Marriage Equality Bill (UK)

  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Nov 13, 2011 9:15 PM GMT
    Ive just returned from a weekend course learning how to Marry people for my Ministerial Training.

    I am stunned, shocked and appalled by the current UK legislation re Same-Sex partnerships.

    It is legal in the UK for two people of the same sex to have a Civil Partnership, for all intents and purposes to be "married" but, it does not have the same next of kin or hospital visiting rights etc as a "married" couple would. This appalls me.

    Secondly, the law has recently been changed - and in the main part is still being thrashed out - that same-sex couples CAN get Married in a Place of Worship.


    It is NOT a Marriage and cannot be called that. Because it isnt one. It is a "Civil Partnership" held in a Place of Worship.

    Oh and I can could hold a blessing service in my church for a same sex couple, but legally speaking I cannot call that service anything other than a "Civil Partnership Blessing". The wording Civil Partnership has to be used so "A service of blessing for Phil and Dave" wouldnt do apparently.....and, oh, it cannot look like a Wedding at all. If the man on the street walked in and saw what THEY thought was a wedding taking place the law would have been broken (the same is also true for blessings of couples previously married by a registrar)

    So thats not really equality is it?


    A Town Hall, Hotel or Pub can pay £150 to ba registered as a place to perform Civil Marriages. And also pay £150 to perform same-sex Civil Partnerships.

    A Church can pay £150 to register as an Authorised Place for the performance of a Religious Wedding. Some places of Worship had authorised persons (i.e. an Ordained Minister if they are Anglican/Church of England) but if they are Non-Conformist (e.g. Methodist, Unitarian, Baptist) those ministers generally are not authorised persons simply because they are not CofE. Go figure.

    The £150 fee is flat rate and last for perpetuity so long as the particular venue upholds the law.

    HOWEVER if a Place of Worship wishes to be registers and authorised for the holding of a "Civil Partnership held in a Place of Worship" the fee goes up from £150 to, wait for it..... £1,000 to £1,500 (yes, fifteen-hundred). And that is ONLY for a period of THREE (3) years.

    My denomination (Unitarian) along with the Quakers and the Liberal Jewish movement in the UK have been very very heavily involved in the marriage equality legislation...and this feels like a slap in the face by the Church of England Bishops in the Lords and the dumn-ass Evangelicals.

    It also means that my own congregation, despite having held blessing services for same sex couples and being as pro gay and affirming as you can get, simply cannot afford to pay for the licence to perform a Civil Partnership in church.


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    Nov 13, 2011 9:41 PM GMT
    You are better off expressing this forcibly to your MP.
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    Nov 13, 2011 10:14 PM GMT
    I've posted on the 'marriage' issue before on here but wanted to give a couple of reference points to you.

    Tasmania, in my opinion, has the world's most progressive legislation regarding government recognition of domestic partnerships -- the partnerships can be constituted in an unlimited array as long as they are relationships of dependence. This is a fundamental turning point in what, again I believe, queer political agitation should be seeking world-wide.

    Your situation in the UK is certainly rife with double-standards and that's outrageous, and they seem to come from a combination of heterosexism and the slow, unimaginative, fractured, workings of reactionary common law. Tweaking something that is fundamentally outdated (ie, marriage) as a legal concept is a waste of time. If someone's religious framework is out of synch with human sexual diversity, then that's work for them to do within their faith. Marriage as a ritual should be totally disenfranchised from any legal or public recognition. Imagine needing government approval to pray - in the CoE or elsewhere -- it's absurd.

    The global LGBTI population has been wasting a lot of time and resources on beating this dead horse when we could have been leaders in a progressive movement to legally recognize relationships of interdependence (between elderly siblings, differently-abled folks and their long-term care-givers, multiple-parent families, roommates, etc.). Sadly, in countries like Canada LGBTIs simply closed the door behind us and excluded others who rightfully deserve government sanctioning for their non-traditional relationships outside sexual difference.

  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Nov 13, 2011 11:53 PM GMT
    With regards to "Religion" and "Marriage" we spent a lot of time looking at what the Bible does and does not say about Marriage and how it is defined in the Bible. contradicts itself and the Bible has no sexual ethic or Marriage ethic or if anything we tend to ignore the Bible's sexual mores and ethics more than we actually listen to them. And also how religion was tacked on to something that was pre existing and purely a legal matter.

    The other thing we looked at was the whole "God created Marriage for a man to enjoy a woman " (I am paraphrasing the Book of Common Prayer here) and bascially that whole notion ONLY comes about with the BCP and is a Puritan thing dating from the Reformation onwards.

    And also in Britain how marriage WAS basically secular - took place in the Church Yard where the whole community could see and it was legalised by the Parish Clerk and Notary and not by the Priest. The couple ONLY went into the Church to take communion as man and wife. It was only from the 1840s onwards that weddings took place IN a church. In a lot of cases, non conformist churches (none CofE) were not licenced for marriage until the 20th century because of the power of the CofE. It is only the Romish Church who has marriage as a Sacrement. Protestants DO NOT they have two Sacrements - Baptism and Communion. So why the hoo-ha from Protestant Evangelicals about the sacredness of marriage?? Anyone???

    Why we cant take the French or German approach where ALL marriages are civil marriages unless you want to be "Churched" and then have a religious service afterwards I dont know. It seems the most common sense and straight forward thing in the world. Separate the legal bit from the ritual bit.

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    Nov 14, 2011 1:21 AM GMT
    Another reason why in the U.S. I just want sexual orientation added to the existing marriage laws. When a law concerning civil unions/marriage is written from scratch specifically for gays, it opens up debate of what is to be included for every right that heterosexuals already enjoy in marriage- adoption, inheritance/next of kin, partner medical decisions, property rights, spousal privilege, etc. The only way to insure it is truly is to just allow the glbt population to marry under the existing marriage laws.