/ Catholics use Christmas to launch homophobic campaign

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stp - on 25 Dec 2012
A great story that the Christian apologists on here should really take note of before going on about religion being all about peace and love and harmless etc.



The head of the Catholic church in England, Archbishop Nichols has launched an attack against same sex marriages being introduced by the government. He attempts to disguise his attack by saying the bill has not followed the proper democratic procedures. Since when were Catholics into democracy? What a joke. The Catholic church is about as fine an example of a non-democratic institution as you're likely to find. How many Catholics got to vote for the pope or even Nichols himself?

If he wants to go on about democracy he should at least be making some pretty serious attempts to democratize his own house first.

And if he believes that church and state should be separate he should keep silent and not use his powerful position to spout his homophobic rubbish and try to foist his outdated religious beliefs on the whole country.

He goes on about marriage being a Christian institution as if non-Christians don't get married. Duh! Perhaps he hasn't noticed that Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus agnostics and even atheists get married. Marriage is a legal contract that confers various things like tax advantages.

This story epitomizes everything that is wrong with religion.

Some people say that holding onto retarded archaic ideas is fine, people can believe what they want to believe. That's only true to extent that those beliefs don't impinge on other people. But throughout history, certainly with Christianity, that's never been the case.
dale1968 - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: Merry Christmas...........
Doug on 25 Dec 2012
AdrianC - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: Aye, I had a chuckle at the democracy part. Plus someone who has never married being an expert on relationships..
Radioactiveman - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

church is bolox I'm only into xmas for the presents and days off work ;)
BigBrother - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: In other news, "Muslim leaders launch homophobic campaign". http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20771215 Strangely I can't remember a thread on UKC about it but then I can't remember the BBC making it their lead story either.
I like climbing - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to Radioactiveman:
> (In reply to stp)
>
> church is bolox I'm only into xmas for the presents and days off work ;)

Me too ! Catholics can f**k off.
Bruce Hooker - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to BigBrother:
> (In reply to stp) In other news, "Muslim leaders launch homophobic campaign". http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20771215 Strangely I can't remember a thread on UKC about it but then I can't remember the BBC making it their lead story either.

Maybe because islam is not only against homosexuals being married but also even being allowed to live?
nocker - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: Peace and Christmas blessings be upon you.
stp - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

What's particularly sickening about this story is the fact that government has added a special get out clause for homophobic religions. If such religions want to practice homophobia they're completely entitled to. They can refuse same sex marriages. But that's not good enough for Nichols who seems to want to attack all homosexuals.

I find it amazing that an apparently educated man can still hold on to these archaic values. Homophobia was widely unacceptable in 80s, probably before. Why can he not move with times one wonders. Doubtless he rejected a lot of stuff in the bible already. I doubt he believes the earth is a flat disc supported by pillars or that people 2000 or so years ago could live to over 900 years old. Why is he persisting with this? I wonder if he was told to do it by the Vatican or whether it's of his own volition?
The Lemming - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

All faiths have marriage, but which ones promote same sex marriage?
nocker - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: With respect, that this story is "particularly sickening" is your opinion. In my experience, many liberal minded people of faith can accept civil partnerships but hold genuinely held beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman normally but not exclusively for the purpose of raising a family. I wonder if you have given any thought to the irony of displaying your own apparent intolerance on a public forum ? Have a nice 2013.
deepsoup - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to nocker:
> In my experience, many liberal minded people of faith can accept civil partnerships but hold genuinely held beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman normally but not exclusively for the purpose of raising a family.

They have an absolute right to hold those beliefs imo, and a right to not get involved in gay marriages if they don't want to.

Which doesn't entitle them to tell me who I can and can't marry, any more than a vegetarian/jew/muslim/fat bloke on a diet (delete as applicable) gets to tell those "liberal minded people of faith" that they're not allowed a bacon sandwich.

Its hard to take the Archbishops protests seriously tbh (especially the bit about the government lacking a democratic mandate). He's so far behind public opinion its almost as if he's just making a noise about it for the sake of form.
deepsoup - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to nocker:
Oh, hang on a minute. I think I've got you all wrong..

Of course its completely right and proper that there should be an opt-out (or rather a 'don't opt in if you don't want to') for those who object to gay marriage not to get involved themselves if they don't want to. Nothing 'sickening' about that imo.

I can also see the sense in specifically excluding the established church, poor old CofE has enough problems as it is without having to make a decision on that one!
Jimbo W on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:
> A great story that the Christian apologists on here should really take note of before going on about religion being all about peace and love and harmless etc.

I think its bloody stupid what the pope has said, and Paul Coleridge and Vincent Nichols etc, but what a f*cking stupid comment from you too... ...grow up! There are plenty of liberals and conservatives in parliament, and our electorate happily votes them in. I honestly think this has little to do with religion, and far more to do with residual victorian prudishness.
stp - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> I honestly think this has little to do with religion,

So the various homophobic passages in the Bible, that some believers take to be the word of God, have nothing to do with Nichols' motivation then? It's just a coincidence?
The New NickB - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to nocker:
> (In reply to stp) With respect, that this story is "particularly sickening" is your opinion. In my experience, many liberal minded people of faith can accept civil partnerships but hold genuinely held beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman normally but not exclusively for the purpose of raising a family. I wonder if you have given any thought to the irony of displaying your own apparent intolerance on a public forum ? Have a nice 2013.

To be honest if you don't much fancy gay marriage, which to be fair not being gay, I don't myself, don't have a gay marriage! That seems like the tolerant view to me.
Kemics - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

I dont care what any of my straight friends choose to do in the bedroom. Same goes for my gay friends. Though if they want to tell hilarious stories...I'll encourage that

Joe Rogan has summarized it best for me:

The only reason why anybody would want gay people to not marry is either they're dumb or they're secretly worried that dicks are delicious

I guess if you're so worried about not being gay (despite how you feel) you cant handle the temptations and want to make it as hard as possible. It seems there is a correlation between people who are vehemently anti-gay and people who are U.S senators who get caught on their knees in public toilets :)
stp - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to nocker:

I'd say I'm intolerant of bigotry yes, or intolerant of intolerance. Does that make me a hypocrite?


> With respect, that this story is "particularly sickening" is your opinion.

Of course what I said is my opinion. Same as everyone else.

I think the choice to air this opinion on Christmas Day very bad taste too and wonder what the motivation for that was. It certainly wound me up and I'm straight. I wonder how hearing this announcement would have affected LGBT people settling down to Christmas dinner?

I also wonder how this would have gone down if it had been a different minority group - Asians, or Chinese for instance?

Just because it's their religion does not make it OK. There are loads of horrible things in the Bible. What if some religious group wanted exemption from law banning slavery for instance or wanted the freedom stone women to death?
Jimbo W on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> [...]
>
> So the various homophobic passages in the Bible, that some believers take to be the word of God, have nothing to do with Nichols' motivation then? It's just a coincidence?

Do you ever heAr him quoting biblical passages? Perhaps he might like to look at the relationship between Jonathan and David?
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stp - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

You honestly believe this has nothing to do with his religion because he's not quoting bible passages on the BBC???

Words fail me!
mark s - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: an Irish cardinal had been up to the same tricks.using his message to show his feelings on the abortion debate.only a month since the cnuts let a woman die.
Suppose no abortions means more kids in care for them to rape the ass's off.
These religious types just don't know when to keep quiet.
It has the bonus of showing just how far from the real world the god botherers are.
Tw*ts
Jimbo W on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

Yes. It's doctrinal. It does not appeal to the authority of scripture, but to the political subversion of political religious institutions. It is about the whim of man and his age old desire to control the behaviour of others. It is a universal phenomenon that transcends religious institutions!
ice.solo - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to AdrianC:

Plus someone who has never married being an expert on relationships..

and yet it qualifies the head honchos in the catholic church.

Dauphin - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

The irony is that the catholic clergy is filled with a great many gay priests.

D
Dauphin - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

I thought St Paul condemned homosexuality; despite his love for Timothy and his less than favourable views on marriage. Clearly the Church is carrying on a millenia old tradition of double speak.

D
doz generale - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Dauphin:
> (In reply to stp)
>
> The irony is that the catholic clergy is filled with a great many gay priests.
>
> D
It's all the dresses and sandals
needvert on 27 Dec 2012
Religion generally sucks.

Not sure why anyone would be at all puzzled with a group of people sticking to outdated modes, or believing things that aren't sensible. That's what religions are [mostly].

I'm sure there are religions out there that don't suck, but Christianity certainly hasn't proven itself as one.
Bulls Crack - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to needvert:
> Religion generally sucks.
>

>
> I'm sure there are religions out there that don't suck,

That's certainly forbidden...burn him
stp - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to stp)
>
> Yes. It's doctrinal. It does not appeal to the authority of scripture, but to the political subversion of political religious institutions.

Underpinning all of Catholicism though is the Bible which peppered with homophobic teachings throughout both Old and New Testaments.

The Catholic Church today openly calls homosexuality a sin:

"People tempted by homosexual desires, like people tempted by improper heterosexual desires, are not sinning until they act upon those desires in some manner" - from Catholic Answers

While many Catholics may disagree with this point of view it's pretty clear not all do and the upper echelons positively support it.

Nichols' Christmas rant didn't quote the Bible because he wants to stop all gay marriages, not just those of Catholics or Christians (which are exempted anyway). So he has to use secular arguments not scriptural ones.



> It is about the whim of man and his age old desire to control the behaviour of others. It is a universal phenomenon that transcends religious institutions!

Interesting and quite probably true but I suspect such could be applied to most of the news.

But it doesn't explain why did Nichols pick this particular piece of legislation to rail against on Christmas day. I think it's hard to deny that his religious beliefs are the reason.
Jimbo W on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

> Underpinning all of Catholicism though is the Bible which peppered with homophobic teachings throughout both Old and New Testaments.

Well, as per usual, those who criticise use the fundamentalist insight of literal biblical reference! Not only that, but allow no room for cultural difference. Well, it is quite true that some Christians do take a stand against homosexuality, but then again, one third if the population is against gay marriage, and therefore see homosexuals as having less rights than others, which I find quite abhorrent. Biblical interpretation is for me, as it is I believe the majority, requiring scriptural contextualisation (not fundamentalist literalism which is inevitably contradictory), cultural contextualisation (e.g. was homosexuality then provoking an attitude similar to what paedophilia does today), and the New Testament covenant supervenes the old, so that to love as Jesus taught us to love is the most pre-eminent ethic of all! For me, monogamous homosexual relationships reflect that far more than infidelity that is so common in heterosexual or any relationship today. Nichols is a wally who doesn't quote scripture because he knows it scripture can be used to argue the polar opposite.
Wiley Coyote - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:
I'm bewildered. Why is anyone surprised that a Catholic archbishop should be opposed to gay marriage? Or that he should choose his Christmas message, that he knew would be widely reported because there is sod all else happening that day, to promulagate his views?
As for 'democratising' religion, by and large, as I understand it, gods are not the sort of things you get to vote for. They seem, as a breed to be quite dogmatic and authoritarian. Most of them, if the various holy books are anything to go by, seem to go in for quite a bit of smiting, especially where people who question them are concerned.
That said, as a born again atheist I found it quite reassuring that at least one senior clergyman should stick by unpopular principles rather than opting for a focus group-led pick and mix approach to what they consider sinful. If they start stoning people, burning heretics or issuing fatwahs they need to be reined in but as long as they are just giving their religious views I have no problem with that. I ignore all kinds of people I disagree with and one archbishop more or less doesn't seem to make a hell of a lot of difference, if you'll pardon the expression.
stp - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

Well like many Christians in this country, even some Catholics, you have a much more liberal approach to the Bible.

But of the one-third against gay marriage I wonder how many are motivated by religious ideals? Given that this is the Muslim position as well as Catholic and doubtless some other groups too I'd imagine a fair proportion.

For the non-religious the attitude is most likely to be: yes, gay marriage, fine, or just a general disinterest. There's just no motivation to drive one to fight against it. (Although admittedly there are doubtless some pockets of general homophobia still around).

If religious fundamentalism was gradually dying out it wouldn't be such a problem. But I see fundamentalism as very much a part of religion. One of the attractions of religion I think is the desire for some kind of certainty, particularly in answering questions like 'how should we live our lives?'. Absolutist moral systems provide nice solid answers. Unsure about something? Just look it up and see what the all powerful deity says about it. The answers are all there spelled out in black and white. Homosexuality? It's an 'abomination' - well no ambiguity there.

But once you start interpreting and re-interpreting this stuff then the certainty of it all evaporates - so for many people the strict literal interpretation is highly attractive. It's what they want.

Now I wonder how things would be for homosexuals if the Catholic Church or some other quasi-fundamentalist religion had more power in this country as they'd like. Or even a lot more power. Not an impossible scenario and pretty scary I'd say. Thus I see atheist efforts to expose the problems of religion as a positive thing and think they must have played a role in the encouraging the more moderate kinds of religion we now have in this country.

Ian Black - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20842884


I have no interest in any religion but agree with the Judge...
Wonko The Sane - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Ian Black:
> (In reply to stp) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20842884
>
>
> I have no interest in any religion but agree with the Judge...

He's right that it's a minority issue. But the figure of 0.1% is wildly innacurate even by conservative estimates, which range between about 3-9%, more likely around 5% (having done a quick trawl of about ten links)

But I do not see that one is exclusive of the other. Why should gay people's rights not be respected because heterosexual marriage isn't lasting?

Seems a nonsensical stance to me. Taken to it's extreme, on any given subject, you simply find out who the largest group is legislate for them and ignore eveyone elese????
fred99 - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:
From your posts you appear to come across as both heterophobic and "religophobic" (if there is such a word ?).
There is a world of difference between having civil partnerships (which I'm sure 99.9% of people are happy with), and forcing religions to have same-sex religious marriages (for which the number would be far less). Religions do, after all, have beliefs, which differ dependent on the religion, and separate them from atheist and agnostic views.

There are too many people who, whilst claiming to rail against intolerance, demonstrate their own intolerance for any opposing views - and this is what is starting to happen with this subject.

Note - I said 99.9% above - not based on statistical evidence, merely a matter of literary licence, meaning nearly everybody. I suggest that the Judge mentioned in this thread is doing the same.
craigloon - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to fred99:

Except that no one is "forcing religions to have same-sex religious marriages". Red herring.
fred99 - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to craigloon:

stp seems to want it so.
Ciro - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

Surely the title of the OP should be Catholics use christmas to *continue* homophobic campaign?

It's something I find quite ironic - one of the reasons a relative of mine left the seminary after being ordained a deacon was the high incidence of homosexual activity within the establishment - he found this rather contrary to the teachings of his upbringing, and the hypocrisy of this (amongst other things... apparently the seminary is also a good place to find "sins" such as sloth, gluttony and the like) caused him to become dis-illusioned with the church.
Wiley Coyote - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:
Since what is at stake here is a change in the law of the country it seems to me that anyone living under that law is entitled to make their opinion known, either for or against. That surely is how a mature democracy with fredom of speech works
On that basis I find stp's rant that the Archbishop should shut up because stp doesn't agree with him rather more offensive than the Archbishop's entirely predictable opposition to gay marriage. Marriage is, for many, a religious ceremony as well as a legal contract so it seems to me entirely proper for the leader of one of the major religions to have his two penn'orth and hardly th shock of the year that he is agin it.
How much weight you give to his views is up to you but whatever hapened to that old chestnut about not agreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it?
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Eric9Points - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to Wiley Coyote:

I don't think he said that at all.

He merely pointed out that the approach the cleric was taking was a dishonest one and that if they want to comment on morals they should put their own house in order first or be accused of hypocrisy.
confusicating on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

See this for the similarities between racial segregation 60 years ago (what is clearly racism now) and the current anti gay marriage folk.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/21/phil-snider-missouri-pastor-anti-gay-rights-speech-surprise...

In a decade the acts of the various religious bodies now discriminating in the name of god will be seen as homophobic and outdated. Of that I am fully confident.

Be progressive of thought, be on the right side of history.
Goucho on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to stp: A member of the Catholic Church airing an opinion on anything, should be taken as seriously as John McCririck giving a lecture on how to date super models.

Mike Stretford - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Goucho and the rest:

I don't think the best way to fight bigotry is with more bigotry.
Goucho on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Papillon: I wasn't being bigoted, I was taking the piss out of Catholicism!
Mike Stretford - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Goucho: Bernard Manning 'took the piss' out of lots of groups and I'd agree with those who'd say it was biggoted. I'm not sensitive about it I'm just pointing it I don't think it's the best way to move forward on these issue. I probs should have replied to the 'thread'.
Tyrone27 - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to I like climbing:

You are quite ignorant
Tyrone27 - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Goucho:

Another ignorant comment
imkevinmc - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Tyrone27: are you a troll? You've discovered climbing and the first thing you've decided to comment on is religious bigotry. I think you're sitting in the secret troll booth in the vatican
Jon Stewart - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to confusicating:
> (In reply to stp)
>
> See this for the similarities between racial segregation 60 years ago (what is clearly racism now) and the current anti gay marriage folk.
>
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/21/phil-snider-missouri-pastor-anti-gay-rights-speech-surprise...

A good point, well made.

> In a decade the acts of the various religious bodies now discriminating in the name of god will be seen as homophobic and outdated. Of that I am fully confident.

Me too. But I'd rather civil marriage was just civil marriage (same for straights and gays) and the religious weirdos were just left to be weird by themselves in their churches. That a lot of normal people want to have a civil marriage in a church (because of the architecture or whatever) is something I think they should be cured of. Trying to get the churches and whatnot to accept normal civil marriage seems to me like a futile exercise in the utterly pointless. Why should normal people care what they think? There is room in society for people with crackpot views to exist on the fringes, not doing much harm. OK, it's difficult to shift to that view when our history is of the crackpots being central and having power (nobody's fault - rational thought and empathy had not yet been developed) - but there's no reason I can see that things need to go on that way.

- Disestablish the church, allowing a real secular democracy.
- Make sensible rules that don't discriminate against people for stupid reasons.
- Leave silly people to do what they like on the fringes of society, so long as it's not clearly harmful or undermining the values of the secular, democratic state (difficult to define perhaps, but hey it's not like we need to worry about that just yet).

Why is the world not like this?
I like climbing - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Tyrone27:
> (In reply to I like climbing)
>
> You are quite ignorant

If you are a Catholic supporter then most people who have replied to this post will be laughing at you. Endlessly.
Tom V - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to confusicating:
> (In reply to stp)
>
>
>
> Be progressive of thought, be on the right side of history.


Eugenics is thought to be extremely progressive by its proponents.

Jon Stewart - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Tom V:
> (In reply to confusicating)
> [...]
>
>
> Eugenics is thought to be extremely progressive by its proponents.

Not sure I really get your point. It's very relevant indeed to the idea of 'progress' that eugenics has hardly any proponents, whereas liberal values including equal rights for gays form the mainstream way of thinking in our society.

Bad ideas die out, good ideas change the world for the better and stuck around. If you want some evidence for this, have a listen to the brilliant Mr Steven Pinker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramBFRt1Uzk


Tom V - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I was trying to say that different groups of people have different ideas about what actually constitutes "progress". Move away from emotive stuff about religion/sexuality and think about climbing.

And I wasn't really aware that liberal values form the mainstream way of thinking in our society. Does that include the USA?

Enjoyed the talk by Mr Pinker very much and would have liked to see it posted in the discussion about "America get your shit together"
stp - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to fred99:

> From your posts you appear to come across as both heterophobic and "religophobic"

Well I'm a heterosexual so definitely not the former but I might call myself anti-religion or more accurately I'm against certain kinds of religion. Fundamentalist religions based on absolute morals based on ancient texts inevitably clash with modern thought and create problems in evolving societies. For instance by discouraging the use of condoms in Africa the Catholic church is facilitating the spread of AIDS.



> There are too many people who, whilst claiming to rail against intolerance, demonstrate their own intolerance for any opposing views

Well yes I think to be against something is to be intolerant of it. Some people may not be racist themselves but they may be tolerant of those people that are. I'm not like that. I would like all forms of racism to wiped out. Note I'm not saying that I'm calling for the racists themselves to be wiped out: merely the ideology of racism.



Equality before the law means if there are anti-discrimination laws to protect gays then these laws should apply to everyone. You can't have a 'get out clause' just because you believe gay people aren't equal. That defeats the whole purpose of such laws.

It wouldn't be OK if some other organisation wanted to bar black people because they sincerely believed black people were inferior. They might believe it but they're just plain wrong.

Likewise some Catholics may sincerely believe that homosexuals are an abomination. After all that is what their holy books, their God, tells them. You can't stop them believing such nonsense but you definitely shouldn't encourage it by giving them special legal exemptions.
Coel Hellier - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:

<mount-pet-hobby-horse>

> Well yes I think to be against something is to be intolerant of it.

Not quite. If you are against something and oppose it only by peaceful argument and persuasion, then you are not being intolerant. To be "intolerant" of something means to seek to prohibit it by legal sanction or threats of violence or similar.

</mount-pet-hobby-horse>
fred99 - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to stp:
Religious marriages are surely for those persons who adhere to whichever religion, and thus they must equally adhere to the beliefs of such religion.

I give you a (deliberately ridiculous) example;

Imagine the "tulip" religion required its followers to wear a yellow tulip behind their left ear as a symbol of their religion during the wedding ceremony, but someone demanding a religious ceremony within the tulip religion insisted they wear a red rose instead, and refused to wear the yellow tulip.

Now, is it (A) - the tulip religion being "roseist", or is the rose fancier either (B) - deliberately going out of their way to upset the tulip religion, or else (C) - wanting the trappings of a tulip ceremony in a big tulip church, but doesn't believe one jot in tulipism.

I think C is by far the most likely, with B coming a long way ahead of A.
After all, how many people do we all know who've had a big white church wedding, but that is the only time in years that they've been to church - and the next time they go is either a funeral or christening.

In short, if someone doesn't believe in the same things as any particular religion, why should they expect the many thousands and millions of adherents to that religion to change their views based on a small number of people who think differently, and do not necessarily truly belong to said religion.
What next, people expecting Christians to agree that Christ isn't the son of God, but just a prophet - tut, that's Islam's view.
Jon Stewart - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fred99:

Your argument sounds OK and works fine for a society in which the Tulip religion is not legally entangled with civic society.

I'm not really bothered about the whole thing; there's only 5-6000 civil partnerships per year, after theoretically building up a backlog of couples who want one, and I don't think there are millions waiting until they can have a 'proper wedding'. That said, I would prefer a society with laws built on the principle of equal rights. The way to achieve this would be to take the religion out of marriage and the state can offer the same legal union to everyone. If you want some religious extras, fill yer boots, no one else need care.

I believe Cameron's campaign for gay marriage is cynical. It's an issue that has absolutely no real relevance to people's lives (with reference to the numbers of civil partnerships), but is enormously symbolic of being all hip and modern, which is clearly where he sees the votes. The old crusty churchy Tories are all going be dead in a few years, they're not a political future for anyone. But it's still a tricky balance to strike (long term vs short term political needs), hence the complete mess over the exemptions for the CofE. Crap, empty, shambolic politics that is irrelevant to people's lives.
Sir Chasm - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fred99: Do you mean the beliefs of the people in charge in that religion or the beliefs of the general followers? What if, to give a deliberately ridiculous scenario, we had a religion where the top brass thought that they should cover up child abuse by church officials? Should anyone else who wanted to be part of that religion go along with that?
Chris the Tall - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> I believe Cameron's campaign for gay marriage is cynical.

On what basis ? I'm no fan of his, but I don't think we should assume that because he is a tory he is therefore evil and must have dubious motives for everything he does.

He has gone out on a limb on this one, and has alienated much of his traditional support. And even though I think it's a really important issue, it won't make me likely to vote for a Tory.

Meanwhile back to the original discussion, there are a couple of points that need to be re-iterated

1) The proposals explicitly state that religous groups will not be compelled to perform gay weddings.

2) There is an awful lot in the teachings of Christ about love and tolerance but nothing condemning homosexuality.
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fred99 - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:

I should hope that virtually nobody can equate child sex abuse with religious marriage ceremonies.
Whatever consenting adults get up to in private is up to them, and I for one certainly have no wish to even know what they may wish to do with/to each other.
When persons are below the age of consent then the law of the land must be paramount.

However, by trying to interfere with religion, politicians (of all persuasions, they're all guilty of it) are trying to rule peoples beliefs and minds.
Do we really want a situation where a government can decide what any religion can think - sounds more like what happens in an Islamic Fundamentalist controlled state rather than what I'd like to think is an enlightened and moderate 21st century Western European one.
Coel Hellier - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fred99:

> However, by trying to interfere with religion, politicians (of all persuasions, they're all
> guilty of it) are trying to rule peoples beliefs and minds.

I'll accept that argument as soon as the CofE is disestablished, and as soon as the government stops handing over a third of taxpayer-funded schools to be controlled by these people, and as soon as religions stop getting charitable tax exemption, etc.

As for "trying to rule peoples beliefs and minds", how about the law (the *law*!) requiring school kids to worship the Christian god every morning? Remind me who argued for that law? (Hint: the same religious bodies who now don't want the state interfering with them.)

But anyway, under the current proposals, no religious body will be forced to conduct gay marriages, will they?
stp - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fred99:

The problem with your Tulip religion example is that no one is asking to be exempt from certain laws which is the key point I'm trying to make.



> In short, if someone doesn't believe in the same things as any particular religion, why should they expect the many thousands and millions of adherents to that religion to change their views based on a small number of people who think differently, and do not necessarily truly belong to said religion.


One's religious views are usually inculcated when one is a young child, long before one's sexuality becomes evident.

No one is asking the millions of Catholics to change their views because within Catholicism their views don't count and never did. It's the small minority of Catholic Church hierarchy defines what is right and wrong.

Some reports I've read even suggest that Nichols isn't as homophobic as he appears in this Xmas statement; it's more to do with following the Vatican's wishes than his own.

If that's true it means our country might be making it's laws on the basis of a small religious group of Italians: fine example of democracy there then.
Bruce Hooker - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to stp:

> Some people say that holding onto retarded archaic ideas...

Like marriage you mean?
beardy mike - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Trouble is it's much easier to allow all people to be married, thus bestowing all the legal benefits that are associated with marriage, than the other way round. Marriage is a social institution across the world, and the stigmatisation of those who choose an alternative path is in part the issue here. If a gay couple are in a loving solid relationship, just as if a straight couple are, why shouldn't they be allowed to tie the knot, thereby ensuring that their estate, possessions, cherished things, property, legal custody of children etc are automatically passed on to their loved one? And even more so, I don't think any gays are asking the church to be forced to marry them in a church, they are simply asking to be allowed to marry, so that they have equal rights to anybody else, which personally I don't think is that much to ask.

That the catholic church seek to deny them this shows exactly what their priorities are and that they haven't changed one little bit - they are still seeking to subjugate those that don't agree with them as they always have done, from the Cathars to this day. For example that they deign to convince us that they are the light, when they are telling Africans not to use condoms during one of the worst viral epidemics we have seen, thus ensuring a miserable death and years of suffering because of some antiquated notion about the dominance of the earth and the superiority of man by the promotion of having children is just mental. I'm not saying people who believe in a god are like this, but that these institutions are run by delusional nutters who have mainly their own interests at heart. You wouldn't let a delusional nutter dictate government policy would you. Oh bugger... we do... damn - that's THAT argument out the window ;)
Sir Chasm - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fred99: What happens when your tulip religion decides that god thinks black people are inferior and they can't marry in church? Can a religion overrule racial equality laws? Or should they only be free from state interference in some aspects?
off-duty - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker) Trouble is it's much easier to allow all people to be married, thus bestowing all the legal benefits that are associated with marriage, than the other way round. Marriage is a social institution across the world, and the stigmatisation of those who choose an alternative path is in part the issue here. If a gay couple are in a loving solid relationship, just as if a straight couple are, why shouldn't they be allowed to tie the knot, thereby ensuring that their estate, possessions, cherished things, property, legal custody of children etc are automatically passed on to their loved one? And even more so, I don't think any gays are asking the church to be forced to marry them in a church, they are simply asking to be allowed to marry, so that they have equal rights to anybody else, which personally I don't think is that much to ask.

I thought all these rights were addressed(and made equivalent to those of a married couple) by having a civil partnership?
Jon Stewart - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> On what basis ?

On the basis that I explained. It's a policy that doesn't actually affect anyone. Did you miss the bit about 5-6000 civil partnerships per year? This policy simply does not matter. If, as a politician, you pour your energies into such an issue, you are either a complete fool and have no idea how to do your job, or you have underhand motives.

> I'm no fan of his, but I don't think we should assume that because he is a tory he is therefore evil and must have dubious motives for everything he does.

I think that because he is a politician, we can safely assume his motives are political.

> He has gone out on a limb on this one, and has alienated much of his traditional support. And even though I think it's a really important issue, it won't make me likely to vote for a Tory.

On what basis do you think it's important? What affect will it have on the minuscule number of people whom it concerns? And what about wider social effects, what are they supposed to be?

> Meanwhile back to the original discussion, there are a couple of points that need to be re-iterated
>
> 1) The proposals explicitly state that religous groups will not be compelled to perform gay weddings.

That's very nice. The problem is that the policy is cobblers, since rather than actually make gay marriage legal and not force religious groups to go against their convictions, it ties itself in a stupid knot over the CofE and upsets religious groups who haven't got that 'protection' from the ECHR.

> 2) There is an awful lot in the teachings of Christ about love and tolerance but nothing condemning homosexuality.

Well everyone's interpretation of the Bible is different. They range from "fags will burn in hell" to "lets give out free johnnies and lube at Sunday School". There is no point in bringing "what the Bible says" into this, because it says whatever you want to it say to support your political perspective.



stp - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> On what basis do you think it's important? What affect will it have on the minuscule number of people whom it concerns? And what about wider social effects, what are they supposed to be?

For me the wider effects are about wiping out the last strongholds of homophobia. I've browsed a few Catholic web sites and from what I've seen there are plenty of homophobes still out there. It's not the ideal way to go about it - it would be better if people thought through the contradictions for themselves - but as long as those archaic religious viewpoints persist there will be homophobia. Some Christians have moved with times already. The get out clauses for some religions are flawed but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Jon Stewart - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to stp:

I don't think it's appropriate for the state to attempt to wipe out crackpot religious attitudes. That will lead into all kind of bother (Muslims, for example, will kick up a right stink). The state should instead distance itself from crackpots, and leave them to become isolated and irrelevant, their institutions existing only in the personal sphere and disappearing from public life altogether.

The Catholic church is pretty much irrelevant in this country already, although I wish it were more so. I think that the work left to be done to ensure gay people have similar opportunities to straight people to live happy and fulfilled lives are no longer about govt policy (although there may be some low-drama things to iron out which are currently unfair - this should be easy and uncontroversial). It's much more about young gay people growing up with a sense that they are equal, rather than something to be ridiculed or despised: attitudes of schools towards bullying, visible gay people in sports, music, etc, stuff like that are relevant here. For me, taking the issue of how gay people are treated seriously means thinking about these things, not making empty political gestures and squabbling with irrelevant crackpot institutions that nobody listens to.

The New NickB - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to mike kann)
> [...]
>
> I thought all these rights were addressed(and made equivalent to those of a married couple) by having a civil partnership?

They are legally distinct with slightly different rights, marriage offers more protections. I am sure someone can find a link with the details.
stp - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> ...The state should instead distance itself from crackpots, and leave them to become isolated and irrelevant, their institutions existing only in the personal sphere and disappearing from public life altogether.

Well that would certainly be the ideal though I'd question if that is even happening and how long it would take. But my proposal is really only that religions should not be exempt from laws (eg. homosexual discrimination) that everyone else has to abide by. It sends the message that some kinds of bigotry is OK. Not a very encouraging message if you're a homosexual.



> The Catholic church is pretty much irrelevant in this country already, although I wish it were more so.

Well not that irrelevant. They were the main story on Xmas day news, a story that was reported without much criticism, it's pretty clear they still have a lot of influence. And combine that with other religions with similar ideas and I think it's pretty powerful lobby.
Coel Hellier - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to stp:

> But my proposal is really only that religions should not be exempt from laws (eg. homosexual discrimination)
> that everyone else has to abide by.

I agree with you, but the crucial point about anti-discrimination laws is they they apply to people offering a "public service", but not to private groups offering services only to their own members.

For example, in the case of the Christian couple running a B&B who turned away a gay couple, they were found by the court to be offering a "public service", meaning that random members of the public could turn up and get a room for the night. Thus they were bound by anti-discrimination laws.

However, if a religion is not offering to marry random members of the public, but only members of their own congregation, then they are not offering a public service and so (I am open to correction here) they are not subject to anti-discrimination laws -- they are entirely entitled to apply whatever religious conditions they like.

The point specifically about the CofE is that the CofE has a legal obligation to marry anyone who asks (dating from the days before there was a secular alternative). Thus they could be construed as offering a public service, and hence the specific opt-out from anti-discrimination legislation that the government is suggesting for the CofE.

(Of course I personally would prefer instead that the CofE were disestablished and the legal obligation to marry anyone be revoked.)
Simon4 - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to stp:

> They were the main story on Xmas day news, a story that was reported without much criticism, it's pretty clear they still have a lot of influence. And combine that with other religions with similar ideas and I think it's pretty powerful lobby.

You mean other people are allowed to have different views to you? To have a different moral basis, proceeding from a different code of conduct? That does not conform to "modern" thought (i.e. your dogmatic views, and those of people who agree with you). How shocking, the evil counter-revolutionaries. Its almost as if they think they have discovered an eternal moral standard, not subject to fashion or change - do they think it was supplied by God or something, rather than the latest Guardian editorial? (which as we all know is the only source of truth and moral values). Not only that, but they are actually allowed to state their views publicaly as though they had as much right to them as you?

Repress them, censor their views, take away their children and jobs, send them to re-education camps.

Have you ever considered what an intolerant bigot you are? You and other "progressives" seem to have great difficulty dealing with, freedom of speech and the press and just generally dealing with the fact that quite a lot of people feel that they are right just as strongly as you do, but come to quite different conclusions. Its called democracy and means that Catholics get the right to run their show as they see fit and don't have to answer to you, and you get to express your bigoted views, but can't impose them on others. Especially given that there is ample provision for civil marriage and now civil partnerships, the only motivation that you seem to have for trying to repress the beliefs of religious groups is totalitarianism.
dissonance - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> Especially given that there is ample provision for civil marriage and now civil partnerships, the only motivation that you seem to have for trying to repress the beliefs of religious groups is totalitarianism.

I reckon thats a 7 out of 10. You lose some points for not ranting about the beeb.
Now just to address one flaw in your rant. No one is saying the catholics shouldnt run their show as they see fit however the minor problem is they aint happy with that.
Other religious groups arent allowed to hold religious ceremonies, despite wishing to do so, because of the religious bigots.
Jon Stewart - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to stp:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> But my proposal is really only that religions should not be exempt from laws (eg. homosexual discrimination) that everyone else has to abide by.

I think there's a question about how far the state/law extends into personal lives. I think everyone needs their right to believe any old sh!t defended, but only where it is not harmful to others. Since going to church is entirely a personal matter, any harmful attitudes preached therein should be countered by the values expounded through state institutions: in schools (you've guessed it, churches etc should have nowt to do with education, they're simply not qualified IMO), in the provision of public services, in the BBC - rather than by law. In a battle of ideas, the way to win is to argue, not to silence the other side. As Coel points out, the law is about public services. If you don't like what a church says or does, easy - don't go!

> It sends the message that some kinds of bigotry is OK. Not a very encouraging message if you're a homosexual.

It's not a nice message, but if schools, the media and providers of public services make clear that in this country we beleive homosexuals deserve equal rights to heterosexuals, then their nasty message appears out of step with mainstream society and they look like crackpots and bigots. It is up to the churches to change their attitudes if they want to, not for the law to tell them what to believe and how to behave. If they were doing something useful in society to which everyone was entitled to a slice of, then I would agree. But they're not.

>
> Well not that irrelevant. They were the main story on Xmas day news, a story that was reported without much criticism, it's pretty clear they still have a lot of influence. And combine that with other religions with similar ideas and I think it's pretty powerful lobby.

A powerful lobby in certain corners of govt decision making perhaps - but no longer an influential voice shaping the attitudes of young people as they grow up.
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to mike kann:

It depends what you think marriage means. For the question of civil rights then as Off Duty says simpler solutions are available, although I don't know if they are as complete in Britain as marriage is, they aren't in France, which I think is a problem that should be dealt with - if anyone wanted to do so.

If on the other hand one considers that the purpose of marriage is to provide security and financial help for reproduction and the upbringing of children, which is what it seems to me was it's initial purpose, then the call for same sex marriage has less sense, as clearly such couples cannot produce offspring.... unless....

And it's the "unless" which is perhaps behind the debate, IMO.
The New NickB - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to dissonance:

I think a couple of extra points should be awarded for the spectacular lack of self awareness, it cannot be real, but it is very well done!
Coel Hellier - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It's not a nice message, but if schools ... make clear that in this country we beleive homosexuals deserve
> equal rights to heterosexuals, then their nasty message appears out of step with mainstream society and
> they look like crackpots and bigots.

One problem though is that a third of a taxpayer-funded schools are handed over to these religious groups to run, with large numbers handed to the Catholic Church to run. What message on homosexuals in society do children sent to those schools get?

Coel Hellier - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Simon4:

> Have you ever considered what an intolerant bigot you are? ... Have you ever considered what an
> intolerant bigot you are?

Yours was a good rant, but what exactly has stp said that is intolerant or bigoted? Has he said that people are not entitled to their views? No, he said the opposite. All he has said is that religious groups should be expected to obey the same laws as anyone else. What is wrong with that?

> Repress them, censor their views, take away their children and jobs, send them to re-education camps.

Does your construction of and attack on a blatant straw-man suggest that you can't sensibly rebut what he has actually said?
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Jon Stewart - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> One problem though is that a third of a taxpayer-funded schools are handed over to these religious groups to run, with large numbers handed to the Catholic Church to run.

I entirely agree this is a problem. The solution of course is absolutely obvious although unlikely to happen any time soon. That said, I don't think this error in policy should be corrected by trying to change the views of the church.

> What message on homosexuals in society do children sent to those schools get?

God only knows...

craigloon - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> If on the other hand one considers that the purpose of marriage is to provide security and financial help for reproduction and the upbringing of children, which is what it seems to me was it's initial purpose,

I was always under the impression that modern marriage was devised as a legal contract whereby men could get hold of women's property.

Also, what about infertile couples, or women who have entered the menopause, or couples who simply don't want children? Should they not be allowed to get married?

Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to craigloon:

> Also, what about infertile couples, or women who have entered the menopause, or couples who simply don't want children? Should they not be allowed to get married?

I'm not saying they shouldn't, just suggesting what may have been behind the idea of marriage in a general way. If you read anything by Dickens he seems to describe marriage as a very pro-male arrangement but hasn't the legal side changed a little since then?

Another point if marriage is seen as a way of providing incentive, and security, for breeding is whether given the population explosion which is the main problem facing humanity today, should we even be trying to encourage reproduction anymore?

None of such questions comes out much in the debates though which seem
to remain at a very superficial cake fight level, like most discussions concerning sexuality.
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to craigloon)
>
> [...]

> Another point if marriage is seen as a way of providing incentive, and security, for breeding is whether given the population explosion which is the main problem facing humanity today, should we even be trying to encourage reproduction anymore?

I don't think people need encouragement to breed - but I think part of the point of marriage is to encourage stability for those breeding. However, since in general the marriage comes before the breeding, it needs to be a one-size-fits all thing that provides the legal framework for sharing stuff between two people, whether they have kids, have no kids, and whether they're men or women in whatever combo. Because of history we've ended up with marriage (in its equal registry office and religious forms) and civil partnerships rather than just marriage (and mumbo jumbo) which isn't entirely ideal because it's not quite equal rights for everyone.

> None of such questions comes out much in the debates though which seem
> to remain at a very superficial cake fight level, like most discussions concerning sexuality.

I don't think there's much need to go into a deep discussion about sexuality. The questions are

- whether under the law gay and straight couples should be treated equally or differently,
- to what extent the state should interfere with religious practice,

and as I see it (as a proponent of separating civil marriage from whatever daft chanting and wearing silly hats goes on in churches, mosques, etc)
- whether the state should give any credence at all to anything done by any religious institution, or listen to anything they say.
Mike Stretford - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
>
> - whether the state should give any credence at all to anything done by any religious institution, or listen to anything they say.

If there was any movement towards a secular state in this country I would be cockahoop, but if anything we've gone the otherway, largely thanks to Blair :(
GrahamD - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to craigloon)

> Another point if marriage is seen as a way of providing incentive, and security, for breeding is whether given the population explosion which is the main problem facing humanity today, should we even be trying to encourage reproduction anymore?

Personally I would see marriage not su much as an encouragement for breeding - that seems to come naturally. More it is to foster a stable environment in which to raise the outcome of the 'breeding'. If you take that view on what a marriage (as opposed to legal civil partnerships) is then a gay marriage makes little sense.
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> If you take that view on what a marriage (as opposed to legal civil partnerships) is then a gay marriage makes little sense.

True, but since you can't make marriage child-bearing specific, and since gay couples can have kids, the argument is an irrelevant dead-end.
stp - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Yes but I think the Catholic reasoning is more like:

1. God says gays are an abomination,
2. therefore we should stop them at every opportunity
3. to stop gay marriage in a secular society think up secular based ideas to justify it.


Additionally it's worth noting that gay couples can and do bring up children, either adopted or from a previous straight relationship and of course some straight couples end up having no kids at all.
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> - whether under the law gay and straight couples should be treated equally or differently,

Which involves considering what the marriage is about, if it's to do with breeding then there could quite well be a difference between the two situations.

> - to what extent the state should interfere with religious practice,

I don't think religion is much the problem here, it's just that some religious people are able to use the remaining influence of religion, though catholic organiation or the C of E and it's legal advantages, to make themselves heard. Other people may have things they would like to say but have no convenient way of doing this, nor much much expectancy of being heard... They just shut up and feel a little aggrieved, which is perhaps not too healthy either.

I get the feeling that things are being pushed through too quickly, using slight of hand rather than taking the time required. There could be a backlash... exactly the same thing is going on in France, with a campaign for "marriage pours tous" ie. "marriage for all" being the slogan... a little demagogic, so apparently I'd be able to marry my brother or daughter :-)
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to stp:

> 1. God says gays are an abomination,
> 2. therefore we should stop them at every opportunity

I don't want to defend the church but is this really true? At least openly most practicing christians have moved on a little from this... using excessive arguments just muddles things up - turns it all into a bun-fight.
MG - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to stp)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't want to defend the church but is this really t

Seems so, even senior figures openly say so. Eg
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556131/Floods-are-judgment-on-society-say-bishops.html

One diocesan bishop has even claimed that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless.
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> Which involves considering what the marriage is about, if it's to do with breeding then there could quite well be a difference between the two situations.

While breeding might have something, philosophically, to do with the existence of marriage in the first place, it's not relevant to how you actually design it, because it must work for both those breeding and not breeding. The kids thing is pure red herring when it comes making to the rules (unless you're proposing redesigning marriage entirely so that it's activated at childbirth or something).
>
> I don't think religion is much the problem here, it's just that some religious people are able to use the remaining influence of religion, though catholic organiation or the C of E and it's legal advantages, to make themselves heard. Other people may have things they would like to say but have no convenient way of doing this, nor much much expectancy of being heard... They just shut up and feel a little aggrieved, which is perhaps not too healthy either.

So you think there's a group of secular people who think that gays should not get married? Why would they think that? How could it possibly be any of their concern, unless they're just homophobic and don't think gays should have equal rights? In which case, why would we want to listen to them, having already democratically established the principle that gays are not inferior to straight people? I don't see where you're coming from at all here.
>
> I get the feeling that things are being pushed through too quickly, using slight of hand rather than taking the time required.

I get the impression it's a crap, pointless policy that doesn't address either of two important problems:

1. The church has powers it doesn't deserve
2. Gays and straights are treated differently under the law
off-duty - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> They are legally distinct with slightly different rights, marriage offers more protections. I am sure someone can find a link with the details.

I didn't think there was any legal difference whatsoever, other than an inability to say that you are "married" I await a link to suggest otherwise with interest....
beardy mike - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Unfortunately it IS true. It may not be what all worshippers believe, but a significant proportion do, and more importantly it's what the Vatican believe, and thus by default becomes their followers stance aswell.

That they also reckon that the Pope has a mental red telephone with a direct line to god shows their line of thinking. It's in no way based on a logical thought process or on any form of reality. As much as moderate Christians like to tell us that you can't take all the texts literally and they are just a guide for your life, the people who run the show are anything but moderate and really believe that aids is just a punishment from god for shagging around. They are not look at the concrete evidence that this is a virus whose spread can be mitigated massively and thereby relieve tremendous suffering, rather they are scrambling to ensure that they don't lose their power over people by telling them that they will go to hell if they use condoms, and are condemning thousands, possibly millions of people to a miserable death.

It's utter lunacy. And given that this the way these people think, why are we not dismissing what they say on such extreme matters as this? They are thinking in a bigoted and illogical manner, so why should we allow what the pope says affect what we do as a nation? What the hell has the church got to do with the governance of a country in the first place? The government was put in place to represent all the people of our nation, whether they are gay, straight, white, black, facist, nazi... as such they should not be paying excessive credence to any one group but reviewing the situation with as much evidence as they can muster and should be putting aside personal feelings on emotive subjects like this so that they can legislate based on whether it is fair or not. In this case it's clearly unfair. You're right, that marriages are there to provide a stable base for bringing up kids, but horror of horrors, gay people are allowed to have kids. So on that basis alone why would you also not allow marriage? Its entirely logical!
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
> [...]
>
> I didn't think there was any legal difference whatsoever, other than an inability to say that you are "married" I await a link to suggest otherwise with interest....

You're right:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/17/gay-marriage-civil-partnerships
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> So you think there's a group of secular people who think that gays should not get married?

If there wasn't such a group why is there a debate? Opinion polls say there is... They have no power, are not very vocal so do you think they should just be ignored, brushed under the carpet? It sounds as bad as "homophobia" really, except there is no emotionally charged word to cover it.

Politically, ignoring large, or medium sized sub groups of the population hasn't proved to healthy in the past, there's no overwhelming hurry, why not take the time to move forward with the population as a whole? It could be more efficient in the long term.
MG - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: Too bad if you want a title! Also it cant be a religouis ceremony
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> gay people are allowed to have kids

How can they do this? Is it something new, I didn't realise they could... they can't in France yet. How do they do it?
beardy mike - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to mike kann: I stand corrected. To be honest, this makes the reason for not doing so even flimsier. It seems the only reason you are not allowed to marry is on religious grounds. Well there are plenty of atheists who are married so why are they allowed, to but a gay couple aren't? Seems to me the only reason is because the pope would fall off his chair and the WI would stop making teacakes in protest.
off-duty - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart) Too bad if you want a title! Also it cant be a religouis ceremony

You can't call yourself Mr or Mrs ? I find that hard to believe.
Isn't it a bit contradictory to want a religious ceremony in a religion that disagrees with what you are doing? It's like wanting a Catholic white wedding ceremony despite being Jewish.
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Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> If there wasn't such a group why is there a debate?

The debate is all about what churches etc should and shouldn't be made to do by the state. I was not aware of a secular anti-gay marriage component at all.

Opinion polls say there is...

How do you know? What was asked? How was it disentangled from the religious aspect? Could you show us one of these polls so I can see whether I agree with your conclusion about this being a view that deserves some kind of consideration (even if that's just to dismiss it as homophobia).

> They have no power, are not very vocal so do you think they should just be ignored, brushed under the carpet? It sounds as bad as "homophobia" really, except there is no emotionally charged word to cover it.

At the moment I don't understand who these people are or what their view is. If it's just a bunch of crusty old bigots, then yes, ignoring them would seem like a decent enough strategy.
Philip on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> ... WI would stop making teacakes ...

Two things.

1. Nothing stops the WI

2. I don't think the WI is well known for teacakes. They are well known for cakes and tea, but teacakes are not the same thing.

beardy mike - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Adoption. IVF. Sticking a basting syringe up yer hooha... doesn't really matter does it?
MG - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to off-duty: I think Mr is Ok :-)

Some relgions are a bit more enlightened I think.
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> You can't call yourself Mr or Mrs ? I find that hard to believe.
> Isn't it a bit contradictory to want a religious ceremony in a religion that disagrees with what you are doing? It's like wanting a Catholic white wedding ceremony despite being Jewish.

Yup. That's one reason that the policy is pointless.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to off-duty:

> Isn't it a bit contradictory to want a religious ceremony in a religion that disagrees with what you are doing?

Yes, but there are some religious denominations that *do* want to allow gay marriage. If you are a sincere believer in one of these denominations then you obviously want a religious gay marriage, and your church wants to give you one. Why should the law say, no, you can only have a non-religious civil partnership, which may be less meaningful to you than a religious marriage?

Again, can we be clear: These proposals only *allow* those religious organisations that want to to *opt* *in* to having gay marriages. The proposal is not that religious organisations that don't want to should be forced to.
off-duty - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to off-duty) I think Mr is Ok :-)
>
> Some relgions are a bit more enlightened I think.

And some are a lot less enlightened. I always thought if you want to join a gang like that part of the deal was accepting the rules.
Isn't that kind of how religion works?
MG - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to off-duty: Yes. See Coels post
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to off-duty)
>
> [...]
>
> Yes, but there are some religious denominations that *do* want to allow gay marriage. If you are a sincere believer in one of these denominations then you obviously want a religious gay marriage, and your church wants to give you one. Why should the law say, no, you can only have a non-religious civil partnership, which may be less meaningful to you than a religious marriage?

I think the law should say exactly that to everyone. Then if you want some chanting while wearing a silly hat or whatever, as well as your legal/civil marriage, then off you go. But sadly that's not up for debate.

> Again, can we be clear: These proposals only *allow* those religious organisations that want to to *opt* *in* to having gay marriages. The proposal is not that religious organisations that don't want to should be forced to.

And the objection (smokescreen?) is that those organisations who don't opt in will be taken to court (ECHR) and done for discrimination, meaning that the state (of sorts) will have forced them to do something they don't want to. I'm not sure whether they've got a point or not, lawyers seem to disagree.
The New NickB - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

That article says similar, not the same! I have heard references to more distinct differences, I will have to try and find them.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> And the objection (smokescreen?) is that those organisations who don't opt in will be taken to
> court (ECHR) and done for discrimination, meaning that the state (of sorts) will have forced
> them to do something they don't want to.

As I understand it (see my post at 17:46 Wed), if they are not offering a marriage service to the public at large, but only to their own congregation, then non-discrimination laws don't apply and they would not be forced to offer gay marriages.

(However, they may worry that the ECHR do have a track record of interpreting the declarations "progressively" and of regularly extending their scope.)
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

As I say, I dunno if they have a point or not. But given the actual scope of the policy, given the 6,000 civil partnerships per year, it's all a complete waste of time. With the current arrangements, a couple of people each year are denied their religious ceremony that they'd prefer to the registry office gig offered by the state. The tears are welling as I type this.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> ... it's all a complete waste of time.

Oh I don't know, anything that annoys the Catholic church can hardly be a complete waste of time. ;-)

You're likely right that this only affects a small number of people, but that small number do care about it. And is much time really being wasted? Some hours of some civil servants to draft the legislation, and a small amount of Parliamentary time to debate and then vote on it. I'm guessing that five years after this has been passed it'll be a complete non-issue with everyone wondering what the fuss was about -- just as usually happens with progress the religious establishment opposes.

That is exactly what has happened over same-sex civil partnerships (which the religious establishment then opposed, though they're now trying to pretend that they didn't).
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I think Parliamentary time is precious. If other groups of similar size to

gays who want to get married who are members of a religious organisation who want to perform gay marriage

could get access that chunk of democracy, perhaps some issues of considerable
importance - involving life and death decisions - could be resolved.
beardy mike - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: Of course there is the other argument, that if there are so few people wanting to do it, why not just allow it as it's hardly a big deal. It's not like it'll really affect the vatican or CofEs folloing if it's allowed is it?
Jimbo W on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes, but there are some religious denominations that *do* want to allow gay marriage. If you are a sincere believer in one of these denominations then you obviously want a religious gay marriage, and your church wants to give you one.

Which religious denominations? As I understand it, there are many within the CofE who wish to allow gay religious ceremonies and some that don't. The church is not such an absolute entity, in any of its denominational forms, whether that be the Catholic Church or the CofE.
The New NickB - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> Which religious denominations? As I understand it, there are many within the CofE who wish to allow gay religious ceremonies and some that don't. The church is not such an absolute entity, in any of its denominational forms, whether that be the Catholic Church or the CofE.

The CofE is pretty absolute on this matter, if the law goes through, Gay marriages still won't happen in CofE churches.
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I've been following the debate in France, a country with a somewhat less repressive attitude to homosexuality than Britain, and in December 54% were in favour of marriages of people of the same gender, which leaves a sizable minority against. On the other hand concerning adoption by such couples the results vary from 48/48% in the same poll mentioned a small majority against in a more recent one.

http://www.melty.fr/mariage-gay-sondage-les-francais-y-sont-favorables-a145558.html

There are plenty of other articles if you google as there is a project of a change in the law which would allow such marriages - there are already civil partnerships called the PAC available.

I'm surprised that no such polls have been carried out in Britain... why would that be do you think? It's a fairly major change as the legal implications are technically quite significant - countless laws would have to be redrafted, even birth certificates and such like as the terms father/mother would need to be replaced by something like parent 1/parent 2 etc. Not a cheap affair so getting it right the first time would probably be a good idea.

You seem to see homophobia everywhere? Don't you think there is anything more to this subject than that?
Bruce Hooker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Further to your query re existence of opinion poll results, and as you don't seem to have noticed any yourself, I though I'd just check it out despite you being actually in Britain! I found that there have in fact been a great number of opinion polls on the subject in Britain giving almost identical results to France... quite extraordinary you didn't notice them. Here's a web site which resumes them nicely:

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/4984

It's from March 2012 so there are doubtless more recent figures. Again as in France the results vary a lot according to who orders the poll and so how the question is put. The web editor makes a good point when he says:

"I would again urge people to be cautious about polling questions asking if people agree/disagree with a loaded statement. It is rarely the best way of asking a question and carries with it risks of bias. If there are a conflicting polls on a subject, do not cherry pick those that suit your own views take a broad look across all the polls. In this context, when the argument is cast in terms of equal rights a majority support gay marriage, when cast as a minority imposing their views upon the rest a majority are opposed when asked simply and directly just under half are in support."

Whatever, there is absolutely no doubt that there are large parts of the population in both countries both for and against, with a general trend of a small majority in favour, unlike the March 2012 conclusion above... but it's not an election, is it? A huge majority in France, however, both left and right are in favour of a referendum on the subject.
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> Here's a web site which resumes them nicely:
>
> http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/4984
>
Brilliant link, thanks.

> Whatever, there is absolutely no doubt that there are large parts of the population in both countries both for and against, with a general trend of a small majority in favour

Yes, you're right, there is a sizable chunk of people who don't seem homophobic (they think civil partnerships are OK) but who disagree with gay marriage...but we don't know why. Given that the census told us that about 60% of people in the UK still identify as Christians, I suspect that this has something to do with it. Given that the only time most of these so-called Christians ever see in the inside of a church is at a wedding, I'm pretty convinced that this opposition does not have a secular argument behind it, it is confused sentimentality on the part of people who suddenly feel like a Christian when you start talking about weddings, but who don't know the first thing about Jesus.

> You seem to see homophobia everywhere? Don't you think there is anything more to this subject than that?

I don't think I do, and I'm sorry if it comes across that way. I raised homophobia as the Occam's razor explanation for secular opposition to gay marriage, which you were proposing was widespread (I don't think it is). I still have no idea why someone who isn't religious would oppose gay marriage. And I'm not yet convinced that there is a significant number of people who fall into this secular opposition camp. I can only speculate, but given the census figures, I think the explanation of the opposition in the polls is pseudo-religious sentimentality, and as such is well worth ignoring (if indeed you have to make a decision about this pointless policy). We haven't asked these people if they can come up with a coherent argument for their opposition, and I doubt that they can, but I could be proved wrong.

As far as I can see it, you can be consistent and say

a) "It's God's word, a man and a woman, that's it"
b) "I think gay people deserve equal rights, civil partnerships are second best not equality, so let's have gay marriage" or
c) Variations on "civil partnerships are fine, let's leave it"/"I don't know/care/etc"

I'm proposing that the opposition in the polls is basically a), it's just coming out of people's mouths who don't normally give a nanosecond's thought to God's word until they experience some cognitive dissonance as the image of two blokes in suits kissing in front of a vicar and church congregation flashes across their mind when the words "gay" and "marriage" come together as part of a YouGov polling question.

> A huge majority in France, however, both left and right are in favour of a referendum on the subject.

A referendum!! I don't usually use multiple exclamation marks but that is absolutely ridiculous. I'm a pragmatic person and I simply don't have any interest whatsoever discussing the morality of damaging marriage as a 'sacred institution' or however the argument goes that says this is somehow important. I just don't understand that point of view, I think it's a silly, fruitless, time-wasting approach to looking at an issue of social policy, and it shouldn't be taken seriously because it doesn't mean anything tangible. By all means have your elaborate ceremonies and chant silly oaths and all that, but can we please give it a rest when it comes to making laws that everyone has to live by.
ads.ukclimbing.com
dissonance - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> It's a fairly major change as the legal implications are technically quite significant - countless laws would have to be redrafted, even birth certificates and such like as the terms father/mother would need to be replaced by something like parent 1/parent 2 etc.

This has already had to be addressed in the UK for lesbian couples. See Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.

Jimbo W on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes, you're right, there is a sizable chunk of people who don't seem homophobic (they think civil partnerships are OK) but who disagree with gay marriage...but we don't know why. Given that the census told us that about 60% of people in the UK still identify as Christians, I suspect that this has something to do with it. Given that the only time most of these so-called Christians ever see in the inside of a church is at a wedding, I'm pretty convinced that this opposition does not have a secular argument behind it, it is confused sentimentality on the part of people who suddenly feel like a Christian when you start talking about weddings, but who don't know the first thing about Jesus.

You can't have it both ways. Either Christians are Christians or they are not! You need to fight this one out with Coel. Either there is real religious substance to an expressed belief that justifies a conviction on a matter like gay marriage or if there isn't and its just an uncritically justified one, why on earth do you think it should of religious origin.

> I don't think I do, and I'm sorry if it comes across that way. I raised homophobia as the Occam's razor explanation for secular opposition to gay marriage, which you were proposing was widespread (I don't think it is). I still have no idea why someone who isn't religious would oppose gay marriage.

Occam's razor how? This really is apologetic bs! Indeed you feel free to confidently share your opinion despite admitting to having no idea why someone who isn't religious would oppose gay marriage! At least try! How about cultural overhangs of a still prevalent Victorian prissy class. I'm sure you could put forward some decent hypotheses or do some research before allowing your anti religious prejudice getting the better of you!
Jimbo W on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
> Brilliant link, thanks.
>
> [...]
>
> Yes, you're right, there is a sizable chunk of people who don't seem homophobic (they think civil partnerships are OK) but who disagrenK o ih gay marriage...but we don't know why. Given that the census told us that about 60% of people in the UK still identify as Christians, I suspect that this has something to do with it. Given that the only time most of these so-called Christians ever see in the inside of a church is at a wedding, I'm pretty convinced that this opposition does not have a secular argument behind it, it is confused sentimentality on the part of people who suddenly feel like a Christian when you start talking about weddings, but who don't know the first thing about Jesus.
>
> [...]
>
> I don't think I do, and I'm sorry if it comes across that way. I raised homophobia as the Occam's razor explanation for secular opposition to gay marriage, which you were proposing was widespread (I don't think it is). I still have no idea why someone who isn't religious would oppose gay marriage. And I'm not yet convinced that there is a significant number of people who fall into this secular opposition camp. I can only speculate, but given the census figures, I think the explanation of the opposition in the polls is pseudo-religious sentimentality, and as such is well worth ignoring (if indeed you have to make a decision about this pointless policy). We haven't asked these people if they can come up with a coherent argument for their opposition, and I doubt that they can, but I could be proved wrong.
>
> As far as I can see it, you can be consistent and say
>
> a) "It's God's word, a man and a woman, that's it"
> b) "I think gay people deserve equal rights, civil partnerships are second best not equality, so let's have gay marriage" or
> c) Variations on "civil partnerships are fine, let's leave it"/"I don't know/care/etc"
>
> I'm proposing that the opposition in the polls is basically a), it's just coming out of people's mouths who don't normally give a nanosecond's thought to God's word until they experience some cognitive dissonance as the image of two blokes in suits kissing in front of a vicar and church congregation flashes across their mind when the words "gay" and "marriage" come together as part of a YouGov polling question.

Homophobia may be thankfully waning, but the subject is certainly still taboo. What % of people would actively encourage their grown up children to try sex with both men and women to encourage a totally free choice? What effect do you think that might have when the same people are asked to consider the proposition that the church should bless such marriages, when Christian or not, it is well known the church orientates itself about issues of morality! Personally, I'm with giles Fraser on this, and I'm pretty sure that if the (homophobic?) Tory party let Maria get her way, it will accelerate, not decelerate a change in position by the CofE synod to accept and promote gay marriage.

Bruce Hooker - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Given that the census told us that about 60% of people in the UK still identify as Christians, I suspect that this has something to do with it.

That's a pretty amazing jump of logic! Also I would dispute the 60% christian figure, maybe in terms of culture but the majority are not religious at all... Do you know many people who believe in god? I don't. Clearly you cannot understand why people would be against same sex marriages, maybe that's something you could try and look into yourself?

Personally I think many people simply haven't really thought about it all, like me they are not obsessed by the subject so when asked some reply "ok" others say "not really", apparently on a more or less random basis. However when they feel they are being pushed a bit too hard they may react negatively, again without being particularly clear - "Why marriage when civil union exists?", seems a fairly logical reaction, and according to the web site is fairly widespread.

On further pushing by militant elements without any clear answer to this question, some may actually start thinking about why marriage exists in nearly all societies, what it's purpose is and so on, others may say"Sod this!" and react against. I doubt that religion has much to do with it outside the small minority of religious people, possibly 10 to 20% maximum, all religions included. It's a convenient scapegoat though which avoids examining the whole issue in a calm, objective way.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: The CoE synod accepts and promotes gay marriage? Well, if you say so.
Jimbo W on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Do you ever bother to read before you spout?
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Did I misunderstand you? Did you mean the CoE is accelerating (gradually, grudgingly creeping) out of its default homophobic and sexist position?
Jimbo W on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Well yes, that's more like it. Just like the uk population and the Tory party, this sort of ethical conservatism is rife.
A) the synod is not very representative of the CofE
B) while there are certainly bishops against, I doubt the main problem lies with the bishops as is similar with what occurred with the votes on women bishops
C) the standards required for change within the synod are well in excess of usual democratic standards, and this will I suspect have to change.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Yes, yes, your club is sexist and homophobic, but that's ok because so is everyone else. What happened to leading by example?
A) The synod is the CoE.
B) The main problem is that the CoE, as an institution, is homophobic and sexist.
C) Why should religion be democratic?
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) Yes, yes, your club is sexist and homophobic, but that's ok because so is everyone else. What happened to leading by example?

But everyone else isn't. We have laws banning discrimination in all other contexts. If the CoE weren't exempt, they would be a criminal organisation( cf B&B owners). You understand such exemptions are all part of the oppressive, anti-religious, aggressively secular environment we live in, of course.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG: I know everyone else isn't. I think think it's pathetic whataboutery from jimbo.
GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes, you're right, there is a sizable chunk of people who don't seem homophobic (they think civil partnerships are OK) but who disagree with gay marriage...but we don't know why. Given that the census told us that about 60% of people in the UK still identify as Christians, I suspect that this has something to do with it.

For my part I disagree strongly with that assertion:

From a legal standpoint I'm more than happy that gay couples are treated exactly like heterosexual couples in law.

From a historical standpoint (and I suspect the reason the church originally adopted the institution) marriage IS about having a stable environment for raising children (with historical family/god parent support networks). In a society with no welfare this makes total sense and, equally, gay marriage makes no sense. This is what all the trappings of a church wedding and vows are about. Obviously (to me)this is outdated view now but that is what I believe the church view of marriage and marriage ceremony is about. From a cghurch view of what marriage it is not logical to support gay marriage. Its unfortunate that this argument gets overshadowed by the overtly homophobic elements within the church establisment who view homosexuality as a 'sin'.

I am atheist, but that doesn't stop me recognising that not all the social institutions supported and instigated by the church (an entirely man made organisation IMO) can be beneficial.
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Obviously (to me)this is outdated view now but that is what I believe the church view of marriage and marriage ceremony is about. From a cghurch view of what marriage it is not logical to support gay marriage.

So why doesn't it oppose older women getting married, or the infertile?
dissonance - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

> I am atheist, but that doesn't stop me recognising that not all the social institutions supported and instigated by the church (an entirely man made organisation IMO) can be beneficial.

the church instigated marriage?
Plus the support of children argument falls down on their willingness to marry older couples who (outside of modern science) were unlikely to raise any kids.
deepsoup - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> ... marriage IS about having a stable environment for raising children (with historical family/god parent support networks). In a society with no welfare this makes total sense and, equally, gay marriage makes no sense.

So you don't think a gay marriage can be a stable environment for raising children then? Why not?
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> You can't have it both ways. Either Christians are Christians or they are not! You need to fight this one out with Coel. Either there is real religious substance to an expressed belief that justifies a conviction on a matter like gay marriage or if there isn't and its just an uncritically justified one, why on earth do you think it should of religious origin.

I don't think the opposition is one of religious substance, I think it's "uncritically justified" pseudo-religious sentimentality. We're looking here at why people see a difference in civil partnerships and marriage, the key question in the debate being "should gay people be allowed to choose to have a church wedding (should the church want that) just like straight people, or should they be restricted by law to a registry office civil partnership?". If you think that it's a secular argument about whether the registry office ceremony for gays should be called "marriage" or not, frankly, you've misunderstood the whole deal! It's about church weddings for goodness sake, of course objections are to do with churches! That's not to say they're serious religious convictions, they're unjustified pseudo-religious sentimental reasons about what a wedding "should" be like. And if a church wants to marry people, that's their business and opposing them with the law is bizarre and unjustified (but so is the connection between the church and the law in first place, but...).

However, it doesn't actually matter on practical level because the number of gay people who want to get married in churches is infinitesimal.

> [...]
>
> Occam's razor how? This really is apologetic bs!

I was trying to find an explanation for opposition to gay marriage that is truly secular, i.e. isn't based on religious conviction, nor weak unjustified pseudo-religious sentimentality. I think that basically every other objection (e.g. "cultural overhangs of a still prevalent Victorian prissy class") can be described by the umbrella term "homophobia", which is admittedly sloppy language because it's much less dramatic than that term makes out. What I mean by "homophobia" here is the belief that gay people do not deserve equal rights to straight people; that there is justification for excluding gay people from certain things on the grounds that they are gay (say, adoption, marriage, maybe a B&B if the owner is old and churchy). Once you take religion out of it, you are left with "homophobia" or some other mysterious argument that no one has yet managed to come up with (although I've been asked to go and research it!). Occam's razor.

> Indeed you feel free to confidently share your opinion despite admitting to having no idea why someone who isn't religious would oppose gay marriage!

I have lots of ideas about someone who isn't religious would oppose gay marriage, and I term them all, loosely, "homophobia", or more specifically a belief that gay people are not entitled to equal rights. I also have lots of ideas about why those ideas might exist, but what we are trying to find is an argument that opposes gay marriage that is not religious, and supports equal rights. I'm not satisfied by arguments to do with kids, as they are inconsistent and imply that the infertile should be denied marriage, and that gay couples looking to adopt should be allowed it.

I don't know why you and Bruce are asking me to research what these arguments might be. If they exist, let's hear them. Don't be coy, and remember: no religion and no homophobia.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> For my part I disagree strongly with that assertion...From a cghurch view of what marriage it is not logical to support gay marriage.

Sorry I don't think I was clear in my post. I'm saying that to be OK with civil partnerships, but oppose gay marriage, you must be looking from a church perspective - which is what you've said too.

I wasn't accusing the church of being homophobic, only of being churchy. And I think that a lot of people - those who respond to a poll saying they support civil partnerships but oppose gay marriage - are a bit churchy, even if they're not actually religious (the pseudo-religious sentimental objection to gay marriage..."what? men? kissing? in a church??!?").
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> Homophobia may be thankfully waning, but the subject is certainly still taboo. What % of people would actively encourage their grown up children to try sex with both men and women to encourage a totally free choice?

Oh no! I'm being dragged into an argument about what being gay actually means! Just so you know, that's not how it works: gay men don't exist because they happened to try bumming and liked it. Or because they thought that being gay would be edgy and cool. So can we keep the "free choice" and "try it, you might like it" stuff at bay please, because it is nonsense.

> What effect do you think that might have when the same people are asked to consider the proposition that the church should bless such marriages, when Christian or not, it is well known the church orientates itself about issues of morality!

Well, here's the problem. There are irrational, anachronistic views of morality in which certain random things are deemed immoral: usually things that aren't understood. Can't we ignore those views, now we've grown up?


GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> the church instigated marriage?
> Plus the support of children argument falls down on their willingness to marry older couples who (outside of modern science) were unlikely to raise any kids.

The church certainly formalised marriage, and at the point they codified it it maybe never occurred to them that old people might want to be married
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> That's a pretty amazing jump of logic! Also I would dispute the 60% christian figure, maybe in terms of culture but the majority are not religious at all... Do you know many people who believe in god? I don't.

I don't think you read my whole post. I agree with you, these 60% aren't really religious, they have a sentimental attachment to the church and vague notions about what Christianity means.


> Clearly you cannot understand why people would be against same sex marriages, maybe that's something you could try and look into yourself?

As in reply to Jimbo, I can understand lots of reasons but I become stumped when I try to marry them (excuse that) with support for equal rights for gays. I think you're being coy in not setting them out, because you think I'll be offended by them. I promise, I'll only be offended if they are inconsistent with equal rights for gays.

> Personally I think many people simply haven't really thought about it all, like me they are not obsessed by the subject so when asked some reply "ok" others say "not really", apparently on a more or less random basis. However when they feel they are being pushed a bit too hard they may react negatively, again without being particularly clear - "Why marriage when civil union exists?", seems a fairly logical reaction, and according to the web site is fairly widespread.

I'd agree with that, and as I've said I think it would be better if gay people stopped accepting religion, rather than trying to get religion to accept gays. As such, I don't think gay marriage is important (although I do think it's interesting), but I certainly don't support the idea that a church who wants to marry a gay couple should be banned from doing so in law. I'm intrigued by this position, especially where it's claimed to be not religious, nor homophobic.

>
> On further pushing by militant elements without any clear answer to this question, some may actually start thinking about why marriage exists in nearly all societies, what it's purpose is and so on, others may say"Sod this!" and react against. I doubt that religion has much to do with it outside the small minority of religious people, possibly 10 to 20% maximum, all religions included. It's a convenient scapegoat though which avoids examining the whole issue in a calm, objective way.

The clear answer is pretty simple and I'm surprised you find it so easy to ignore. If you believe that gay people should be allowed the same rights as everyone else, then under law, churches who want to should be allowed to marry gay people. There's no more to it than that.

As for religion being used as a scapegoat, I'm saying that religious conviction is (daft but) all well and good as far as what you want to do within your church. But I'm calling on pseudo-religious sentimentality about church weddings, couple with a conservative view of the past as a time before all this equal rights stuff came along when things were pure and good (and most people were racist), as an explanation for the view sizable chunk of people opposing gay marriage. I'm quite happy to be shown to be wrong about what these people think. They could well have a secular, rational, non-sentimental view and be able to show that there will be negative social outcomes from allowing churches that want to marry a tiny handful of gay people. But it is not my job to formulate that argument, because I don't believe it, and frankly I can't!

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GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

> So you don't think a gay marriage can be a stable environment for raising children then? Why not?

Sorry, that is not what I said. I said I can understand why the church has codified marriage in the way it did.

Whether gay couples make suitable parents is a different argument and has nothing to do with whether they decide they want to go through a church wedding or not - Until we know how kids brought up in such an environment fair I think the jury is probably still out.
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to dissonance)
>
> [...]
>
> The church certainly formalised marriage, and at the point they codified it it maybe never occurred to them that old people might want to be married

Cobblers. But anyway, they are happy for them to now do so, so why not gays?
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD: You might also note the church is happy to have civil weddings which are well outside its (alleged) historic formalisation of marriage. In fact the only objection it seems to have is to gays marrying. It is difficult to see this as anything but prejudice.
GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think a lot of confusion in these arguments is down to the terminology. "Marriage" means different things to different people. Marriage in the legal and civil sense should be open to all. Marriage in the church sense I can reasons why this is restricted (and outdated of course !).
GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to GrahamD) You might also note the church is happy to have civil weddings which are well outside its (alleged) historic formalisation of marriage.

Surely a church doesn't marry people who don't at least profess to be religeous do they ?

> In fact the only objection it seems to have is to gays marrying. It is difficult to see this as anything but prejudice.

I'll agree that prejudice is what maintains a lot things but I'm not convinced that this is one of them - even if it does act as a soap box for the blatantly homophobic elements in the church
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> Surely a church doesn't marry people who don't at least profess to be religeous do they ?
>
>
No, but they are happy for others to do so. They are objecting to anyone marrying gays.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to MG)

> I'll agree that prejudice is what maintains a lot things but I'm not convinced that this is one of them - even if it does act as a soap box for the blatantly homophobic elements in the church

I'm not het up about what the church thinks, it's the behaviour of the state that bothers me. That said, whether or not you use terms like "prejudiced" or "homophobic", those in the church that oppose gay marriage have an immature attitude to homosexuality. A sensible attitude would be to acknowledge that members of your congregation are homosexual, and to want to provide them with whatever it is that you think your church is there to offer. It's surely better that these homosexuals are encouraged to form stable relationships, and to feel that they share all the great things about the church and its community, rather than being ignored and excluded (or worse, in the case of Catholicism). I can't see the benefits to anyone of excluding homosexuals from stuff, be it a marriage ceremony or whatever. It's immature, as it hasn't yet come to terms with the reality that no matter what you do, some people will be gay. You have choices about how you deal with that reality, some choices come with social costs, others with social benefits. A mature, rational person can analyse these and make a sensible choice. An anachronistic, crackpot institution, however, cannot.
GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

> No, but they are happy for others to do so.


I suspect that the more fundamentalists aren't actually happy about it, but realise they are onto a loser

> They are objecting to anyone marrying gays.

From their standpoint its at least partly logical given that they would like to impose their view on marriage on society as a whole. I don't agree with them and happily neither do those in government.
GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> ..those in the church that oppose gay marriage have an immature attitude to homosexuality.

I'd disagree with you on that. For sure a sizeable number do it because of outright prejudice but I'm sure others don't.

> A sensible attitude would be to acknowledge that members of your congregation are homosexual...

And of course plenty of churches do. That still doesn't automatically mean that homosexuals should be included in the marriage if you start with a particular view on what the purpose of marriage within your institution is. Remember that the church (catholic at least)sees itself as a global force for good (and it probably is a force for harm and good in equal measure). In most countries in which it has influence, stable familys which can support its offspring in the absence of a welfare state are very important.
Jimbo W on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Oh no! I'm being dragged into an argument about what being gay actually means! Just so you know, that's not how it works: gay men don't exist because they happened to try bumming and liked it. Or because they thought that being gay would be edgy and cool. So can we keep the "free choice" and "try it, you might like it" stuff at bay please, because it is nonsense.

Oh bollocks. This is no argument about what being gay means, but it was an argument about the exceedingly powerful unconscious and overt influence of the family / peers and how that pressure is indicative of a still prevalent anti homosexual taboo. I mean even the outwardly expressed desire for grandchildren can represent undue and unfair pressure. I am not at all saying that that would change what someone feels they fundamentally are. Although, I note that you think the causes of sexual orientation are very clear, something I do not know much about and nor would I have the brass neck to suggest.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> Oh bollocks. This is no argument about what being gay means, but it was an argument about the exceedingly powerful unconscious and overt influence of the family / peers and how that pressure is indicative of a still prevalent anti homosexual taboo. I mean even the outwardly expressed desire for grandchildren can represent undue and unfair pressure. I am not at all saying that that would change what someone feels they fundamentally are.

Ah good.

Although, I note that you think the causes of sexual orientation are very clear, something I do not know much about and nor would I have the brass neck to suggest.

I don't think the causes are clear, they are categorically unknown. I'm just very sure that it's not about choice, and I strongly suspect that whatever the cause (which could well have social/environmental elements), homosexual orientation is related to the physiological development of the brain, not wishy washy social conditioning.

deepsoup - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> Sorry, that is not what I said.

Oh, ok. Read that way to me, but I guess I had the wrong end of the stick. :)
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> In most countries in which it has influence, stable familys which can support its offspring in the absence of a welfare state are very important.

And it remains an immature attitude because accepting homosexuals into marriage would not change that.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: I think you'll find that sexual orientation is determined by god. Well, that's if you're straight, obviously gayness comes from the devil.
deepsoup - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
You know there ain't no Devil, there's just God when he's drunk.
GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> And it remains an immature attitude because accepting homosexuals into marriage would not change that.

Who knows ? it might in societies where the extended family (achieved through child birth obviously) is more important than it is here. Particularly in less liberal societies (most of them !)openly supporting gay marriage may undermine the strength marriage has in holding families together. In those countries the basic acceptance of any form of homosexuality at all is a far more important step.
El Pato on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> Surely a church doesn't marry people who don't at least profess to be religeous do they ?
>

Some do - my sister and brother-in-law were married in a small C of E church, yet both are (and were at the time) openly atheist. It seems to be up to the vicar to decide, at least in the C of E.
GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to El Pato:

I think its unusual (slightly off topic I know) - anyone else I know who has been brow beaten into a hypocritical church wedding have had to attend church services for a period before hand. Actually, thinking about it, loads of people I know who are ambivalent (to say the least) about church normally still went through the hoops for the trappings of a church wedding.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> Particularly in less liberal societies (most of them !)openly supporting gay marriage may undermine the strength marriage has in holding families together.

This is an argument I cannot follow. How does it do this? What are the stages? What are the outcomes?

> In those countries the basic acceptance of any form of homosexuality at all is a far more important step.

Well yes.


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