Britain to allow gay-marriage in churches

"BRITAIN will announce plans next week to allow gay marriages in churches and other religious buildings, officials say, although Prime Minister David Cameron insists no faith group would be forced to hold them.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller will unveil ministers’ responses to a consultation earlier this year, which will propose that religious organisations should be able to “opt-in” to hold same-sex weddings, according to a government source.

Amid strong opposition from the Church of England and Roman Catholics, however, as well as many members of Cameron’s Conservative Party, Miller will stress that no religious groups will be forced to conduct gay weddings.

“I’m a massive supporter of marriage and I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution,” Cameron told reporters during a visit to a car factory on Friday.

"But let me be absolutely 100 per cent clear, if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn’t want to have a gay marriage it will not, absolutely must not, be forced to hold it.

"That is absolutely clear in the legislation.

“Also let me make clear, this is a free vote for members of parliament but personally I will be supporting it.”

Gay couples have had the right to hold a civil partnership since 2004 but campaigners have pushed for full equality with heterosexual couples.

The Church of England repeated its opposition in a statement on Friday.

“We believe that redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships will entail a dilution in the meaning of marriage,” it said.

In its submission to the public consultation in June, the Church said legalising gay marriage could force it out of its traditional role of conducting weddings on behalf of the state.

However, the Quakers welcomed Friday’s news, saying they had been campaigning since 2009 for all marriages in Quaker meeting houses to be legally valid.

“We are waiting for the law to catch up,” said recording clerk Paul Parker, adding, “For Quakers, this is an issue of religious freedom and we don’t seek to impose this on others.”

“The government is committed to bringing equal civil marriage forward and the consultation results will be announced next week,” a government spokesman said.

"We are very clear that religious organisations must be protected and that no religious organisation will be forced to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.

“The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees freedom of religion and we will additionally bring in very strong legal locks to ensure the protection is watertight.”

I find this kinda odd, because you’d think if a church wants to offer a same sex “marriage” service they’d do so if SSM was legalised. Why should a secular law say “if you’re a church, you can’t marry Bruce and Barry unless you opt in”.

Down here we have civil unions [a “marriage equality” bill is before a select committee and will sadly, likely become law :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: ] But we already have churches that offer “same sex civil union blessings”, Christian ones, I’m talking about too. Some Christian churches seem to base their whole existence on the gay relationship thing.

As long as the law, all laws pertaining to this mess, ensure the rights of religious institutions to say no then really what more can we ask for? I do think they’re treading on dangerous terrority, and do think that if gay marriage is legalised, it won’t be long before Bruce and Barry are suing teh Catholic Church or whatever Christain church who refuses to “marry” them.

I still think the whole thing is a disgrace. Ignorant and completely mindless in regards to what marriage actually is.

The Quakers are ecstatic about the decision.

That sounds pretty fair. Seems like each church/synagogue that wants to perform such marriages can do it, and if they do not want to, they don’t have to.

How long do you think that arrangement will last, DaddyGirl?

I imagine that if everyone stays kind, fair, and respectful of each other, a meeting-halfway like this could last quite a long time.
You are in agreement?

Right. I repeat, how long do you think this arrangement will last, DaddyGirl?

Safeguard is a farce in this country. Any rights preserved for religious institutions do not include rights of the individuals e.g. Catholic teachers in non-faith schools, etc. Also, those safeguarded rights only extend to Bishops and priests who do not wish to perform same-sex “marriage” but , under our equality laws (Sexual Orientation Regulations) will not apply to Church premises (implications on registration and registered Authorised Person) and dissenting priests. Being that “perform if they do not wish to do so” is the operative clause coming out of Camoron’s mouth and in view of Call to Action and Churches which host their meetings, can we really guarantee that same-sex “marriage” will not take place in Catholic Churches?

In September 2010, +Abp Nichols was asked whether “gay marriages” will be one to happen in the Catholic Church in England and Wales, his response at that time was “I don’t know”. I was one of many who did not understand what he meant at that time but, I do now. They should be reminded about what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah…

What will be the next step in this “development” of marriage I wonder. Steve Ray has an interesting post on his blog site about another related issue in Europe.

Outside the gay crowd - polygamy. Right now our laws have limited application in regard thereto i.e. recognition is extended to polygamous marriages which took place outside of the UK…and even then, only limited to two wives (for social welfare benefit purposes).

Within the gay crowd - lowering the age of consent.

The trouble is Cameron can’t guarantee it is only for the institutions that want to opt in. All sorts of equality laws are going to come in to play. Already there are many who want equality across the board without respect of what the religion teaches.

They need to separate civil and religious marriage ASAP. Something like they’ve already done in some countries in Europe.

That is why the change is being made. By not allowing Quakers, and others, to celebrate same sex marriages the first proposal was infringing their right to freedom of religion, and hence opening itself to challenge. By allowing those churches who wish to to have gay marriages, there is no pressure for other churches to do so. That is the current situation with Civil Partnerships, churches may, but do not have to, perform them.

Similarly, there is no law in the UK forcing the Catholic Church to marry divorced couples because such couples can get married in other churches if they want a church wedding.


Like I said, how long do you think this little arrangement will last?

How long has the arrangement that Catholic Churches do not have to marry divorced people lasted? Divorce has been legal in the UK since at least Henry VIII in 1533. Catholics were officially allowed to have churches in the UK since 1829, the Catholic Emancipation Act. That was 183 years ago, and there is still no pressure to force the Catholic Church to remarry divorcees.

I would say that the arrangement will last for a long time.


No, and I suspect you know that. How long will it be the case that gays can get married in Churches in Britain, but parishes can refuse them if they want?

Not in my parish they won’t.

Your meaning is not clear, Indifferently. Won’t what?

I think you should give the different denominations some credit. In Canada, same sex marriage is allowed but the government has left it up to the individual denominations to decide what they want to do with this legislation. The Anglican church was stupid because they said all of their churches had to allow it regardless if they agreed with it or not. This is causing many congregations to leave the Anglican church and become independent churches. The United Church of Canada was smart. They decided as a denomination, it was acceptable but they also left it up to the individual churches to decide whether or not they wanted to do same sex marriages. Therefore there are some United Churches that allow it and there are others when only when Jesus returns it will be allowed. Furthermore, as far I know, the Catholic church here, doesn’t really support it but there might be a priests that will do the ceremony. I don’t know too much about the Catholic side since it’s not something I have looked into. So far the government hasn’t bothered the Catholic church about this topic.

Canada supports the decisions the other churches make therefore before someone jumps to conclusions, I would wait and see what happens. At least Canada is a good model to look up to in this case. If denominations follow the United church’s example, they will be ok. If they follow the Anglican example, they will be in trouble.

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