Friday, October 07, 2011

Marriage Equality Gains Momentum

This week the Prime Minister David Cameron said he was in favour of same sex marriage, saying, "I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.” I remember reading a similar argument a number of years ago in America. I sort of agree with it, though I'm not a Conservative in any way. Marriage equality is a pro-marriage position: it's valuing commitment, family, love, stability.

The Government has announced it's going to hold a consultation on same sex marriage in England and Wales next March, but it has already excluded the possibility of religious marriage. They only want to allow civil marriage as a possibility. This cannot be acceptable to religious progressives who want to allow marriage in their own places of worship. So we're now faced with a major disagreement between religious progressives and religous conservatives. Religious conservatives should not be made to perform marriages of which they disapprove, but that should not mean the law bans religious progressives from doing so. This is where the disagreement is going to be in the coming months.


Blogger Rich said...

As far as I know, only the Church of England is compelled to perform religious marriages of people who ask for them (and then only if they're eligible, local people).

Other faiths/denominations are (I believe) allowed to refuse to marry any two people even in the case of heterosexual marriage.

So if we get marriage equality we should be able to get around this complication simply by having a separate rule for the Church of England. They have separate rules for everything else!

1:45 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

But the C of E used to refuse to marry divorced people, right? Surely it can be the same situation if it refuses to marry same-sex couples.

2:36 pm  
Blogger Andy from St Ives said...

There is a parallel move towards same sex marriage going on in Scotland. And as in England the proposals allow for churches to celebrate same sex marriages if they wish, but do not force them if they don't wish. I am pleased that the Scottish Unitarian Association, including my former church, St Mark's in Edinburgh, is working very hard to promote the new legislation, and bring about a fairer, juster Scotland.

Three of the Scottish Catholic bishops have been quite outspoken against same sex marriage. Yet a recent opinion poll suggested that 55% of Scottish Catholics are actually in favour of same sex marriage.

The website is a good way to keep up with the debate as regards Scotland. You can read about Bishops Philip Tartaglia, Mario Conti, and Keith Patrick O'Brien - they are free to express their opinions, but the way they are trying to make their influence felt is quite disturbing.

A posting describes yesterday's sermon given in St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow, by Kevin Holdsworth, the cathedral's Provost (English equivalent=Dean). Not only does he support gay marriages, his cathedral already advertises that it has an LGBT group, and offers blessings of civil partnerships. Therefore, we must remember that the pro same sex marriage movement includes people from many churches even if their central governing body has not yet endorsed the concept.

I'd also like to mention the Equality Network which is championing the equal marriage movement in Scotland. You can sign up with them and get regular email bulletins. Visit .

I would urge all your readers based in Scotland to send in their response to the Scottish Government's consultation about this proposed legislation. You'll find it at

11:10 am  

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