Same sex church marriages approved


by Rumbold
13th February, 2011 at 9:58 am    

Couples may now be able to hold same sex ceremonies in religious buildings:

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone is to propose lifting the ban on civil partnerships taking place in religious settings in England and Wales…

There are no plans to compel religious organisations to hold ceremonies and the Church of England has said it would not allow its churches to be used…

The Roman Catholic Church has long held that homosexuality is a “deviation” and is not expected to agree to same-sex ceremonies.

The legislation would also cover synagogues and mosques although homosexual relationships are forbidden under Islam and Orthodox Judaism.

This seems a good thing. People will be able to have same sex marriages in religious buildings, but those religious buildings will not be forced to hold same sex ceremonies. I would like to see this idea pushed further, so that any adult can have a civil partnership with one other person (between two elderly sisters for example), as Peter Tatchell has long advocated, which confers certain rights on each individual. Marriage would then be a purely private affair, conferring no legal rights.

Update: BBC post quote updated as the original source material changed.


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  1. Hali — on 13th February, 2011 at 10:08 am  

    I should preface this comment with the following facts: I am gay and I fully support LGBT equality in every aspect of life INCLUDING marriage, if that’s your thing.

    Now, that said; I feel very uncomfortable with this. The reason being that whilst I do support gay marriage, I fear that those with privilege will stop listening to the LGBT equality campaign. If we are seen to have marriage, which I believe is a pretty outdated, ridiculous, patriarchal concept in the first place, then people will start saying ‘What are they complaining about? They’re equal now’ when that would simply not be the case.

    Gay marriage has been built up as such a massive thing which would be the final hurdle in the fight for LGBT equality and that couldn’t be further from the truth. If we were to get gay marriage it would give those with power, license to ignore the LGBT community, probably, with large public support.

    Sorry this isn’t that well written, not had much sleep! It’s something I think I want to write at length about at some point to properly make my case.

  2. earwicga — on 13th February, 2011 at 10:13 am  

    Rumbold – you have confused ‘marriage’ with ‘civil partnership’ in your title and text. They are not the same thing, and this two-tier system is wrong – wherever it may take place.

  3. Sarah AB — on 13th February, 2011 at 10:15 am  

    I don’t think the fact that this small new step forward in equality *might* make some people claim there are no further problems is a good reason for being uncomfortable – or at least, one can’t help feeling uncomfortable of course as it’s not a voluntary act, but wanting to *stop* gay marriage for the reasons Hali suggests seems illogical, a bit like worrying about allowing women’s suffrage because it might distract from all the other barriers preventing full equality back in the early c.20.

  4. Trofim — on 13th February, 2011 at 12:10 pm  

    Interesting that the title of the post uses the term “church” and in the article seems to be conflated with “religious buildings”. “Religious building”, is of course, a wider concept than “church”. Say no more.

  5. Rumbold — on 13th February, 2011 at 3:02 pm  

    Hali:

    I agree that some people will seek to use it as an excuse to avoid tackling other issues, especially homophobic bullying in schools, by saying that “we let you get married now.”

    Earwiga:

    Now that they can be held in churches etc. they are for all intensive purposes marriages. As I said in my piece above, I would like marriage to be a non-state affair, with the civil ceremony conferring all the legal rights.

    Trofim:

    Yes, you can get married now in mosques, temples, gurdwaras, etc. I was attempting to keep the headline pithy.

  6. Don — on 13th February, 2011 at 4:40 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Pedant alert. That’s ‘to all intents and purposes’.

    OK, lifting the ban on civil partnership ceremonies being celebrated in religious buildings sounds progressive but I seriously doubt it means anything of substance.

    Yes, you can get married now in mosques, temples, gurdwaras Really? You mean the government won’t stop you. That’s not the same thing.

    How many religious groups will give permission? The Unitarians? Probably. A few of the more relaxed Anglicans might be favourable, but they’d need an ok from their bishop, which is unlikely. Roman Catholics? Good luck with that. A mosque? When that happens I’ll be there with a fish-kettle and a bag of confetti. The Wee Free? Aye, that’s likely.

    No, as you said, what matters is not where the ceremony takes place but whether or not people who choose to commit to a partner for life are on an equal footing regardless of their sexuality or, indeed, lack of it.

  7. Konnu — on 13th February, 2011 at 4:55 pm  

    Rumbold: “so that any adult can have a civil partnership with one other person”

    Why only one?

  8. earwicga — on 13th February, 2011 at 5:07 pm  

    Rumbold@

    ‘Now that they can be held in churches etc. they are for all intensive purposes marriages.’

    Actually, they aren’t. There is a two-tier system in place – one for same-sex couples and one for hetro couples. This IS, for all intents and purposes, segretation. I’m very surprised that you are stating otherwise.

    As Don says, this proposal practically means nothing.

    Don – the Quakers are already on record as wishing to carry out civil partnerships.

  9. sabir — on 13th February, 2011 at 6:27 pm  

    “The legislation would also cover synagogues and mosques although homosexuality is forbidden under Islam.”

    Homosexual acts are forbidden in every religion. Not sure why the author singles out one (Islam) particularly as they have edited the original paragraph which reads:

    “The legislation would also cover synagogues and mosques although homosexual relationships are forbidden under Islam and Orthodox Judaism.”

  10. Don — on 13th February, 2011 at 6:48 pm  

    earwicga,

    Always had a soft spot for the Quakers.

  11. Rumbold — on 13th February, 2011 at 6:50 pm  

    Don (and Earwiga):

    Oops. Rather, that’s ‘typo alert’.

    Yes, you can get married now in mosques, temples, gurdwaras Really? You mean the government won’t stop you. That’s not the same thing.

    Sort of. Before you couldn’t. I don’t think Johnny Homophobe should be forced to hold same sex marriage ceremonies. Nor would I give them tax breaks either.

    Earwiga:

    Okay, what are the differences now between a marriage and a civil partnership?

    Konnu:

    For simplicity’s sake (in case of a divorce for example).

    Sabir:

    The quote is from the original BBC article, which has since been updated.

  12. sabir — on 13th February, 2011 at 6:55 pm  

    so why dont you update yours?

  13. earwicga — on 13th February, 2011 at 7:17 pm  

    ‘Earwiga: [also a typo/misspelling]

    Okay, what are the differences now between a marriage and a civil partnership?’

    The difference is in who is allowed to do each one. They are not the same. I think you know this Rumbold. Your post is confused, and it does nobody any favours to do such a thing.

  14. Don — on 13th February, 2011 at 7:23 pm  

    I don’t think Johnny Homophobe should be forced to hold same sex marriage ceremonies. Nor would I give them tax breaks either.

    Well, I’m with you there. No religion should be given tax breaks except for very clear charitable works.

    Before you couldn’t.

    And now you can? Could you identify a mosque, cathederal, gurdwara, synagogue, abbey or temple where that is likely? OK, Quakers and Unitarians. But that’s fine if their adherents want to do that in the modest premises these people tend to occupy. Pagans and the odd heretical sect could already dance around widdershins or say the magic words. For the most part it’s an easy nothing for the government. The religious can decide for themselves who gets to be recognised.

    I don’t have a problem with that. If you have chosen a world view that god hates the same stuff you do, then by all means keep the tainted from your premises. But pay your damn taxes. And obey the law. Just like the rest of us.

    sabir,

    Fair point.

  15. chairwoman — on 13th February, 2011 at 8:12 pm  

    How about doing away with the titles “Husband”, “Wife”, “Civil Partner” and go for the generic term “Companion”?

  16. Rumbold — on 13th February, 2011 at 8:21 pm  

    Sabir:

    Post now updated.

    Earwicga:

    Just one of those typo days. Apologies.

    The difference is in who is allowed to do each one. They are not the same. I think you know this Rumbold. Your post is confused, and it does nobody any favours to do such a thing.

    As I said, I think everyone should have a civil partnership before the law. But apart from one being same sex, and one being opposite sex, what are the differences?

    Don:

    If you have chosen a world view that god hates the same stuff you do, then by all means keep the tainted from your premises. But pay your damn taxes. And obey the law. Just like the rest of us.

    Agreed.

  17. earwicga — on 13th February, 2011 at 8:38 pm  

    chairwoman – doesn’t ‘spouse’ have the same meaning?

    Rumbold – everyone is allowed on the bus, some are required to sit at the front, some are required to sit at the back. Is that equality? Of course not – it is segretation. Your post is still confused and I cannot fathom why you would be perpetuating such nonsense.

  18. chairwoman — on 13th February, 2011 at 8:57 pm  

    Just going for a “new” generic title for a new situation.

  19. earwicga — on 13th February, 2011 at 9:05 pm  

    Ah. How about ‘sparkle’ then? :)

    ‘Companion’ makes me think of E.M. Forster.

  20. chairwoman — on 13th February, 2011 at 11:55 pm  

    I do like ‘sparkle’.

    I try not to think of E.M.Forster :) .

  21. Kismet Hardy — on 14th February, 2011 at 2:04 pm  

    Good I now hope the BBC will now follow the lead and use our license fee to show more same sex programmes

  22. damon — on 14th February, 2011 at 4:59 pm  

    It does seem to have been a bit stupid to have banned weddings in places of worship.
    So what’s the next push for gay rights. To be able to insist that you should be able to get married in church or mosque of your choice? Surely refusing to marry someone on the grounds of their sexuality will be the next claim of discrimination.

    Btw, just because I don’t share quite the same view as earwicga, doesn’t mean I’m trolling.
    Personally, I thought civil partnerships should have been enough. I remember being taught my catechism as a kid, and being told by the priest that marriage was one of the seven sacraments.
    http://www.ainglkiss.com/sacraments/

    I don’t remember him saying specifically that it had to be hetro marriage though.
    So maybe gay marriage is a sacrament too. :)

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