Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Equal Marriage: Civil AND Religious

The coverage of Simon Hughes response to my question about marriage equality has been welcome. However both his response and the coverage still leave me with concerns.

What I want is for the Government to make the marriage laws in this country gender neutral. That is all I ask. They must not give in to the temptation (as they have on so many Marriage Acts of the past) to fiddle around and make new rules here and there covering where and when a marriage can be carried out.

Let's see how the Daily Mail reported his comments:

However, they would not apply to ceremonies in church - only those in a register office or other licensed venue

The Government has NO place telling registered religious places of worship who they can and can't marry. That should be up to the religious bodies. They have this right of refusal as it stands. They can refuse to marry people who's lifestyles don't fit their belief system (such as the Catholic church and divorcee's). There are religious denominations, such as the Society of Friends, who support marriage equality and wish to marry members. This shouldn't be proscribed just because the big religions and the reactionaries want to put a spanner in the works of equality.

If religious marriage equality was proscribed, it would be affront to the religious freedoms of individuals and organisations.

Of course, this is all very presumptuous to suggest that any legislation will be presented any time soon. But I think it's important we have this discussion now, rather than later.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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