Tuesday 20 March 2012

For England, see Wales

The theological objections to same-sex marriage voiced by some religious movements are far from being as black and white as their proponents claim.  After all, other denominations worship the same god and follow the same religious scriptures without raising the same objections. 
But I see no reason why the churches should not be entitled to their view on the issue, and be exempted on religious grounds from any compulsion to carry out marriage services in the case of same sex couples, which is basically what the government is proposing.  Indeed, as I understand it, they’re under no compulsion to carry out mixed-sex marriages, if the individuals concerned do not belong to, and follow the teachings of, the church concerned.  There seems to be no reason to treat same-sex couples any differently under the law.
But what some of the bishops and hierarchy seem to be saying goes rather beyond that.  They are not simply arguing that adherents of their own denominations should not be allowed to marry under their rites, they are arguing that parliament should not legislate to allow civil marriages either, and the basis of that argument appears to be that the religious objections of their churches should also apply to those of other religions or of no religion.
Insisting that rules laid down by their voluntary non-state organisations must also be followed by everyone else is a step too far, and the UK Government is, in my view, right to over-ride such objections and proceed with their proposals to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Perhaps it’s also time for England to follow Wales in breaking the link between church and state.


Boncath said...

For Midlothian see Llanpumsaint
Let England sort its own relationship out with the Church of England. its not our problem

John Dixon said...

"its not our problem" I'm not sure that's entirely true - as long as the English bishops have a role in law-making in London, their role affects us.