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Sikh temples told to halt all civil weddings over equal marriage law

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  1. And once they notice the drop in income? Lol

  2. Does that mean also that there are Sikh organisations out there who have asked to opt in to performing same sex marriages and that Lord Singh and other Sikh hierachies can’t stop them?

    I don’t care what the other non opt in Sikh orgs do as a result of the equal marriage bill. They can do what they want to, the law’s changed now, they have their protections , if they choose not to believe them then what can anybody do.

    Surely a gay couple could still go to the European courts now anyway and try to force them to give them a religious ceremony , even without the marriage registering bit taken out of it.

  3. If they really believed that there was a genuine risk that they’d be forced to conduct same sex marriages, they’d wait until a legal challenge materialised and then fight it all the way.

    Such a challenge is very unlikely to happen It would almost certainly fail, rightly so.

    Sadly, by throwing their toys out of the pram and sulking, it shows that they’re just driven by homophobia.

    1. Exactly. Why not wait and see the results of a potential (but unlikely) legal challenge? If you lose, THEN deregister. They’re definitely acting prematurely.

  4. Such hysteria!

    I hope they do all deregister as its their own throats they’re slitting

  5. Smells very much like an attempt to sustain the ludicrous “we’re the victim” narrative that most religious groups have tried throughout the equal marriage debate. Ignore them.

  6. Why don’t they just do them if asked? It seems so stupid and pointless to be trying to avoid the inevitible

    Is it such a terrible thing to be asked do?????

  7. Robert in S. Kensington 21 Jul 2013, 12:21pm

    Now watch and wait for the religious not so ‘christian’ loons to jump on this one…”we told you so” nonsense.

    How would the Sikhs like a referendum to ban the wearing of turbans in public or in Parliament for that matter? Discrimination can be a two-way street so they’d better be very careful what they wish or don’t wish for.

    I said this to Lord Singh in an email during the marriage debate but received no response.

    1. Christopher Coleman 22 Jul 2013, 1:10am

      Not surprised he did not reply. People do not generally like to admit that the tables can be turned on them. If they do, they have to change their ways.

    2. I did the same and did not reply to me. I wrote a most courteous letter pointing out that I was against putting minority rights to the public vote as I think he should be for the reasons you pointed out to him. I guess the old gent has not heard of good manners, even to those in disagreement. His, after all, is a public office, an appointed peer to the UK Parliament.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 22 Jul 2013, 12:25pm

        I’ve always believed in being courteous when contacting a member of the government even if we are diametrically opposed to their views, although I have to admit it was tempting not to be. What I said above is exactly what I put to him. I don’t think he could have taken it as an insult or being disrespectful. He may not have even read our emails because they are screened by people working for the upper chamber and could have been ignored or deleted. He is one among many who do not have a direct email address apparently.

  8. “We have no authority, neither has the Government, to change our scriptures. We are bound by our religious teachings […]”

    Right there the danger of religion (not only Sikhs). The complete inability to adapt to the current day and knowledge forcing everyone where they can to stay behind with them or at the very least keep fear mongering (as is this current ‘marriage withdrawal’ plan) and spreading hate. After all, no single religion has been found to be wrong on several matters at any point in time…

  9. Silly. An overreaction who’s only purpose is to vilify the LGBT community. ‘Look what those people are making us do to protect our religion’ No one was every going to sue these temples. Even if they tried, the legislation does not force any religion to perform any marriages they don’t want to.

  10. Cutting their noses to save their faces…

  11. The CofE doesn’t say we must abandon having bishops becuase we refuse to allow women bishops.Catholic and Sikh Churches haven’t abandned registering marriages becuase they might be forced to perform marriages for Jews or Muslims and so on………Churches are already discriminating in a range of things, this is simply one more opt out for them……An opt out too far when it comes to the CofE which is afterall the established church, at the heart of many villages (well at least has a church in most of them) and should at least be providing some service including marriages for gay people. If not then the CofE shou;d become a public club like the Sikh club.

  12. Godric Godricson 21 Jul 2013, 12:36pm

    I had a positive view of Sikhism from the time I lived in Birmingham (UK) and I worked with people of that faith. Sikhs claim equality for themselves and their faith in comparison to other religions. My perception of the Sikh religion was shaken a little by the outrageous statements made by Sikh peer Lord Singh in the House of Lords during recent debates. Lord Singh seemed to be following the lead of many religious loons . Regrettably, deregistration falls into the hands of reactionaries and zealots. How equal is Sikhism now ? John-Paul (above) is correct about potential future drops in income. Let’s see how far Sikh convictions hold out.

    1. I agree with you. My impression was always very positive towards Sikhs and the Sikh religion. I’ve worked with quite a number over the years and I have always had a positive impression. You don’t often hear of them wanting to blow us up or have us cricified over here either.

      I wonder what the reaction to this will be, and whether temples will take note or ignore it

    2. Sikhism does promote equality. Lord Singh et al need to re-read the words of the Gurus. I’m equally disappointed both as a young gay man and a Sikh that these people suggest they stand for the Sikh diaspora.

      Sikhism is a way of life, it’s gender less poetic teachings are being misinterpreted.

  13. Mumbo Jumbo 21 Jul 2013, 12:41pm

    As I see it, if they do not opt in, then they do not have to perform marriages for same-sex couples.

    However, as they seem to have registered their premises for civil weddings (a nice earner) then they would have to hire the building to others to allow a civil wedding to take place there or allow another religious group such as Quakers to similarly use the building for the purpose of a religious wedding.

    So no-one is asking them to do anything themselves but simply to make their building available to all for the purpose of carrying on the public function for which it was registered.

    1. David Pollock 23 Jul 2013, 3:36pm

      There are two types of buildings that can be registered for weddings. One is as approved premises for civil weddings, like hotels or stately homes – but these cannot have any connection with any relgiion, and so this is not the reference here and the word ‘civil’ must be a mistake for ‘legal’ as against purely religious. The second way is that registered places of worship can be registered for solemnistion of marriages, so that the relgiious and the legal marriage are combined. This is what the Sikhs are referring to – as witness the reference to the quadruple lock. So yes, tehy are being paranoid, given the protections the law provides them.

  14. According to Wikipedia (not always correct I know) there is no scriptural reason why Sikhs would be against same-sex marriage.

    1. Commander Thor 21 Jul 2013, 12:55pm

      Someone said, scripture is like the “Agreement” on websites. Nobody reads it, and everybody just clicks “I agree”.

  15. Will the Telegraph every stop carping on about SSM? This is another one of their anti gay propaganda stories. The headline does not reflect the content.

  16. I had no idea the Telegraph was such a champion for multiculturalism and the rights of individuals to practice their own faiths? Leave them to work it out. Somewhere along the line opponents of SSM fail to grasp that since Wednesday they are dealing with an Act of Law – not a debate or a lobby group or a parliamentary bill. Who is this group anyway? An advisory group? The Catholic owned Telegraph is conveniently trying to present them as the equivalent of the Vatican or the General Synod of the CofE. That’s clearly not the case – otherwise they could compel the temples to deregister. Load of tosh.

  17. Very disappointing that they don’t want to treat people equally when it comes to marriage. I think that places of worship that take the regrettable decision to discriminate their fellow citizens in this way should be forced to pay a tax – not simply be allowed to opt out of the laws that the rest of us obey. Allowing them special ‘privilege’ to opt out of the law weakens democracy as it seems to place theocracy above the will of the people.

  18. I suspect this is not at all what they are worried about. It is just a smoke screen.
    What they fear is that a Gurdwara will decide to register to perform all marriages and that a gay Sikh couple will indeed get married, of course there is nothing to prevent the couple having a civil same-sex marriage!
    As was pointed out by Lord Singh during the marriage debate Gurdwara are independant.
    As I understand it Sikh’s are not all homophobic like Lord Singh, many far from it. This looks like an attempt to stir up homophobic attitudes within their community. It is doomed to fail.

  19. As long as tolerance is shown to us that’s that matters. That’s how much we really value tolerance.

  20. Nothing more sad than one oppressed minority oppressing another.

    1. Very true, but I would question the degree to which Sikhs could be considered “oppressed” today: they are quite free to have their own temples and practise their religion, and the men have all manner of legal allowances to carry knives and wear their turbans in place of helmets and so on. Not to mention their loathsome representative in the HoL. When a play was written by a Sikh woman about sexual abuse with a gurdwara, so much pressure was put on the theatre that intended to produce it that it was withdrawn. Doesn’t sound terribly oppressed to me.

      1. People seem to want to appear respectful and politcally correct when it comes to religion.
        Let’s be real though: religion is an ideological poison. Nothing throughout it’s history has proven it’s worth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; it’s simply ruined the growth of humanity. It’s stunted our growth like a big toxic cigarette. If people want to hopelessly devout their lives to an out-dated, out-moded ideology that’s based on fear, lies and oppression then that’s their silly choice. Religion is nothing more than a ball & chain and a chastity belt. Why should they be allowed to continue practicing something that has proven to be disasterous for society? The only reasons to be religious in the real world is because you’re terrified of death or you want to CONTROL or have POWER over people. Or money. I wish more people saw it like that, instead of tolerating their ridiculous choices and their brainwashing, manipulating ways.

        LGBT are a millions times more natural than any religion…

  21. Possibly what the government should do is amend this to a “quintuple lock” – a promise that if the ECHR were to rule that a religious group should be forced to conduct a marriage they don’t wish to (whether it’s a same sex marriage, a marriage of someone who was divorced, whatever), we would withdraw from the ECHR. This would solve two issues – first, it would prevent religious groups from using this as an excuse to whip up hysteria, even though we can be pretty sure it’d never happen. Second, it would ease any remaining real fears people may have of the ECHR ruling this way, and in the unlikely event they did we’d have a pretty good reason to want to leave anyway… because even if we strongly disagree with the views of certain religions, it is vitally important to the freedom of everyone that all religious viewpoints (including non-religious viewpoints) are respected and that people are not forced into doing something that goes against their viewpoints.

    1. Eh? Don’t follow you. The government cannot simply do that. You forget that both Commons and Lords rejected making further provisions for religious organisations during the passage of what is now the Law. The government can’t simply add on another bit of legislation to what is now an Act of Parliament. Neither Commons or Lords will allow it. The Law is the law as passed and as per Royal Assent.

    2. Christopher Coleman 22 Jul 2013, 1:13am

      No evidence of any religious group being forced to do anything they do not wish to do.

  22. As a reaction to this, I’m not going to go and pray in their temples. What’s that you say? No one cares. Ah, right.

  23. GulliverUK 21 Jul 2013, 4:20pm

    All religions are suffering a decline – their hay-day has come and gone. 2nd and 3rd generation Sikhs in this country are giving up the Turban, cutting their hair, and marrying people who are not Sikhs. In fact there are more violent protests now against “mixed-faith” marriages, in the UK, …. yes, in the UK!… than at any previous time. The Sikh population is very small, they claim about 400,000, but I’d dispute that a child under 16 can determine what religion they want for themselves. The number who are LGBT are a small fraction of that, the number who would want to get married in their place of worship would be exceptionally tiny – remembering more than 70% of all marriages are held in registry offices, and other venues, but not religious venues. Only a small number of any believers want a religious ceremony, and it’s dropping all the time, as religion fades from society.

    Besides, the law does protect them – this is just a silly anti-gay religious stunt to get publicity.

    1. GulliverUK 21 Jul 2013, 4:27pm

      btw, here’s the article on violence by Sikhs against Sikhs over mixed-faith marriages

      Some will say there are more Muslims than ever before — yes, when you tell the world your child is a follower of Islam, then yes, but the evidence shows when they reach the age of 16+ they do what they want, and increasingly 2nd and 3rd generation young people drop religion in this country – otherwise we’d have an army of young Christians, Sikhs and Muslims who were as religiously devout as their parents — and we do not. I’m happy to see the slow decline of religion replaced by rational science, philosophy, evidence-based reasoning, etc. But I don’t have to hope for it, it’s happening. Look at the massive drop in those professing to be Christians in this country, and even in the US.

      People are dumping old religion because the new religion is technology and humanism.

      1. Actually, I’d say the new religion is consumerism, vanity and money…

        1. I would say the new religion is using technology to look for nice things which you then buy for your best friends – the humanism bit (thinking about others before yourself — just occasionally). We can combine them, see :-p

  24. white squirrel 21 Jul 2013, 4:31pm

    thery say
    “We have no authority, neither has the Government, to change our scriptures. We are bound by our religious teachings […]”
    totally wrong – if ‘god’ were to exist then there would only be one such entity
    given that all the major religions scriptures differ without offending ‘god’ to any noticeable degree
    it logically follows that the Sikhs every authority to change their scripture in any way they want

  25. It is real interesting that the original article appeared in the Telegraph, a rag owned by a couple of right wing catholics who are not shy in promoting their religion in the public space and laws which would restrict other religions in their freedom.
    Secular values give maximum freedom to religions, whilst protecting those within those religions who want to leave or disagree or to join another religious tradition. Laws in a secular state do not permit coercion within religion and any demonstrable harm, physical or physiological that religious practice may manifest or inflict on others.
    That is the basis of the UN and European Charters of Human Rights as regards freedom of belief and religion; to fear the European HR Court on this issue is fear mongering and unfounded, unless you are, or want to, enforce your religion on others, or are harming people.
    I will leave the motives of those who wrote or support this article for others to ponder.

  26. white squirrel 21 Jul 2013, 4:40pm

    “We have no authority, neither has the Government, to change our scriptures. We are bound by our religious teachings […]”

    then how was this possible=
    If they can have schism
    then they can have redacted texts

    1. Broken link !

  27. Nick Davis 21 Jul 2013, 4:54pm

    Spoke with my Sikh friends over this they said quote,” Sikhs in England are a bunch of w*nkers. Don’t worry about them, the whole community dislikes them. Stuck up pricks”

  28. Why are British Sikhs against equality?I
    remember here in Canada the Sikh Community supported the Civil,Marriage Act.Even the head of a major Muslim group here said that albeit they’re unable to perform Same sex marriages in their mosques,they support it in civil

  29. A welcome move. Let’s hope all other religions follow suit. Would be good to make marriage an entirely civil matter, as in large parts of Europe.

  30. It is a load of bull. The Roman Catholic Church has been happily refusing to perform weddings for non-Catholics and for Catholics who have been divorced for *centuries* and the European Court of Human Rights has yet to penalize either the Vatican or individual churches for it.

    There is a long-established legal understanding that houses of worship may set specific religious rules indicating that they will not perform certain marriages, even if those marriages are perfectly legal. Some do not perform interfaith marriages, or will only perform marriages for members of their own specific religion generally. Some will not perform remarriages for divorced people. The Mormons, while not having a large presence in Europe, do not in fact even allow non-Mormons to *attend* wedding ceremonies in their temples, which only Mormons may enter.

    None of these groups have extra special protections written into common or civil law governing opposite-sex marriages. Nor do they need them.

  31. All churches should all de-register as venues for civil weddings and just do the religious woo then afterwards the couples can go and get properly married at a civil registry, solves a lot of problems for all the religious bigots and their victims.

  32. Apparently, Canada’s World Organisation of Sikhs supported the passage of marriage equality back in Canada in 2005, and were satisfied that it was civil marriage. Moreover, Sikh holy texts say nothing about sexual identity; one suspects that these conservative Sikhs are referencing conservative Sikh opinion back in India for their stance.

  33. Please, please realise that this is a statement made by a group with a particular agenda and NOT an official statement by the Sikh faith. There is nothing in Sikh scriptures against same-sex marriage. The awesome experiences you’ve had with Sikhs are certainly valid – it’s just that every group of people have their bigots who like to mouth off.

    1. Randeep Singh 22 Jul 2013, 1:26am

      Hear hear – thanks Louise ;)

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 22 Jul 2013, 12:29pm

      Well said, Louise. I think it can also apply to all faiths. There will always be the very vocal minority in any of them as we’ve seen with that bunch of loons at C4M.

  34. Christopher Coleman 22 Jul 2013, 1:22am

    A storm surge in a teaspoon. No gay or lesbian couple in their right minds would seek to marry in a religious place that does not very publicly welcome LGBT people and make it clear that they will perform same gender weddings. If a couple chose to do so, simply to cause a stir, the law as it presently stands would not support them.

    Ideally all wedding ceremonies should be civil. Those who want a religious ceremony can go their church or other place of worship for a second ceremony. If we did that, there would be no fear of problems of this kind.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 22 Jul 2013, 12:37pm

      I concur, but look at the French model, look what happened. Large demonstrations and more than 1,000 mayors refusing to marry gay couples, although I still support civil marriage only as the legal one. I suspect the CoE would be vigorously opposed to that of course. More importantly, to bring that about I think disestablishment should come first, the word they fear most. Now that would be a major constitutional crisis with the Queen directly affected.

  35. Randeep Singh 22 Jul 2013, 1:25am

    Is there a rush of gay Sikh guys wanting to get married in Gurdwaras (Sikh Temples) that I don’t know about?! I’m Sikh and gay, and I’m downright disappointed by the position taken by certain members of the Sikh community. Sikhism is a religion of equality, tolerance and respect – qualities which Lord Singh failed to emulate in the Lords when debating the (then) Equal Marriages Bill, and which this letter fails to do justice to.
    I’m fairly involved in the Sikh community and, until now, had not heard of “Sikhs in England”. I suspect its a knee-jerk reaction by a fringe group trying to justify its entrenched homophobia.

    They’re clearly not very smart or informed. Places of worship aren’t registered to “perform civil marriages” but to solemnise religious marriages. There’s a difference, which they’d know, if they’d bothered to rub a few brain cells together.

    Notably, the main Sikh umbrella body, the Sikh Council, is silent on this matter. It has issued no such “guidance”.

  36. Randeep Singh 22 Jul 2013, 1:38am

    ….and the plot thickens!! The guy behind “Sikhs in England”, Harmander Singh, is also a member of the Sikh Chaplaincy Trust, which was established by our noble Lord Singh. I suspect he is the real orchestrator of this letter….

    …he doesn’t even have a proper beard! ;)

  37. Not a problem, just get out of the marriage business. Your services will not be missed. Toodles.

  38. No new place should be allowed to register if they don’t accept the law totally from now on.

    Don’t let them register again when their income dries up.

  39. Sarbat LGBT Sikhs 22 Jul 2013, 3:02pm

    The views expressed by “Sikhs in England” are not representative of the entire Sikh faith.

    Sikhism does not speak against homosexuality. Nor, does it say gay marriage is forbidden.

    Please see our open letter to “Sikhs in England” from Sarbat – LGBT Sikhs –

  40. What a load of rubbish
    I suggest anyone interested in finding a more considered Sikh opinion on the issues affecting gay Sikhs should check out Sarbat’s website:

    Here’s the link to their Facebook:

  41. Im glad organisation like Sikhs in England &Sarbat LGBT Sikhs exist as I think the issue of homosexuality is an issue that rarely comes up within my community. A lot of the elder members of the community would rather ignore it &pretend it wasn’t happening. These 2 opposing organisations should bring the issue 2the forefront of all Gurdwara attending Sikhs. By allowing same sex marriage within gurdwaras, Im hoping that those same people finally address the issue &stop denying what they know in their hearts; that their niece who refuses to marry lives with a woman who is more than her friend & that that teenage boy who killed himself without any explanation was in fact gay and couldn’t bare the shame of it.

    I think hetrosexual Sikhs could make a stand & refuse to marry until all Gurdwaras accept gay marriage. Sikhs focus on marriage & parents & Grandparents pride on their kids marriage is immense. If hetrosexuals refused to marry on this ground, every1 would start listening

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