Gay Marriage gets its Church-scared bill in England and Wales

The British government introduced its politically brave but still cautious same-sex marriage bill in the House of Commons today. It is right and most people here agree that everyone should be equal in matters of the heart and should have the freedom to marry if that is what they wish.

If they want to get married in a church however then the government has gone out of its way not to rock the country’s established religious institutions, the Church of England and the Church of Wales after they have put it on record that they disapprove of gay marriage believing it to be a holy sacrament reserved by God for men and women only. The new bill says that no religious institution will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages if it is not what they want to do. Freedom of religion is the issue here and that’s just fine, I guess. Anyone wanting a happy gay marriage in such a church must be seriously deluded.

It seems perfectly reasonable that the dear old C. of E. and its Welsh sibling, should be able to practice what it preaches no matter how unreasonable its position on marriage might seem to the rest of us out here in the real world. After-all, we’re used to them being cranky over homosexuality and a load of other things too. No, let them get on with their funny ways but, if they continue to insist on a life on the fringe of society, it may well be time for them to cease to be the nation’s established church. Increasingly, the Church of England (and Wales) is showing itself to be an eccentric and mostly well-meaning cult in this country. Maybe the time has arrived for it to recognise the fact that the majority of the people just don’t share their views any more.

All this big church thing has got out of hand anyway. Far be it for me to preach to the Church of England but, surely, Jesus wasn’t part of a traditional establishment with loads of posh buildings and wacky clothes. He kept his independence and challenged old prejudices – many of which are still in the Old Testament. Maybe if the Church of England cut itself off from all the pomp and circumstance it might find its soul again.

I’m more impressed by the Quakers who manage perfectly well without Archbishops and prejudice and, by the way, have proclaimed their joyful acceptance of marriage as an sacrament for all loving people. Meanwhile, let’s celebrate the new bill on same-sex marriage as another step towards the civilization of Britain.

5 Comments

  1. Colin,

    According to the BBC online:

    "In its response to the consultation the government says it has no plans to change the definition of adultery or non-consummation of a marriage – which means neither could be cited as grounds for divorce in a same-sex marriage, unless the adultery was with someone of the opposite sex."

    Can you shed some light on this? Am I correct in reading a double-standard and eccentric form of discrimination embodied in the new law? Does it really mean that a married gay spouse cannot file for divorce if the adultery was committed with a member of the SAME sex? Surely, I'm misunderstanding something here.

    Brian

  2. Silly as it sounds, this is the situation Brian. Just as a heterosexual married woman couldn't commit adultery with another woman etc. This doesn't mean there aren't other grounds for divorce though. I suspect it is a legal nicety because there are many grounds for divorce which could be cited in a heterosexual or a same-sex marriage. I think it is a biology thing – illicit offspring and that kinda thing. It still sounds like a double standard though.

  3. Thanks for the clarification, Colin.

    Note to all Sapphic-leaning ladies of Great Britain: take a lesson from Virginia and Vita and enjoy yourselves. Your inheritances are safe.

    High time women got something decent out of this too often absurd institution.

  4. Hehe, so true. It's calling all heterosexual husbands to experiment too of course!

  5. Indeed. Perhaps I should have named Vita & husband Nigel as my "poster children" in place of Mrs. Woolf and Mrs. Sackville-West. 😉

    Brian

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