5:00pm

      I think that’s exactly what he’s proposing, but the PN summary is confused. As I read Mulholland’s proposals, all marriages will be civil, and religions can bless them as they see fit.

      1. No, Dave, there would be no marriages, only ‘civil unions’ under the Mulholland amendment. The Marriage Act will have been repealed.

        Why are you standing up for this guy who is trying to wreck the LibDem policy and embarrass the Party?

        1. There were marriages before the Marriage Act, there’ll be marriages afterwards. I’m standing up for what could be a good idea – a radical reform of marriage rather than trying to hammer our awkward, existing pile of legislation into something a little better.

          What I care about is that couples have the same legal rights regardless of the genders involved, and that religions can support those couples if they wish to do so. If this amendment maintains those principles in a way which simplifies existing legislation, then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be considered.

          1. Common sense 7 Apr 2013, 4:07am

            But for Quakers, the registration is integral to the sacrament of marriage. Strip it out nd it is just a meeting for worship. I am totally and absolutely opposed to this wrongheaded reform. It proposes destroying something precious just because the Catholic Church is throwing its toys out of the pram.

          2. Spanner1960 7 Apr 2013, 12:25pm

            Sorry, but this is just a total cop-out.
            Marriage is a concept that has been around since before Christianity. Changing the name merely sidesteps facing the problem, appeases the religionists and arms the bigots. This is precisely what Labour did introducing civil partnerships. On top of that, other countries may not recognise these civil unions.

            The church has not since been bemoaning the “redefinition of marriage” and that is PRECISELY what is being suggested here. We don’t don’t want to be an alternative, we want to be part of it.

  7. bobbleobble 6 Apr 2013, 3:58pm

    I would agree that our marriage laws need a decent overhaul along Dutch or French lines but the chances of getting anything like that passed is nigh on impossible. I’m also not sure that’s what he’s proposing and I question his motives.

    However, a massive overhaul of marriage isn’t going to happen because there simply isn’t the support for it either in Parliament or in the country and what we have at the moment is probably the best compromise we can get given the nature of our country. The bill isn’t perfect, it doesn’t provide exact equality because of issues such as consummation and adultery both of which could be really difficult to define for gay people anyway.

    However, if he is really serious about this then he should be out obtaining support and should have been campaigning throughout. Raising this at the last minute coupled with his abstention at the second reading suggests to me this is simply an attempt to wreck the bill.

    1. Dave Page 6 Apr 2013, 5:05pm

      Hmm, there’s no point trying to do something because it’ll never happen? That’s a nice conservative attitude ;)

      Submitting this as an amendment means that if it’s voted down, the passage of the main Bill continues unimpeded. It’s actually a good point to introduce a radical but unpopular alternative.

      1. bobbleobble 6 Apr 2013, 5:08pm

        In the knowledge the it will never happen Mr Mullholland has submitted this amendment simply to delay the passage of the bill in the hopes of scuppering it completely.

        If he really believed that this was a good idea then why bring it up at the eleventh hour. This isn’t a tweak to a bill but a complete overhaul of the marriage system in this country.

        1. Dave Page 6 Apr 2013, 5:55pm

          As I said, this is the right stage for MPs to submit amendments. It’s not the eleventh hour, it’s part of the usual Parliamentary process for every Bill.

          If the amendment “will never happen” and is defeated, then the rest of the process continues as if it had never been submitted. It can’t scupper the process completely – bringing it up earlier and amending the draft Bill before Second Reading would have been able to do that, and that’s what you’re criticising Mulholland for not doing!

          1. bobbleobble 6 Apr 2013, 6:19pm

            This isn’t just an amendment, this is a total overhaul of marriage laws in this country and it is not appropriate to bring it up at this stage or even as part of this process since the bill is about same sex marriage not about marriage on general.

          2. bobbleobble 6 Apr 2013, 6:25pm

            Plus amendments have been able to be submitted by Mps since February 5. I can’t believe that this has just occurred to him so why has he waited until just before the report stage to bring this up?

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 5:51pm

        Believe me, it will be voted down overwhelmingly where the church is involved as it should be.

  8. Greg Mulholland didn’t vote in favour of the Sexual Orientation Regulations in 2007. I think there are good reasons to be suspicious of his motives.

    1. Craig Nelson 6 Apr 2013, 4:41pm

      He just wants to throw a very complicated spanner in the works. Tempting as it is it should be resisted if you want to see equal marriage. I do not think his motives are pure.

  9. bobbleobble 6 Apr 2013, 4:19pm

    Actually reading the amendment it seems that what he is trying to do is to create something called a civil union for all couples marrying in a non-religious setting removing the word marriage from both heterosexual and homosexual couples who don’t or can’t do it in a church.

    Seems to me this is just designed to piss off a lot of people.

  10. Mr Mulholland either doesn’t understand marriage law or he is lying.

    Mr Mulholland’s amendment seeks to remove a right which currently exists, namely the power of churches to create legally binding marriages – a perfectly reasonable, but generally unpopular idea. The mendacity is not in the substance of the measure but in the arguments being made for it.

    Mr Mulholland is using his amendment to make false claims about the Marriage Bill, suggesting that it doesn’t “adequately protect freedom of conscience,” and arguing that his amendment is needed to create “separation of civil and religious marriage, so it is clear that civil recognition of relationships is a matter for the state”. Both claims are untrue.

    This amendment will fail, because religious weddings are popular. Its chief effect – and probably its only purpose – will be to give more airtime to the lie that the Marriage Bill threatens religious freedom.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 5:49pm

      But, in the UK, only 38% of marriages are religious, the rest are all civil according to the Equal Marriage Committee hearings after the February 5th vote, re-iterated by Tory MP Helen Grant, under-Secretary of State for Justice. They are not that popular apparently. The CoE hierarchy prior to the vote indicated they were satisfied with the quadruple lock. It is the bigoted MPs mostly Tories (Loughton and Burrowes were the ringleaders) who exploited it to make it seem less protective than it really is. It would only allow the CoE to opt in if a majority of the hierarchy so demanded. It’s virtually an air-tight amendment that only the CoE has the power to unlock. That’s not going to happen for decades to come. Not even our government can force them to do it against their will. All of this posturing by opponents isn’t going to get them anywhere fast.

  11. Deus caritas est 6 Apr 2013, 5:51pm

    Never thought I’d agree with the Lib Dems but this is exactly what needs to be done. This is the situation in France and Germany and so ensures religions are protected.

    Indeed it will enable the ‘gay marriage’ supporters to have equality and ensure those of us gay and committed to the Catholic faith are not piggy in the middle being lambasted by both sides.

    1. Jock S. Trap 6 Apr 2013, 6:01pm

      What exactly have the religious got that needs protecting? Are the majority going to have ‘same sex’ marriage? No. Are they gonna stop being nasty, vile bigots? No.

      It has Nothing to do with them. They’ve already stated they don’t wanna but what about the religious freedom and protections of those religion that accept and wish to hold such ceremonies?

      1. Deus caritas est 6 Apr 2013, 6:37pm

        Jock Strap! Think about it?! Religions not wishing to take part shouldn’t! Those who do, under a separation can! It’s quite SIMPLE!!

        1. Jock S. Trap 7 Apr 2013, 12:03pm

          So the protections are there so why the need for ‘Special’ attentions? Can bigoted religion not stop getting over the fact they don’t control us all?

          Time they did.

        2. Spanner1960 7 Apr 2013, 12:30pm

          No, because the whole concept is divisive.
          You still end up with two camps that claim superiority over one another.
          When I tell somebody I am married, I don’t want them to ask back “Which one?”

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 6:38pm

      It would be ideal to just have civil marriages only but since the UK is not in a position to change it over night, this is a futile effort on Mulholland’s part. Your cult like the CoE already bans religious marriage for divorced people. There is no precedent for this amendment ever to have any success,absolutely none. To affect such change, the bill, currently air tight in its protections for cults that do not wish to participate, will proceed as is. Nobody will be able to sue any denomination for refusing to marry a gay couple and wouldn’t be successful even if they tried even under current marriage laws. No straight divorced couple has ever tried and neither will any gay couple. Religious cults are fee to do as they wish without any threat from government or others. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Mulholland is trying to create a problem where there isn’t any. He won’t succeed, I guarantee you that.

  12. Jock S. Trap 6 Apr 2013, 5:58pm

    Think the idea is to be treated equally not things changed for us to be treated equal-ish.

    Being given equal rights isn’t about messing and changing things for bigots to say how we’re having it all changed for us. It’s about leveling things up at how they are for all.

    All this is doing it giving way to the already hateful religions and they don’t need any other excuses. They will suffer but not at our expense but at the expense of their own nastiness.

    Give equality, move people Up to the equality we deserve. Do not change things to suit and please coz all they’re trying to suit is the bigots, whilst saying it’s us. Its not us they seek to please with this.

  13. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Apr 2013, 5:59pm

    Mulholland is one of three Liberal Democrat MPs to have supported Nadine Dorries MP’s attempts to reduce the number of weeks at which a woman can legally have an abortion. This is part of a wider socially conservative voting record for Greg Mulholland, which also includes non-support for Same-Sex Marriage Is it no wonder, he’s also a catholic and also opposes embryology? Enough said! He ought to switch parties and join the Tories or UKIP where he belongs.

    1. Deus caritas est 7 Apr 2013, 8:03am

      Up to 24 weeks is simply cruel. You bleat on about equal rights, but that clearly doesn’t apply to all. This is pick ‘n’ mix laws and equality.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 8 Apr 2013, 4:51pm

        If it threatened the life of the mother, then no, it isn’t cruel. It’s nobody’s business what a woman does with her body or her reproductive rights. Government and religion need to stay out of our bedrooms and our sex lives both gay and straight. A bit rich for a catholic MP shilling for an oppressive, misogynistic cult about which it knows nothing of human relationships or homosexuality for that matter. It doesn’t support artificial birth control but would rather see poor women become pregnant, even if they’re raped, year in, year out for the rest of their lives. being used as catholic baby making machines, making their lives that more abject and becoming a burden on the state for welfare. Let the roman cult pay for them since it cares so much about family and procreation.

  14. Greg Mulholland is being disingenous. He is a Catholic LibDem MP who opposes SSM , like teather and Pugh. He works for the Catholic church not liberal voters.

    He has never voted for any gay rights.

    The amendment is to get rid of marriages and CPs and to create an new institution called civil unions.

    It’s funny he says he is the only “liberal” member in his party going against party policy on SSM and not voting for SSM at the 2nd reading.

    It’s a wrecking amendment, plain and simple!

    1. Thanks for those brief details, John, regarding his Catholicism and his record on gay rights. I suspected so.

      His amendment is simply a way of “protecting” his ever-so-sacred holy matrimony from being invaded by the second-class queers.

      Mulholland is a homophobe.

      I hope that’s well-known inside Westminster.

  15. As a blatant ‘wrecking amendment’ this seems to have managed to con quite a few of the commenters here into thinking it is genuinely intended.

    A Roman Catholic wanting to abolish the instituion of Marriage ….. remove the concepts of consummation & adultery ….. yeah right …

    1. Exactly!

    2. Dave Page 7 Apr 2013, 5:03pm

      Removing the concepts is quite different from removing the legal definitions. Scottish marriage law doesn’t have a legal definition of consummation, for example – instead, non-consummation can be considered “unreasonable behaviour” in a divorce hearing. It’s simpler law and has the same effect where it’s relevant.

  16. Why NOW?

    This is just like some people in America who all of the sudden want to separate church and state. Why didn’t you want to separate church and state when YOU got married? Why have you NEVER proposed such legislation before gay people asked to get married?

    The basis of his argument is still homophobia even if he’s couching it in propriety and “common sense”. If that were truly the case then he, and others, would have proposed it YEARS ago, before gay people even thought about getting married.

    1. Colin (London) 23 Apr 2013, 2:12am

      To me religion was set up before we had laws and science medicine etc and you know even I can see that the 10 Commandments on their own at face value are not bad rules in a society. I just don’t want the interpretations that people put on them. Role on a few thousand years and we have developed in societies with agreed laws, elections, science, medicine and so the need for the church is no more. It is not holding a modern society back.

      Seperate the state from religion I agree with.

  17. An interesting idea but allowing religious organisations to redefine marriage
    would legalise polygamy & paedophilia by the back door as it is acceptable to many religions for men to marry children and in Islam & certain Christian sects (eg Mormons)

  18. Freedom of conscience is bullshit. What happens when the freedom of conscience of one person impinges on the freedom of conscience of another, s is the case with religious SSM. Religions don’t have a conscience only individuals do. For an entire church to say no to SSM is to deny the freedom of conscience of those who disagree with that position.

  19. Craig Nelson 7 Apr 2013, 1:12pm

    Uner this system how would you fare if you moved to a different country and the question was asked “Are you married?” England and Wales couples would have to say ‘No’ (both same and opposite sex couples) and would be treated as having a ‘civil union’, provided that country/state has civil unions. There is a profound misunderstanding of the marriage law here. Marriage is actually given out (sometimes, where allowed via religions) by the State according to the law. According to this amendment the State loses any power or control over marriage – if a bizarre cult was set up and wanted to ‘marry’ (as is Jeremy Irons fear) relatives or (for instance) a cult leader to a number of female (and or male) followers if the government is not in the marriage business it cannot stop that happening and yet at the same time everyone who was civil unioned in England and Wales would get varying degrees of relationship recognition around the world.

    One could though still go to Scotland to get married.

    1. Dave Page 7 Apr 2013, 4:58pm

      This doesn’t seem to cause a problem with French marriages being recognised in the UK.

      1. Craig Nelson 8 Apr 2013, 6:48pm

        Errr France has marriage as provided by the State (the religion merely provides a service, it doesn’t alter the civil status). This proposal is the opposite of that – no one would be married just civil unioned. All would be chaos.

  20. wendy leigh 7 Apr 2013, 2:41pm

    There already is a separation. Marriage IS the civil arrangement. Opponents conflate this with a religious arrangement that already exists, Holy Matrimony. This is unnecessary and a ridiculous redundancy of what they already have.

  21. Colin (London) 23 Apr 2013, 2:06am

    I am totally in favour of this. The state rules. Religion is your personal choice.

    Makes running society so much easier, see through and relevant.

    At last getting rid of the past interest groups and setting society up for the future inclusive for all.

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