Same-Sex Marriage To Be Banned In The Church Of England And Church In Wales, UK Government Announces
The Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages, the government has announced.
Other religious organisations will be able to "opt in" to offering ceremonies, Culture Secretary Maria Miller told MPs.
David Cameron has said he wants churches in England and Wales to be part of the plans.
But Mrs Miller said they had strong opposition and would not be included.
Labour, which is backing the government's plans, applying to England and Wales, urged ministers not to be "too reserved" in promoting the changes.
The Church of England and Roman Catholics, among other denominations, have voiced opposition to same-sex marriage.
But some religious groups, including Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Judaism, are in favour.
In her statement, Mrs Miller promised a "quadruple lock" to protect religious freedom, involving:
*No religious organisation or individual minister being compelled to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises
*Making it unlawful for religious organisations or their ministers to marry same-sex couples unless their organisation's governing body has expressly opted in to provisions for doing so
*Amending the 2010 Equality Act to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple
*The legislation explicitly stating that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples and that Canon Law, which bans same-sex weddings, will continue to apply
Mrs Miller said the Church of England and Church in Wales had "explicitly stated" their opposition to offering same-sex ceremonies, so the government would "explicitly state that it will be illegal for the Churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples".
She also said: "I am absolutely clear that no religious organisation will ever be forced to conduct marriages for same-sex couples, and I would not bring in a bill which would allow that.
"European law already puts religious freedoms beyond doubt, and we will go even further by bringing in an additional 'quadruple legal lock'. But it is also a key aspect of religious freedom that those bodies who want to opt in should be able to do so."
Plans to legalise same-sex marriage have divided the Conservative Party and more than 100 Tory MPs are thought to be against the idea.
One of these opponents, Peter Bone, asked the Commons: "How dare the secretary of state try to redefine marriage?"
But a number of senior Tories including Education Secretary Michael Gove, London Mayor Boris Johnson and former Prime Minister John Major have backed same-sex marriage by religious bodies.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights organisation Stonewall, said: "We're delighted about the government's statement today and welcome the promise to legislate for equal marriage as warmly as on the three previous occasions that this announcement has been made.
"We're particularly pleased that ministers have been persuaded to extend their original proposal in order to permit same-sex marriages for those religious denominations that wish to hold them. This is an important matter of religious freedom."
Why do you think this is news, OP? Certainly nobody in the U.S. is trying to force Catholic and Baptist churches to perform gay marriages, and moreover, doing so would almost certainly be illegal on separation of church and state grounds.
Btw this is one of the areas where Britain remains *far* behind America. The UK should have wholly segregated its government from the Church of England at the same time it transitioned away from a full monarchy.
Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Spain has no problem with gay marriage....
r1, it's one of the top news stories all over the western world today.
The US is not the UK. The UK has a state religion. It's interesting to see how they're going to get around the country's religion if they approve gay marriage. The issue of religion is now at the forefront of all of this now. There is no official separation of church and state.
Ironically, the US has it easy if it approves gay marriage with respect to religion. There's no state church, no establishment. With that bonus, the US is still not completely onboard with the concept.
Cameron is getting raked over the coals by his party thanks to endorsing SSM. I wouldn't be surprised if they end his political career if he keeps it up.
[quote]Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Spain has no problem with gay marriage....
...though gays don't get married in Catholic *church* there. Also, the UK has had legal civil unions for eight years, and all three of its primary parties have stated their desire to make same-sex marriage legal.
[quote]R1, it's one of the top news stories all over the western world today.
Oh? It hasn't even warranted a *mention* on the Web site of the leading newspaper in the Western world, The New York Times.
R4 = deluded Anglophile who still can't understand why Robbie Williams never became a household name in America...
Episcopal Church in the USA supports gay marriage. Wonder what's wrong with those idiots across the pond?
Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson was just on Jon Stewart yesterday talking about gay families and church acceptance, r8.
It's a little sad that instead of looking at another positive step towards equality the OP has looked immediately at the negative. There are plenty of religious organisations who are prepared to offer a religious ceremony. I look on with interest to see what the Church of Ireland will do considering one of their own clergy is in a civil partnership which caused controversy late last year and early this year.
Pull their tax status!
This may be the only way to keep the revolt against gay marriage from killing its chances. The anti-gay side has been saying the gays are sneaky and will try to force the government to make churches bless same-sex marriages despite no evidence of this claim. The revolt is so strong and noisy that they need to go to this extreme to counter the argument. It is necessary.
How does this relate to England's EU status? I know England and the EU have been in conflict over Gay rights in the past.
Germany is the head of the EU and their Leader, Angela Merkel just vetoed a motion on Dec 3, 2012, to give gay Germans fair tax status, never mind any other equalities.
How is the head of the EU, Angela Merkel, going to react to the UK giving gays full equality when she doesn't even allow them basic tax equality? - Germany is likely to start carpet bombing London again!
I'm glad England didn't join the EU. England is too good to get dragged down into that bigoted and financially bankrupt union.
Never retreat. Never surrender. Death to religious bigots!
I'm more than ready for the day across-the-board legal marriage rights are granted for gay couples in this country, but I couldn't give less than a shit what any church thinks or does about it. Frankly, any gay couple who hopes for organized religion to bless their union strikes me as hopelessly naive.
[quote]the head of the EU, Angela Merkel
The head of the EU, meaning person who actually runs it today, Angela Merkel, not the token figure head, José Manuel Barroso, who is appointed pasty.
You think the Greece beat down, is coming from José? I guess that is why the Greeks and waving Portuguese flags with bars thru them in protest to the austerity.
Try and keep up, not many teengirls like minds on this thread, so...
Shame. Welsh men in general are huge like horses and love fucking.
Whether same-sex marriages are held in a religious institution or not is irrelevant. The UK will get full same-sex marriage recognised throughout the entire country and by central government before the US and I doubt the US federal government or even individual states will pass legislation saying churches are legally bound to hold same-sex marriages. There's separation of church and state, after all - the state can't dictate to churches what to do.
R14/r18 is the moron who jumps in whenever Germany is mentioned and talks shit. It doesn't even understand what the EU is or know that "England" is already in the EU. And trying to explan Germany's tax laws to this moron would be a complete waste of time.
This simply destroys one of the main arguments of the anti-gay marriage brigade - 'ooh, churches will be forced to hold gay weddings' and makes it all easier. And it puts the onus on these churches and on their members to argue their own positions.
[quote]The UK will get full same-sex marriage recognised throughout the entire country and by central government before the US
Not at this rate. Parliament has been hemming and hawing over gay marriage for several years now. In the US it will almost certainly be decided next June when the Supreme Court releases its opinions on the two gay marriage-related cases it's accepted for the upcoming term.
[quote]I doubt the US federal government or even individual states will pass legislation saying churches are legally bound to hold same-sex marriages.
You are correct, but that's because it would be 100% unconstitutional for the government to do so. I know it might be difficult to understand if you live in the UK and are used to centuries of the Church of England playing a central role in government, but the US government having ANY say over what goes on in churches -- and vice-versa -- is antithetical to one of the main reasons the US broke away from Britain to begin with! The Catholic church would've been forced decades ago to allow women into the clergy, for instance, since employment discrimination based on gender or race is explicitly prohibited under US constitutional auspices (and it's likely sexual orientation will be added to the protected classes in the reasonably near future).
R14 is retarded. Germany is not "the head of the EU". "England" has not existed as a separate nation in centuries. It's successor state, the UK, has been a full-fledged member of the EU since its beginnings.
R23, I assume R14 meant that the UK is not a member of the EU *monetary* union. I still remember the fuss back when Britain declined to join the euro standard (I was living in London at the time); in hindsight the move seems positively brilliant.
R22 the legislation is to be brought in early next year so not as long as you think.
Who wants to get married in the lame ass "church of England" anyways? Don't you have to pray to the royals?
R25, IIRC the legislation under discussion was specifically designed to compel/force the Church of England to perform same-sex marriages, a proposition that will now presumably be reversed per the Culture Secretary's mandate.
Senior Tories have formed a group to see through the 'Freedom to Marry', their slogan. It's a civilised change from the right's 'Next they'll want to marry their dogs' trash.
The latter have lost though, and they know it, hence the desperation. When Nicholas Soames, Churchill's grandson no less, speaks up for gay marriage, you know it's in the bag.
R22, I know it might be difficult to understand if you live in the US and are used to the centuries of distortion and misrepresentation, but the Church of England does not play a central role of any kind in the government of the UK, neither does the government tell churches and religious organisations what to do. And we don't have politicians saying things like "God is in the mix" either.
Interesting to know that the US doesn't actually need some form of legislation for federally recognised same-sex marriage, just a Supreme Court decision and, hey, the next day you can get legally married in all 50 states, recognised by the federal government, so your foreign spouse can come and live with you.
Why was the UK staying out of the eurozone "positively brilliant", r24? The economic indicators for most eurozone member states are much better than those of the UK and the UK economic outlook is not at all good. More to the point, r14 doesn't actually have a fucking clue what it was talking about.
R29, I would characterize the Church of England having the ability to singlehandedly eliminate the prospect of same-sex marriage in their places of worship, as if by fiat, equates to them most *definitely* having a central role in the government. No external party, secular or otherwise, holds that kind of power in the American governmental system. Yes, I understand that the church used to play a much MORE central role in Britain's affairs of state, but that doesn't mean its current role isn't still outsized given the declining role of religion throughout Western-world societies today. Also, the ability of the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule federal and state code has been a central element of American law for over two centuries. It doesn't "literally" result in overnight change, however; we didn't have abortion doctors waiting to open up shop in the 30 states where it was still illegal when the Supreme Court declared that women have the right to do whatever they want with their own bodies, but it meant that any "back-alley doctor" arrested for providing abortions would have to be freed as quickly as reasonably possible.
Staying out of the euro zone was "brilliant" because it ensures that the UK won't be tied down by albatrosses like Greece and Portugal, ones that will continue to be a drain on the stronger euro-zone countries like Germany for many years, if not decades, to come. The fact that your current Conservative-led coalition decided to embark on a disastrous "austerity" campaign in the short term won't continue to pin you down in the longer term.
R30, all the CoE has got is treatment like all the other churches; it loses its special place and just becomes a sect. There was never going to be compulsion for all British religious institutions to have to celebrate gay weddings so the new position is absolutely rational.
It's off-point but the UK being tied to Greece is like California being tied to Alabama or Mississippi. All big countries or regions have backward, corrupt sections or states like this.
The government is reported to be attempting to compromise with the 150 Tory MPs set to oppose the same-sex marriage bill, by considering amendments giving protection to “conscientious objectors”.
MPs are to resume debate on the same-sex marriage bill tomorrow, and if approved on Tuesday it will pass to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.
The Times reports that, of those MPs, around 150 Conservatives are planning to defy David Cameron by opposing the bill or backing amendments to it, among them Cabinet Ministers.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond already voiced his opposition to the bill in a Question Time appearance last week, in which he said the bill had “upset vast numbers of people”.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling, and Cabinet Office Minister John Hayes are also expected to back amendments to the bill allowing teachers, registrars and faith schools leeway not to uphold the bill if they conscientiously object to it.
Compromises taking place behind the scenes in Parliament may result in amendments allowing teachers not to include same-sex relationships in their lessons, and permitting registrars not to marry same-sex couples, in order to keep as many Tory MPs on board as possible.
A source told the Sunday Times the government is “in listening mode” when it comes to marriage equality objections, and that they were trying ”to plug some of the gaps before it goes to the Lords.”
Amendments were tabled by Conservative MP David Burrowes, who last week called for a referendum on same-sex marriage, adding that he hoped it would result in the defeat of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
There have also been calls for the bill to allow opposite-sex couples to be able to have civil partnerships. The move is opposed by the government, but last week Culture Secretary Maria Miller allowed that a review on civil partnerships would take place exactly five years from the point when the same-sex marriage bill comes into law for England and Wales.
The debate has caused embarrassment for David Cameron and was labelled an attempt to “derail” the same-sex marriage bill by Tory MP Mike Freer, while LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell said a review of civil partnerships for straight couples was unnecessary, as the idea already has public support.
In a letter to David Cameron this weekend, 30 past and present local Conservative chairs from the party’s Grassroots organisation warned that his push for same-sex marriage had made winning the general election “virtually impossible”.
It will be funny when Charles becomes the "Defender of the Faith" of the Church of England which will also make him its Defender of Marriage.
[quote] Who wants to get married in the lame ass "church of England" anyways? Don't you have to pray to the royals?
Yes. Elizabeth is the head goddess. Diana is one of the martyred saints. Charles and William are part human and part god. When they become King, they will be head god.
Fergie is a demon. Edward is a fairy/sprite.
This is a democracy. They have every right to decide not to perform gay marriages. If we want tolerance we will need to be tolerant ourselves.
Yes, R36, but it's still funny that Prince Charles who threw away his God-sanctioned marriage, leaving his wife to die in the company of another man, in order to be with his mistress, who is a divorcee, is going to be the Defender of a Faith that considers same-sex marriage immoral.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Windsor!
Old news, from last year.
W&W for R37
r36 Exactly. All the UK needs to do is oen legal marriage u to gay couples. There's no need to force churches to perform.
R8 -- the Church of England is still debating the issue of female bishops, while the head of the entire USA Episcopal church is a woman.
Thank you r36
I can't speak for all gay people, but I'm willing to guess that almost no gays would want to be married in a shitty church that doesn't want them anyway. So let these dumb churches have their bans. Gays just want to be able to get married, regardless of where the ceremony is held.