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Church 'does not own marriage' - Comments

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 1 by Jos Gibbons

Traditionalists want [insert article's topic here] to remain unchanged.

Do sentences like these even need to be included, ever? Just say what changes someone is calling for & what arguments are used against them by those who don't want them to occur. (Yes, arguments - not "they said they don't like it". That's just a statement.)

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 10:39:33 UTC | #921758

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 2 by Alan4discussion

"This is not a battle between gay rights and religious beliefs," she said.

"This is about the underlying principles of family, society and personal freedoms."

I would have thought it was both!

No doubt many religinuts, would like the law to only recognise church endorsed marriages as was historically the case, where only those parents were"legitimately married with the consent of the church" at the time of their birth, could inherit titles or property. This was one of the methods used to combine political power and feudal resource control in the hands of church members.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastard_%28Law_of_England_and_Wales%29 A bastard (also called whoreson) in the law of England and Wales is a person whose parents, at the time of his/her birth, were not married to each other.

Unlike in many other systems of law, there was previously no possibility of post factum legitimisation of a bastard. This situation was changed in 1926.

Bastardy was not a status, like villeinage, but the fact of being a bastard had a number of legal effects on an individual.

One exception to the general principle that a bastard could not inherit occurred when the eldest son (who would otherwise be heir) was born a bastard but the second son was born after the parents were married.

The Provisions of Merton 1235 (20 Hen. 3 c. IX), otherwise known as the Special Bastardy Act 1235, provided that except in the case of real actions the fact of bastardy could be proved by trial by jury, rather than necessitating a bishop's certificate.

I am sure they would like to establish a regime like this one they had in Spain, not so long ago!

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 11:16:33 UTC | #921763

AdrianTippetts's Avatar Comment 3 by AdrianTippetts

This campaign is about CIVIL marriage. Nobody is forcing any church to bless, endorse, affirm any same-sex union, let alone hold a same-sex marriage.

At the moment there is a very nasty campaign against marriage equality, Coalition For Marriage, which is being run from the offices of the Christian Medical Foundation, in Borough, London SE1. It is not 'grass roots' at all. Its co-director is Colin Hart, founder of the Christian Institute, which has campaigned against EVERY piece of LGBT rights legislation, through the age of consent, LGBT people in the armed forces, Section 28, adoption, civil partnerships and now this. And this organisation has Charity status. Last year, this charity went on American Family Radio, warning that if the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (the ban on gays in the US military) were lifted, it would be catastrophic for Christians, and that Christian servicepeople are suffering in the UK as a result.

Other co-signatories are Christian Concern, CARE (co-sponsors of a 'gay cure' event co-hosted by NARTH in London in 2009, and co-sponsors of the UK National Prayer Breakfast which takes place in Parliament in July), and members of Anglican Mainstream, whose website is a stream of anti-LGBT bigotry.

If the media invites George Carey or Colin Hart into the studio, they really must aske C4M about their real agenda. If they did that, people would know where the real intimidation was coming from, and who the real victims were. These groups represent a tiny minority of Christians, but their voice is way over-amplified, they are awash with funds, they know how do lobby and run the kind of slick PR campaigns that would make Max Clifford envious.

They are using the tried-and-tested tricks of American lobbyists such as the Family Research Council, NOM, etc. That's why it's more imortant than ever, that we secularists, humanists, decent well-meaning religious people joined forces - forget our philosophical differences for a later discussion over a pint perhaps - and agreed what we stand FOR and showed solidarity with minority groups like the LGBT community. And let your MPs know this too. Politicians tend want an easy life, and show little resolve in the face of loudmouths. We must not let that happen.

Same-sex marriage is just the start of it. Next it will be abstinence only education, creationism in science class, opt-outs in the workplace, ban on abortion, contraception and probably prohibition too.

If you are in the UK, may I urge you to sign your name on the petition to show support for same-sex couples to get married, at www.C4EM.org.uk? Especially if you are not gay. We're all in this together.

Many thanks, and hopefully in solidarity,

Adrian

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 11:36:28 UTC | #921764

"'s Avatar Comment 4 by "

link text >

Comment 3 by AdrianTippetts :

If you are in the UK, may I urge you to sign your name on the petition to show support for same-sex couples to get married, at www.C4EM.org.uk? Especially if you are not gay. We're all in this together.

Thanks for the link Adrian - I've just signed the petition. I've reposted it below so that it can just be clicked on to go there

Marriage Equality Petition Link C4EM

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 11:42:26 UTC | #921765

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 5 by drumdaddy

The religion business long ago cornered the markets in guaranteed demographic categories. The distribution model is perpetuated automatically via the ceremonial hijacking of births, rites of passage, weddings, and funerals; thereby targeting 100% of the population, several times each. These staple categories combine with specialty categories (holy holidays, wine industry, accessories, prayer sale, bingo, exorcisms, schools, universities, medical facilities, real estate, publishing, telecommunications, etc.) to build a time-tested profit model. Tax free. Add billions of dollars of 'faith-based' annual contributions by taxpayers. Add billions in contributions from the wealthy.

This house of cards is falling under it's own weight but won't go without a big fight. A good card to tug would be weddings. I wouldn't dream of wedding my true love while standing under a statue of a hanging corpse.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 11:53:14 UTC | #921769

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 6 by Mrkimbo

I find this very encouraging. If a predominantly conservative government is making such encouraging noises on gay marriage, then whether it takes shorter or longer it's going to happen, and the Christian loonies are well and truly f*****k. They can go and snarl and slaver in some nasty corner for a bit and become an even greater irrelevancy than they already are. Then in twenty years of so you'll find mainstream Xstians claiming with a straight face that the church played a leading role in legalising gay marriage, just like they did with astronomy, intellectual freedom, environmentalism and the sexual revolution.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 11:54:52 UTC | #921770

mmurray's Avatar Comment 7 by mmurray

Comment 3 by AdrianTippetts :

This campaign is about CIVIL marriage. Nobody is forcing any church to bless, endorse, affirm any same-sex union, let alone hold a same-sex marriage.

They should be. I can see that it is sensible politically to avoid that battle now but it needs to come. A marriage performed by a church only has meaning in law because society says so. If a church wants its marriages registered legally it should obey societies rules about discrimination. Would we put up with a church refusing to let a black person and white person marry?

Michael

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:00:47 UTC | #921771

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 8 by Steve Zara

This might be the place to ask - what is the difference between civil partnership and civil marriage? As far as I can tell, there is none, other than a use of words to keep gay arrangements separate from heterosexual arrangements, and something to do with titles: If I were to gain a knighthood, my civil partner would not become a 'Lady'!!

I am all for equality, I'm just curious about what I might gain from this. Also, will civil partnerships be automatically 'upgraded'? Or will I have to marry? Will I have to civil-divorce first?

Will it just mean that all civil partnerships are to be renamed civil marriages, and I get to call my partner "husband" as against the truly ridiculous term "civil partner"?

More on topic - if governments don't have the right to alter civil marriage, who does?

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:02:29 UTC | #921772

devdas's Avatar Comment 9 by devdas

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:03:59 UTC | #921773

mmurray's Avatar Comment 10 by mmurray

Comment 6 by Mrkimbo :

I find this very encouraging. If a predominantly conservative government is making such encouraging noises on gay marriage, then whether it takes shorter or longer it's going to happen, and the Christian loonies are well and truly f*****k. They can go and snarl and slaver in some nasty corner for a bit and become an even greater irrelevancy than they already are. Then in twenty years of so you'll find mainstream Xstians claiming with a straight face that the church played a leading role in legalising gay marriage, just like they did with astronomy, intellectual freedom, environmentalism and the sexual revolution.

I am looking forward to this being reported in Australia. What will our own dear Tony or our current PM (whichever one it is) make of it ?

Michael

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:09:42 UTC | #921776

mmurray's Avatar Comment 11 by mmurray

Comment 8 by Steve Zara :

Will it just mean that all civil partnerships are to be renamed civil marriages, and I get to call my partner "husband" as against the truly ridiculous term "civil partner"?

Does that mean you are always polite to each other ?

Michael

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:11:28 UTC | #921777

guwest's Avatar Comment 12 by guwest

Message from a Daily Mail reader: "In my Church, homosexuality is a sin. No gay couple can have a ceromony (sic) in the building nor can a practising homosexual join the Church and one that is a member would be excumunicated (sic)." Elizabeth Deighton, Bradford Yorkshire, 21/2/2012 11:12 Comments in Carey's DM article on19/2.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:14:51 UTC | #921778

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 13 by God fearing Atheist

Comment 8 by Steve Zara :

I was thinking that as well. I thought that the absolute legal equivalent of marriage was already available to gays in the UK. You have confirmed this. The only issue appears to be the name. I'm not sure why I should care (apart from one issue discussed below).

A few years ago the same issue came up in the USA and I asked about differences in legal rights as opposed to the name. I was told it was like black people still being allowed to ride on the same bus, they just had to sit at the back. But that is an analogy about different rights, not a different name. The analogy for that would be the bus driver having to issue black tickets to black people, and white tickets to white people, but the people could sit anywhere they liked. It is only a lot of hassle for the driver, and hence a longer queue getting on the bus.

Which brings me to why I should care. I presume the entire body of UK legislation is shot through with the phrase "marriage or civil partnership", when it could just be "marriage" which implies that I am paying marginally more taxes to support the nightmare of maintaining an awkward and cumbersome system, with the potential for errors that could accidentally introduce discrimination.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:21:16 UTC | #921779

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 14 by Jos Gibbons

I've signed the petition now. Good luck to everyone (save for the bigots).

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:31:14 UTC | #921781

Nastika's Avatar Comment 15 by Nastika

Comment 12 by guwest

member would be excumunicated

Oo-er Missus!

Sorry - couldn't resist.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:34:28 UTC | #921782

mmurray's Avatar Comment 16 by mmurray

Comment 12 by guwest :

Message from a Daily Mail reader: "In my Church, homosexuality is a sin. No gay couple can have a ceromony (sic) in the building nor can a practising homosexual join the Church and one that is a member would be excumunicated (sic)." Elizabeth Deighton, Bradford Yorkshire, 21/2/2012 11:12 Comments in Carey's DM article on19/2.

What if you are no longer practising but have fully mastered homosexuality ?

Sorry that phrase always amuses me.

Michael

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:42:35 UTC | #921785

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

comment 11 by mmurray

Does that mean you are always polite to each other ?

I assumed it meant that we legally have to be. We gays have to work so much harder at our civil partnerships.

I do realise that this legislation would only relate to 'civil marriages', so it is really none of the Church's business, but part of me really, really does want it to be the Church's business, and have them forced to comply with any new law. The idea that the Church of England or the Catholic Church is like some sort of private club and should be exempt from law is really absurd. The Church of England is part of the state, and for it to not comply with the spirit of any new legislation is utterly shameful given its privileges. The Catholic Church takes money for its services from parishioners. It's a business selling heaven. Businesses should comply, dammit.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:55:47 UTC | #921786

mmurray's Avatar Comment 18 by mmurray

Comment 13 by God fearing Atheist :

Which brings me to why I should care. I presume the entire body of UK legislation is shot through with the phrase "marriage or civil partnership", when it could just be "marriage" which implies that I am paying marginally more taxes to support the nightmare of maintaining an awkward and cumbersome system, with the potential for errors that could accidentally introduce discrimination.

You should care as much as you care in any case of discrimination. What if mixed racial marriages were not allowed but they had introduced a completely equivalent mixed race civil partnership. Would that be OK? What if the government solves this marriage quality problem by saying only churches can marry and everybody else has a civil partnership. So atheists have to have civil partnerships. Would that be OK?

Michael

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:04:27 UTC | #921787

mmurray's Avatar Comment 19 by mmurray

Comment 17 by Steve Zara :

I do realise that this legislation would only relate to 'civil marriages', so it is really none of the Church's business, but part of me really, really does want it to be the Church's business, and have them forced to comply with any new law. The idea that the Church of England or the Catholic Church is like some sort of private club and should be exempt from law is really absurd. The Church of England is part of the state, and for it to not comply with the spirit of any new legislation is utterly shameful given its privileges. The Catholic Church takes money for its services from parishioners. It's a business selling heaven. Businesses should comply, dammit.

I agree completely. If the churches want the privilege of having their marriage ceremonies recognised by the state they should follow the rules against discrimination. Can you imagine the outcry if a church wanted to not marry blacks and whites and declared it was in its holy book ?

As you point out the CoE in the UK is in a particularly tricky situation.

Michael

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:06:47 UTC | #921788

BenS's Avatar Comment 20 by BenS

Previously, I'd considered that the church should just be allowed to 'keep' marriage as its own and be allowed to decide who and what they permitted to marry - as long as a suitable and legally identical arrangement was available for those who weren't allowed / chose not to. Meaning that there was nothing special about 'marriage' in law and nobody was really being penalised.

I've changed my view on this.

Firstly, marriage does not belong to the church. It predates Christianity by a long, long way. The church shouldn't have the right to claim something as its own (and prevent others using that thing) when what they're claiming wasn't invented by them and isn't unique to them. The church can no more claim it owns marriage than it could claim it owns Latin.

Secondly, it's providing a service. As Michael stated above, they should be bound by the same anti-discrimination laws everyone else is. If church marriages are to be considered legal, they should be available to all.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:07:02 UTC | #921789

sb254's Avatar Comment 21 by sb254

As the moral zeitgeist continues to shift, objections from the Archbishop of York (and other clergy) to gay marriage, filmed for posterity for all to see, will increasingly be seen as shameful, abhorrent bigotry. In years to come these dinosaurs may even be blamed by their own congregations for accelerating the demise of the church in this country. As another contributor has already said, the church is a generation behind everyone else.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:17:50 UTC | #921792

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 22 by God fearing Atheist

Comment 18 by mmurray :

What if mixed racial marriages were not allowed but they had introduced a completely equivalent mixed race civil partnership. Would that be OK?

Yes. It makes no practical difference to the mixed race couple, it just adds to the legislative headache.

What if the government solves this marriage quality problem by saying only churches can marry and everybody else has a civil partnership. So atheists have to have civil partnerships. Would that be OK?

Yes. I wouldn't get married in a church if you gave me a million quid! (Ok, a thousand, my prostitution price isn't that high!)

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:23:13 UTC | #921793

merlinaeus's Avatar Comment 23 by merlinaeus

In the current issue of The Church Times, their poll this week is:

"Is it right to use the word "marriage" for same-sex unions?

The results were:Yes 41% , No 59%"

Not sure what the readership profile is, but a significant proportion will be Cof E clergy. That result made me feel quite hopeful that Equality issues are steadily working their way up the agenda for Christians in the UK. About time too.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:24:50 UTC | #921794

"'s Avatar Comment 24 by "

Comment 8 by Steve Zara :

I am all for equality, I'm just curious about what I might gain from this.

I'm gay and I once had to accompany my long term partner to accident and emergency hospital. This was before civil partnerships, so I had no legal status, though we had both prepared living wills giving the other the right to make decisions in the event of incapacity.

I explained the situation to the junior emergency room doctor and I well remember the puzzled look on her face when she replied "so you mean a little bit like a sort of married couple?". I was pretty stressed out due to my partner being in a physical crisis, so I ended up shouting "no EXACTLY like a married couple!".

She got the message, but I think society still needs to get that message. That's why using the same words to describe hetero and homo commitments is important. Gay commitments are not a "bit like a sort of" Straight commitment THEY ARE EXACTLY EQUIVALENT. (Sorry for shouting!)

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:26:01 UTC | #921795

sunbeamforjeebus's Avatar Comment 25 by sunbeamforjeebus

If it is' the Government's job to reflect society' as she rightly asserts ,can we expect the rapid expulsion of the bloody bishops from the Lords????

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:27:27 UTC | #921796

lol mahmood's Avatar Comment 26 by lol mahmood

Comment 3 by AdrianTippetts :

This campaign is about CIVIL marriage. Nobody is forcing any church to bless, endorse, affirm any same-sex union, let alone hold a same-sex marriage.

At the moment there is a very nasty campaign against marriage equality, Coalition For Marriage, which is being run from the offices of the Christian Medical Foundation, in Borough, London SE1. It is not 'grass roots' at all. Its co-director is Colin Hart, founder of the Christian Institute, which has campaigned against EVERY piece of LGBT rights legislation, through the age of consent, LGBT people in the armed forces, Section 28, adoption, civil partnerships and now this. And this organisation has Charity status. Last year, this charity went on American Family Radio, warning that if the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (the ban on gays in the US military) were lifted, it would be catastrophic for Christians, and that Christian servicepeople are suffering in the UK as a result.

Other co-signatories are Christian Concern, CARE (co-sponsors of a 'gay cure' event co-hosted by NARTH in London in 2009, and co-sponsors of the UK National Prayer Breakfast which takes place in Parliament in July), and members of Anglican Mainstream, whose website is a stream of anti-LGBT bigotry.

If the media invites George Carey or Colin Hart into the studio, they really must aske C4M about their real agenda. If they did that, people would know where the real intimidation was coming from, and who the real victims were. These groups represent a tiny minority of Christians, but their voice is way over-amplified, they are awash with funds, they know how do lobby and run the kind of slick PR campaigns that would make Max Clifford envious.

They are using the tried-and-tested tricks of American lobbyists such as the Family Research Council, NOM, etc. That's why it's more imortant than ever, that we secularists, humanists, decent well-meaning religious people joined forces - forget our philosophical differences for a later discussion over a pint perhaps - and agreed what we stand FOR and showed solidarity with minority groups like the LGBT community. And let your MPs know this too. Politicians tend want an easy life, and show little resolve in the face of loudmouths. We must not let that happen.

Same-sex marriage is just the start of it. Next it will be abstinence only education, creationism in science class, opt-outs in the workplace, ban on abortion, contraception and probably prohibition too.

If you are in the UK, may I urge you to sign your name on the petition to show support for same-sex couples to get married, at www.C4EM.org.uk? Especially if you are not gay. We're all in this together.

Many thanks, and hopefully in solidarity,

Adrian

Adrian, I've copied and posted your entire post, plus appropriate links, onto my Facebook. I also linked back to here and named you as author. It's an excellent post.

I wonder - how long before the CofE both apologises for its role in suppressing gay people AND claims credit for the abolition of homophobia?

How long before the Telegraph 'discovers' homophobes in Richard's lineage? Can someone contact Lusher?

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:27:34 UTC | #921797

stuhillman's Avatar Comment 27 by stuhillman

The UK should follow the French model. Every marriage - of whatever kind - must take place in the French equivalent of the a Registry Office. Many people choose to be married in church as well but the church ceremony is not legally recognized by the State.

Simples!

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:45:46 UTC | #921801

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 28 by aquilacane

I don't need to read this article to go one step further and say church plays no role in marriage, at all. A religious ceremony is for entertainment and delusional purposes only and has no bearing on the marital status of the participants.

Only the state can confirm marriage in the form of a legal contract entered into by the people. The government will even tell you when you're married, like they did with us. We received a letter in the mail outlining the additional taxes we owe now that the government is considering us a couple. We didn't file together but they figured it out. You want to get married, tell someone you'll spend the rest of your life together. If you think talk is cheap, just spend the rest of your life together.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:49:57 UTC | #921803

Jonathan Dore's Avatar Comment 29 by Jonathan Dore

Comment 19 mmurray (EDIT: This also relates to stuhilman's comment 27):

If the churches want the privilege of having their marriage ceremonies recognised by the state they should follow the rules against discrimination. Can you imagine the outcry if a church wanted to not marry blacks and whites and declared it was in its holy book ?

As you point out the CoE in the UK is in a particularly tricky situation.

It's fair to point out that in England the CoE is the only church whose marriage ceremonies are legally recognized by the state -- if you get married in any other church you also have to have a civil ceremony to get the legal paperwork. So effectively the others are indeed private clubs/businesses rather than organs of the state. But private clubs and businesses are required to observe the law too.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:52:54 UTC | #921804

mmurray's Avatar Comment 30 by mmurray

Comment 29 by Jonathan Dore :

It's fair to point out that in England the CoE is the only church whose marriage ceremonies are legally recognized by the state -- if you get married in any other church you also have to have a civil ceremony to get the legal paperwork. So effectively the others are indeed private clubs/businesses rather than organs of the state. But private clubs and businesses are required to observe the law too.

This is not true. See the wikipedia article

From the Marriage Act 1753 until 1837, only marriages conducted by the Church of England, by Quakers, or Jewish marriages, were recognised in England and Wales. This was changed by the Marriage Act 1836 which, in addition to introducing civil marriage, also allowed ministers of other faiths (Nonconformists and Roman Catholics) to act as registrars. The civil marriage law was superseded by the Marriage Act 1949.

Michael

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 13:56:11 UTC | #921806