Remember, it will be an Azerbaijani judge that decides this

Legal advice reportedly sent to David Cameron warns that church could be sued under human rights legislation if they refuse to allow the services to proceed.

Exemption granted to the Church of England by the Coalition Bill to prevent it having to conduct gay marriages is “eminently challenge-able” in the European Court of Human Rights.

It also warns that the Government\’s insistence that protections put in place for other religious groups who don\’t want to marry homosexuals could be undermined by evolving European human rights law.

Yup, really.

If Iain Dale* wants to get married in a church then I\’m all in favour of whatever church wishing to marry Iain Dale being allowed to do so.

I\’m a little less sanguine about the law forcing a church which does not wish to marry Iain Dale off to his civil partner to do so.

And I\’m really most unhappy with the idea that the marriage law of England and Wales will be determined by an Azerbaijani, Armenian, Ukrainian, Serb, Russian and so on that make up the judges of the European Court of Human Rights.

Yes, no doubt this is crude xenophobia on my part. I would prefer to call it keeping a close eye on those who define our civil liberty myself.

* Used as an exemplar for no other reason than he\’s the only person I know of in a civil partnership that I can imagine wanting to get married. Clearly an insight into the narrowness of my social circle.

26 comments on “Remember, it will be an Azerbaijani judge that decides this

  1. * Used as an exemplar for no other reason than he’s the only person I know of in a civil partnership that I can imagine wanting to get married. Clearly an insight into the narrowness of my social circle.

    Actually if the American experience is anything to go by, no one much in the Gay community wants to get married, and the tiny number of people who do are lesbians. So it is no surprise. I doubt many people know anyone who wants to get married in a Church.

    But that misses the point. This is not about them, it is about bullying the rest of us. Hence the activists in the Gay community like the fact that Azerbaijan is sitting in judgement on us. Just as the Pollys of the world do. After all, they can’t get their way due to the stubborn refusal of the British voter to vote their way.

  2. Legal advice reportedly sent to David Cameron warns that church could be sued under human rights legislation if they refuse to allow the services to proceed.

    Of course they could bloody well be sued. And the case would be thrown out at court in the UK and probably be heard at Supreme Court – it is important. And all of the existing case law suggests that the gay rights activists will be told to go away. To Strasbourg. Where they will be told to go away, yet again. Except possibly by the Azerbaijani judge (assuming Tim knows something about their approach to Article 12 that I am unaware of.)

    Of course case law _will_ evolve and, in 20 years, the situation may be different.

    Transexuals are about the most activist bit of the NSS (non-standard sexuality – it’s quicker) community. There has been an exemption for churches to refuse to married legally recognised sex-changed persons for some years now. And it’s not been challenged, nevermind overthrown.

    Ditto divorcees – how many would have liked their (new) day in church? Lots of them, some of them quite rich. How many have challenged the existing legal exemption? It’s still there ..

  3. A pair of homosexuals exchanging vows in church is almost the definition of camp. I doubt it would enhance their chances of being approved as adoptive parents.

    Paris saw an anti gay marriage demo last weekend, 350 thousand according to the police, 800,000 according to the organisers.

    Equality before the law is a fine thing, to imagine that homos are the same as straight couples is delusional. Which is why the whole debate leaves me baffled.

  4. I doubt many people know anyone who wants to get married in a Church.

    Which clearly an insight in to the narrowness of your religious circle. There are far-more gay-friendly churches than the CofE or the RC.

  5. SMFS is making stuff up as usual. According to census figures, about 20% of same-sex couples living together in the USA are married, which is a lot considering that at the time the data were compiled same-sex marriage was legal in only five states, and the marriages are not recognized by the federal government. (This statistic is for couples who describe themselves as married: some won’t be legally married, but I suppose they all want to be.)

    About 56% of them are female, 44% male.

  6. Hence the activists in the Gay community like the fact that Azerbaijan is sitting in judgement on us.

    They won’t once the judge gets to hear the case. I am fairly sure that Azeri judges will not be too concerned about gay rights. Ditto Russians.

  7. it will be an Azerbaijani judge that decides this

    No it won’t. The ECHR has 47 judges, one from each member state. Cases are heard either by a panel of seven judges, consisting of a section head, the appropriate national judge (from the UK in this case) and five others selected by rotation, or (for a Grand Chamber hearing) by a panel of 17 judges, consisting of the seven most senior, the national judge, and nine others selected by lot.

    It is therefore odds against that the Azerbaijani judge would be involved in the decision, and certain that he would be at most only one of a panel of judges, including a UK judge.

    Here‘s an example of a case in which the Azeri judge was involved, along with the Russian judge. The court is reported to have voted unanimously in favour of the gay rights claim, so Tim N may want to reconsider.

  8. These activists give the dinosaurs all the reason they need to resist change.

    I am quite happy to see Gays marry, in the Church if they so wish. However, there is no reason on earth why the law should punish those that don’t want to perform the ceremony.

    Therefore almost by default I tend to be against demands for more “equality” even though in theory I am in favour.

  9. “And I’m really most unhappy with the idea that the marriage law of England and Wales will be determined by an Azerbaijani, Armenian, Ukrainian, Serb, Russian and so on that make up the judges of the European Court of Human Rights.”

    The ECHR is a fundamentally British institution based on British ideas of justice. That doesn’t mean they’re incapable of making a stupid decision from time to time – the recent confusion of the unfair gender-based discrimination practised by car insurers with the justifiable discrimination practised by life insurers springs to mind – but in general their decisions reflect the fact that the principles on which their decisions are based are British values of fair play and so-on.

    The EU and the ECHR are unrelated.

  10. Anyway, that aside, how about the actual question? Should the CofE be forced to marry people it doesn’t want to – or, in other words, should it be permitted to discriminate on an irrational basis. Clearly, that depends on whether it is a public or private institution. I’m sure we all agree that it should be a wholly private institution, but it isn’t.

    I don’t see that the established church of a country can have any claim at all to be a private institution. The Church of England has a simple choice between disestablishment or adhering to the laws that govern public institutions.

    Personally, I don’t see why the church has its knickers in such a twist over this. ‘Render unto Caesar’, and all that. The church’s own belief is that they should accept temporal authority – and it could hardly be otherwise, due to Establishment, without being extreme hypocrisy.

  11. Personally, I don’t see why the church has its knickers in such a twist over this. ‘Render unto Caesar’, and all that.

    There is a big difference between, even from the liberal end of the Anglican Communion (and I was baptised, at least, in to the CofE) between gay civil marriage (or religious marriage in those denominations or religions which do not have theological objections) and requiring the particular Church to conduct gay marriages. Whether I agree with the theological objection or not (I don’t – neither the mitzvot nor various bigoted pronouncements of St Paul carry much weight with me.)

    Please note – the tax to the Roman authority simile is less than entirely appropriate – Jesus also threw the money-changers out of the temple.

  12. SE>

    “Not “un-related”. Merely “weakly related”. You have to accept ECHR as one of the many requirements for EU membership.”

    It’s not a two-way street. The EU has signed up to the ECHR, but so have many non-EU countries. Like Azerbaijan…

    “the tax to the Roman authority simile is less than entirely appropriate”

    I think it’s entirely appropriate. The point of that little story was that the interrogators had accepted Caesar’s coin – and the benefits (to them) of his power – so must now obey his laws. The CofE is the Established church in this country, protected by law. How much more of Caesar’s coin can they take than that?

  13. The Telegraph story is its usual rubbish. It’s concerned about “…advice reportedly sent to David Cameron…”. Well who cares what unsolicited advice he may have been sent? I suppose he receives all sorts of suggestions, some of them anatomically impossible.

    If the advice referred to is this then all we have to do if the European Court tells the Church of England it has to conduct same-sex marriages is disestablish the Church, as we should have done long since in any case.

    The Telegraph’s “would be banned from using council facilities” is actually “it might not be illegal for the council to implement such a ban”.

  14. I don’t see that the established church of a country can have any claim at all to be a private institution. The Church of England has a simple choice between disestablishment or adhering to the laws that govern public institutions.

    ^^^this this this this this.

    The CofE loves being the established church – just try suggesting the Lords Spiritual get kicked out of the HoL or that we get some monsignors, rabbis, imams and gurus in there as well. But that means they get to help draft and amend law. It is therefore incumbent upon them to obey the law, including equality laws. If they don’t like it, they need to disestablish. QED.

  15. Surreptitious Evil – “Of course case law _will_ evolve and, in 20 years, the situation may be different.”

    So we can look forward to being bullied some more in the future. Yay!

    “Ditto divorcees”

    That is not discrimination. You can refuse to give communion to people for what they do. It is hard to do so for what they are. Divorcee is not an identity.

    3 bloke in france – “Paris saw an anti gay marriage demo last weekend, 350 thousand according to the police, 800,000 according to the organisers.”

    If 350,000 people protested in favour of Gay marriage it would be news. It was not exactly widely or deeply covered from what I can see. No interviews. No street-side reporting. Go figure.

    “Equality before the law is a fine thing, to imagine that homos are the same as straight couples is delusional.”

    You are obviously in need of consciousness raising. Don’t worry. They will get around to you.

    “Which is why the whole debate leaves me baffled.”

    It is not about them, it is about us. The need to mainstream homosexuality and prevent any of us holding nasty ideas like yours.

    4 Surreptitious Evil – “Which clearly an insight in to the narrowness of your religious circle. There are far-more gay-friendly churches than the CofE or the RC.”

    Perhaps. It doesn’t matter. Gay marriage was not a big issue in Britain – it is an import from the US. It is not even a big issue among Gays. So it is not surprising that so few Gay couples would want to get married in a Church. Whether they can find a Church to do it or not is irrelevant.

    5 PaulB – “SMFS is making stuff up as usual.”

    I thought you were going to f**k off because you didn’t like the opinions expressed around here. What happened to that Paul?

    “According to census figures, about 20% of same-sex couples living together in the USA are married, which is a lot considering that at the time the data were compiled same-sex marriage was legal in only five states, and the marriages are not recognized by the federal government.”

    Which is to say, bugger all, if you will forgive the expression. To be exact:

    The U.S. Census Bureau released today new statistics on same-sex married couple and unmarried partner households. According to revised estimates from the 2010 Census, there were 131,729 same-sex married couple households and 514,735 same-sex unmarried partner households in the United States.

    So around 131,000 Gay married household. Which, as you point out, self-describe so not all of them would have married in a legal sense and even fewer would have married in a Church. Three million people is about 1 percent of the American population. So 300,000 is about 0.1 percent. So this figure represents less than 0.05 percent of Americans.

    As I said, it is not surprising that few of us know anyone who wants to get married in a Church. There are just aren’t that many of them.

    Thank you for proving my point.

  16. I do not see why the established status of the Church of England should erode their right to follow their scriptural constitution.
    The taxpayer may be a pacifist, but he still has to pay for the armed forces. He may be a republican, but he still has to contribute to the monarchy. He may be a homophobic bigot, but he still has to pay his council tax, including the expenditure on Gay Pride Day. He may be a burglar, or a murderer, but he still has to contribute to the County Policing precept. I’m a Catholic by baptism, and barred from marrying the Prince of Wales. Bullet dodged there, I think….

    To those who say that most gays have no desire to ambush the Church, into giving them a drag queen, butt-sex on the high altar wedding day, let me just say this. Stop thinking about the gays you know, in fact forget the gays altogether.
    There is no shortage of people who so hate the churches and their congregations, who are so full of spite and venom, that they would get lawyered up and mount a lawsuit against some impecunious parish. Just for the sheer unmitigated joy of it. Like they did to those guest house owners. They don’t even have to be gay, and tomorrow they can get a divorce. But they will have forced your church to become disestablished.

  17. SMFS: what you actually wrote is

    if the American experience is anything to go by, no one much in the Gay community wants to get married, and the tiny number of people who do are lesbians

    The figures I quoted and you agree with show that that is wrong. Can you not tell the difference between fact and fiction, or are you hoping to fool people?

    Monty:

    they will have forced your church to become disestablished

    yes, in much the same way as I am forced not to have a vote in the House of Lords.

    I don’t hate the CoE. But I don’t believe God is an Anglican. So why should it have special privileges?

  18. PaulB – “The figures I quoted and you agree with show that that is wrong. Can you not tell the difference between fact and fiction, or are you hoping to fool people?”

    No they don’t show I am wrong. They show that 1. most Gay people who are actually living together have not yet got married (at least in the US) and that 2. those that have are such a tiny number of the general population there is no reason to think any of us would have ever met one.

    Exactly what I said.

    Given there are twice as many Gay males as lesbians the fact that more lesbians have got married sort of proves my point that it is more popular among lesbians than Gay males too.

    I don’t need to fool anyone Paul. I am arguing with you. Now weren’t you going to f**k off to Canada or something?

    “I don’t hate the CoE. But I don’t believe God is an Anglican. So why should it have special privileges?”

    Why shouldn’t it? It does. It has for a long time. The present system has served us well. There is no pressing need for change. Change causes other changes in an unpredictable manner. It is unlikely that removing Bishops from the House of Lords will result in us cracking each others’ skulls open and feasting on the gooey bits, but it might. Therefore it should not be changed.

    Notice how the present Euro crisis breaks down more or less exactly along confessional lines. What we did 500 years ago – even though no one believes a word of it or lets it affect their lives in any way – shapes modern monetary policy. No, you don’t f**k with a system that works. Especially not for a trivial reason.

  19. Here‘s an example of a case in which the Azeri judge was involved, along with the Russian judge. The court is reported to have voted unanimously in favour of the gay rights claim, so Tim N may want to reconsider.

    Nope. The issue was primarily about freedom of assembly, not affirming gay rights.

  20. ,i>The taxpayer may be a pacifist, but he still has to pay for the armed forces. He may be a republican, but he still has to contribute to the monarchy. He may be a homophobic bigot, but he still has to pay his council tax, including the expenditure on Gay Pride Day. He may be a burglar, or a murderer, but he still has to contribute to the County Policing precept.

    yes, and the CofE may not like the gay man dem, but they have to abide by the law, which says they have equal rights to goods and services. Including marriage. I don’t see how this opposes that point?

    One other thing: neither the catholic nor the anglican church get to claim to be victimised and oppressed minorities. At least not whilst one remains the single biggest and richest organisation on the planet and the other the second biggest landowner in the UK after the Crown. Won’t wash, I’m afraid.

    I’m CofE m’self and very fond of it. But I find it slightly embarrassing when it pulls out the culturally marxist ‘victim’ card. If you (not ‘you’, I’m being rhetorical) don’t like homosexuals, say so; everyone has a right to their prejudices. But don’t claim you’re being victimised for your spiritual beliefs. They’ve changed pretty radically since, well, since the council of Chalcedon, let alone since Paul, formerly Saul, was writing letters.

  21. Tim, listen you stupid man (which is what you are on this issue). The gays do not have a hope in hell of successfully claiming the right to marry in a church, as church marriage is a sacrament and thus a matter of religious freedom. Just like divorcees could not successfully challenge it either.

    What has more merit – eminently challengeable – is the governments proposal to BAN the CoE from conducting gay marriage but not other churches. There’s no justification for that and if a gay couple can find an Anglican priest who wants to marry them then it would be an arguable case of disbelieving that s/he is unable to.

    Churches banning gays = ok
    Government banning churches from allowing gays = not cool

    Got it?

  22. SMFS: look two inches up your screen from where you wrote “exactly what I said” and you will see exactly what you actually said.

  23. “he gays do not have a hope in hell of successfully claiming the right to marry in a church, as church marriage is a sacrament and thus a matter of religious freedom.”

    What about Denmark, where the established Church has been forced to do precisely that?

  24. Jim – having looked up the Danish situation, it appears that the new law made it mandatory for the church to do that. That’s entirely different. Perhaps the church would have an arguable human rights case to challenge it. Presumably though the church was more or less behind the idea in order for it to become law like that. It’s an entirely different situation anyway.

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