And then?

I\’m a big fan of asking \”and then?\”

You know, someone comes up with a bright idea to make the world a better place and all too often no one\’s asking, well, yes, but what happens after that? What will follow? And then?

But under an amendment to the Equality Bill tabled in the House of Lords by Lord Alli, a homosexual Labour peer, the ban on the events taking place on religious premises will be lifted.

The amendment states that national faith groups will not be forced to carry out civil partnerships.

But it is feared that same-sex couples would be able to use the protection from discrimination guaranteed – under the Equality Bill or the Human Rights Act – to take legal action against individual clergy in their parish if they refuse to “marry” them in a local church.

No, I don\’t know whether this will indeed happen but it wouldn\’t surprise me in the least. For we do have a ban on discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of how you get your rocks off.

It\’s entirely possible that, with the law as complex as it is, the law allowing civil partnerships in Church if the Church so agrees, will become the Church must offer such.

Which isn\’t, as I recall it, quite what people who supported the amendment were saying on Monday would happen.

6 comments on “And then?

  1. There is certainly a justifiable fear amongst the traditionalists in the CofE that, if the amendment is passed and the CofE corporately amends its canons to allow joint partnership ceremony / blessings (remember the latter have taken place extra-canonically, already), that priests and parishes with a defined objection to such would be forced so to allow and undertake them.

    Personally, I am perfectly happy that the Quakers (and, I believe, the Unitarians) wish to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies. It wouldn’t bother me if the CofE did the same. I don’t consider myself bound by Jewish law in Leviticus nor do I revere St Paul’s misanthropy.

    That parliament lifts the current ban on the use of religious buildings is fine – that there is then (if there is) a right to force use of such (wait for the first gay wedding in a mosque or Roman Catholic cathedral!) then this is going too far.

  2. I’m really surprised that Humanists are not up in arms about this – surely it blurs the boundaries between Church and State, and undermines the integrity of Civil Partnerships as Secular?

    Then again, as the post title suggests, people don’t tend to think things through.

  3. Privatise marriage – the Nudge guys were right on this one.

    Privatise it, and restrict the state’s room merely to recognising valid marriage licenses and no more. Let each church or institution conduct marriages for whoever they like, or deny marriage to whomever they disapprove of.

    If you’re an Anglican and your local vicar won’t marry you to another man, then either go to another church, get another vicar, have your marriage solemnised somewhere else, or pick another religion.

    Why, short of child abuse or cultish indoctrination, is it anything to do with the state what rules religions impose on their followers?

  4. “Why, short of child abuse or cultish indoctrination, is it anything to do with the state what rules religions impose on their followers?”

    For that matter, why is it anything to do with the state what rules pubs impose on their drinkers?

    Why do religions get a free pass through the state’s overbearing social laws while the rest of us have to submit? Like smoking in the House of Commons bar, our rule-makers find opt-outs for their own interests.

  5. But I thought that no-one has the right to demand a church wedding? The minister, of whatever denomination, can refuse for all sorts of reasons. Failure to attend church regularly, previous marriage, marriage to someone outside of the faith, one partner not baptised, stuff like that.

  6. Monty — with a few exceptions such as being divorced, everyone has the right to get married in the parish church where one of the couple lives, irrespective of churchgoing history, baptism or lack thereof — they don’t even actually have to be a christian.

    This presumably won’t apply to civil partnerships because they’re not marriage, and the services in churches won’t be conducting the ceremonies but only “blessing” them.

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