Gay Marriage Gaining Ground in UK

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow says, “We want to be able to go into our local parish church, where we are practicing Christians, and under the eyes of the Lord get married.”

The British House of Commons is set to vote on a bill to introduce same-sex marriage legislation today. The bill, which is causing significant controversy within the Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron,would allow religious organizations to conduct same-sex marriages if they so choose, but it also protects those same religious organizations from being forced to do so if they prefer not to. The bill also allows same-sex couples who are already part of a civil partnership, which was legalized in 2004, to make that union a legally recognized marriage. It also provides for married transsexual people to “gain legal recognition in their acquired gender,” without having to end their already recognized heterosexual marriage.

According to CNN, Three of the country’s top party members, Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May, published a letter in the Telegraph urging Conservative Members of Parliament to support the controversial legislation. They said that passing the proposed bill is,

[T]he right thing to do at the right time … The institution of marriage has evolved over time, while attitudes towards gay people have changed … We believe that opening it [marriage] up to same-sex couples will strengthen, not weaken, the institution. As David Cameron has said, we should support gay marriage not in spite of being Conservatives, but because we are Conservatives.”

Prime Minister Cameron has made it clear that he is determined to push legislation through that legalizes same-sex marriage. He said he is choosing to do this, although it has put him at odds with a significant number of members within his own party, “not only as someone who believes in equality but as someone who believes passionately in marriage.”

This will be the first time members in the House of Commons will have the chance to debate the bill in detail, and although there is opposition it is very likely to pass with support of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the House. Lawmakers are not required to vote along party lines this time, but can instead vote based on their own “personal convictions.” However, even if the bill does pass in the House of Commons, it must still go through several more stages before becoming law, including gaining approval in the House of Lords.

The Church of England, which is strongly opposed to the bill, said in a letter to lawmakers Friday that it cannot support the legislation “because of its concern for the uncertain and unforeseen consequences for wider society and the common good when marriage is redefined in gender-neutral terms.” The letter also asserts that a civil partnership between same-sex couples already “confer[s] the same rights as marriage,” but that by allowing gay-marriage the legislation will be opening the door to “continued legal disputes for years to come.”

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About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She has 2 beautiful children, and is very happily un-married to her life partner DJ.

Comments

  1. “The Church of England, which is strongly opposed to the bill, said in a letter to lawmakers Friday that it cannot support the legislation “because of its concern for the uncertain and unforeseen consequences for wider society and the common good when marriage is redefined in gender-neutral terms.”

    Ha! They are an established church, a department of the state. Not only does their opposition count for nothing, but when the law passes it may very well comple them to perform the ceremonies, as organs of the government.

    I know church leaders are thinking of maintaining the unity of the Anglican Communion, but this move is going to kill that. All those loudmouth bishops in Nigeria and the rest of Africa? – their heads are going to explode. Good. The sooner those Pentacostals in Anglican drag get their fundamentalist asses out of the Church the better.

    • I’m really disappointed in the CofE. Apparently on the first day the new Archbishop of Canterbury came out against the bill. Guess they know which side their bread is buttered.

      And I entirely agree – broadly speaking the CofE is a fairly tolerable church, it just needs to shuck the dead weight.

  2. Joe Glackin says:

    I cannot see what business the Church has in civil matters regarding legal affairs . However all Churches have a responsibility to Society, in administering and protecting the Spiritual welfare of its congregations. Birth ,Marriage and death etc are of high importance to life and the Government’s duty is protection . The Churches responsibility is our Spiritual welfare. All of this is under threat by undermining the Churches teachings on Spiritual principles. The Government also has similar regarding its administration of law and order. Both Church and State cannot leave themselves in a position of vulnerability, by allowing their core values submit to minority/ majority self-aspirations. The government can operate on this by its Democratic process. The Church cant, even though many changes have taken place. They cannot do much regarding its principles on birth ,marriage and death. When this issue of Gay marriage, which goes against core Church values and civil legalities by its wording , creates unnecessary division .
    I see no problem in striving and obtaining a civil union to cover all this. Their commitment, legal rights as partners, etc would be well protected. But no ,challenge the Church etc and force them into civil concerns regarding Society and Spiritual issues.Would it not suit these people better to put their energies into protesting the executions in Iran or injustices elsewhere? It seems better to play victims of a so called injustice and blame the Church etc. I wonder how they would view the Catholic Church ,s ignorance regarding “love “ by Iran,s reception, to them holding hands ,blowing whistles etc.

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