Gay Marriage in Churches

Being neither Christian nor gay, I am somewhat outside of this particular argument.

The Church of England will not allow its churches to be used for civil partnership ceremonies unless the full General Synod gives consent, it says.

One presumes that the General Synod will refuse such permission, given that homosexuality is contrary to the belief system. Although, given that belief in God seems not to be too much of a requirement for Anglicanism these days, I should not hold my breath perhaps.

The government says that no religious groups will be forced to host such ceremonies. Given that the Church owns the church, one wonders how that will work out when someone cries “discrimination” upon being refused. And they will. I also wonder if anyone is going to drop into the Finsbury Park Mosque and try to book a gay marriage. Anyone?

Sure, if you want to have a gay marriage, by all means ask the local church and if you have a trendy vicar who is prepared to turn a blind eye to the Bible’s exhortations to kill you, then fair enough. But, and this is the crux, any such arrangements should be on the basis of the property owner agreeing to it, not because they are forced to by law.

Marriage, as far as the Christian church is concerned, is the union of a man and a woman for the purposes of procreation. It should have nothing to do with the state –  indeed, no such contract between two people should be the business of the state, nor should it be the business of the state to dictate where such arrangements may be conducted. If the property owner  says “no” then “no” it should be.

22 comments for “Gay Marriage in Churches

  1. December 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Their Church, their rules, simples really. I’d like to see what happens to some Gay Islamic Activist who insists upon a Gay Marriage at their local Mosque, honour killing ?

  2. December 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    “Being neither Christian nor gay, I am somewhat outside of this particular argument.”

    Me too, the whole thing is laughable, if I were gay I’d probably be telling the established Church to piss off anyway. And I can’t imagine being a homophobe so I’ve no idea what motivates these fundamentalists.

    But I suppose in the spirit of winding up the Islamists, making it a condition that all official places where marriage ceremonies can be held have to hold gay marriages in equal terms might be worth doing, just for the comedy value.

    “any such arrangements should be on the basis of the property owner agreeing to it”

    Woah! As a non-Home-Owner-Ist, I can’t possibly agree with that. These religions want the big juicy fat tax breaks courtesy of the taxpayer, so why can’t the taxpayer impose a few terms and conditions?

    It’s quite a different topic if an ordinary taxpaying hotel which specialises in honeymoons says “No gays” that is quite a different topic.

  3. December 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    And I can’t imagine being a homophobe so I’ve no idea what motivates these fundamentalists.

    What an amazing statement. Why must someone be homophobic [a false construct anyway] just because they disagree with something which is not marriage being called marriage? It’s no different to people thinking there’s far too much immigration but does that make them a racist?

    It’s not unlike the Python skit where Stan wanted to be a woman, Reg said he couldn’t and Stan snapped back: “Don’t you oppress me.”

    • December 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      Like I said below, “marriage” is just a word for an abstract concept and means whatever people want it to mean.

      If you define “marriage” narrowly as “state sanctioned permanent relationship between man and woman who are in love and are both over the age of 16 with a lot of legal and financial implications in the event of a separation” then for sure, there can’t possibly be such a thing as gay marriage.

      If, like me, you think that two people who want people to know that they are “an item” for the indefinite future are”married” then what we are arguing about is the definition of the word “marriage” whether you prefer a legalistic or humanistic approach.

      Or from my point of view, who cares about the word – if these organised religions want tax breaks, they can take it on the chin and allow gay christians, Muslims, Jews, whatever, to have a party in a church, mosque, synagogue etc. If they are happy to do without the tax breaks, that his a whole ‘nother story.

      • December 6, 2011 at 3:54 am

        Marriage is not whatever some one wants it to be. It is a specific legal relationship carrying legal obligations.A marriage is between one man and one woman.Part of the responsibility which a couple take on is to live a Christian live and raise children in the faith-I suppose to perpetuate the faith.
        People who live together can call it whatever they want, and make any arrangements they want-‘living over the brush’ and Hand-fasting used to be popular. But they are not marriage.

        • December 6, 2011 at 8:50 am

          Actually, marriage should be nothing more than a private contract between two people and absolutely nothing whatever to do with the state.

          If the Church decides that it has a specific definition – i.e one man and one woman, then fair enough as its followers will be inclined to agree and go along with the principle. However, even then, it should be nothing to do with the state.

        • December 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

          “Part of the responsibility which a couple take on is to live a Christian live and raise children in the faith-I suppose to perpetuate the faith.”

          Really? I’m married. It wasn’t a church service, and had no religious overtones. I’m not Christian, and neither is my wife. Whether or not we choose to have kids is bugger all to do with anyone other than us.

          Marriage has been around for an awfully long time – it was not an invention of Christianity, so cannot have a specific meaning that requires people to be Christian.

          I’m happy to accept that those who are Christian and marry take on additional obligations (to live a Christian life – shouldn’t they be doing that anyway? and to raise children in the faith – if you say so…) but marriage is not solely a Christian thing.

          (What the Church should really do is invent a new term to describe what marriage is to Christians. Call it something like Lifebonding and leave marriage to everyone else.)

        • Thornavis.
          December 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm

          Christianity has always had a difficulty with the idea of marriage it certainly wasn’t seen as something to be greatly encouraged in the early church, celibacy being the preferred state. It’s always been a more secular than religious institution in this country, the Anglican church doesn’t regard matrimony as a biblical sacrament, in which they are quite correct.

  4. Mudplugger
    December 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    But the CofE risks hoisting itself on its own avoidance petard.

    This unwholesome yet unfeasibly wealthy organisation, offensively embedded into our legislature by the unelected placing of 26 of its senior managers in the Upper House, takes great pains to define its local clergy as ‘office holders’, rather than employees, with the sole objective of avoiding any employer’s liabilities to and for its workforce.

    But, if those local ‘agents’ are such ‘office holders’, then that surely restricts the scope which the claimed ‘non-employer’ has to issue those directions. All it needs would be for one trendy liberal vicar to light the blue touch-paper and the whole cynical edifice could come crashing down. Bring it on.

  5. john in cheshire
    December 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Marriage is between a man and a woman. The Christian church recognises it as such. If anyone else wants to ‘get married’ then they are free to do so, but don’t expect people like me to accept it. Oh, and I’m gay and a Christian, so I think I have a certain perspective on this matter; as has everyone else, of course.

    • December 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      “Marriage” is a slightly artificial concept. It suggests the state, or society, or whoever, butting in to how two people, who are in theory ‘in love’ with each other for their own mutual benefit, organise their lives.

      For sure, I’m old fashioned and believe in monogamy and so on, because that happens to be what suits most people (not everybody). But it doesn’t bother me in the slightest if gay people want to call themselves “married”.

      To me, two gay people describing themselves as “married” is innocuous, but Islamists referring to their second and third imported brides in order the claim the benefits as “marriages” is quite offensive. Hey ho.

  6. December 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Shouldn’t be a problem finding a gay CE vicar to do the honours. Even the odd bishop. As for other religions…..

  7. Ian
    December 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Under the Equalities Act places of worship – well churches anyway – might be forced to conduct gay marriages.

    • December 6, 2011 at 3:57 am

      I’d like to see them try to force the synagogues and mosques to perform religious marriage for gay people-after all,equality is equality 😀

      • December 6, 2011 at 4:36 am

        Actually some Jews are okay with it and I know of at least one synagogue that’s performed a gay wedding – with the state’s permission, natch, and that the state gets to define what is and isn’t marriage is the only part of the whole thing I find really objectionable.

    • December 6, 2011 at 4:33 am

      Could see that argument going all the way to ECHR Article 9. Of course like nearly all ECHR Articles the first half says your free to do believe what you want, and the second bit says “subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” Might as well flip a coin, but they won’t be all that keen to try to force it on the Muslims so I feel the Christians have a powerful (in right-on PC terms) political ally.

  8. December 6, 2011 at 4:45 am

    (Disclaimer – being neither gay nor religious and having no beef with either [although I did once have cake with a vicar] the following should be taken with a sip of red wine. I’ve left you that much)

    Does Christianity call for the death of homosexuals? Islam does, quite clearly, but I suspect the Anglican view would consist more of a stern English voice saying ‘Now stop that, it’s very naughty’.

    Both will send all gays to Hell, so at least when I get there everyone will be well dressed and the curtains will match the furnishings, and someone will have made tea.

    It’s some time since I looked in the Bible (last time was for some specific information on some demonspawn I was writing about) but my memory of the Bible version was ‘Thou shalt not’ rather than ‘Throw them off a mountain’.

    In which case, it’s not too surprising that militant gays would be more willing to take on Christianity rather than Islam, if Christianity isn’t calling for the death penalty.

    • December 6, 2011 at 5:28 am

      Check out Leviticus 20:13. It’s not as specific as ‘Throw them of a mountain’ but it’s as unequivocal as Islam. The difference is just that Christians and Jews tend to be a lot more willing to take at least some parts of the Bible less than literally these days.

      • December 6, 2011 at 5:52 am

        I wish they’d take the parts where Jesus turned water into wine and where Noah went on a binge once the Ark was grounded more literally.

        At least the original Christians let you have a few whacks of the bottle.

        Latter-day ones disapprove of booze, and that makes Jesus cry.

    • mister_choos
      December 6, 2011 at 8:27 am

      “although I did once have cake with a vicar”

      Is that a euphemism? 😉

    • December 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Not really relevant to the discussion, but I wouldn’t count on the décor in hell being quite right.

      I used to live with a gay couple. Lovely men, really friendly (not in that way – at least not with me) and great to live with. But their fashion sense was about as bad as mine…

  9. nisakiman
    December 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    My attitude to homosexuality is one of complete indifference. I really couldn’t give a monkey’s whether you are gay or not. I take every man as he comes. (Pun categorically not intended :shock:)

    But I do get annoyed with the likes of Stonewall constantly whining about “gay rights” and “gay pride”, and strident demands for what, in effect, is preferential treatment.

    This demand to be able to “marry” in church falls into the same category in my book, and if the church are of the opinion that in their faith marriage can only be blessed if it is between a man and a woman, then so be it. I don’t see that anyone has any “right” to challenge that. Christianity is not compulsory – there are other choices they can make.

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