Minister on defensive as gay marriage protests grow

 

The UK government's plan to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales has had a pretty short honeymoon.

Today, sixty MPs and peers have written to the Daily Telegraph to argue that ministers have no mandate to redefine the meaning of marriage. The parliamentarians argue that the government's consultation ignores the views of 500,000 British residents.

Whereas public opposition has thus far largely been confined to Conservative MPs, the letter includes among its signatories several Labour figures, including Lord Anderson of Swansea.

The backlash has put the Equalities Minister, Maria Miller, on the defensive, particularly over her intention to make gay marriage in the Church of England and the Church in Wales illegal.

Mrs Miller has used her own blog to tackle what she calls some of the "misconceptions and half-truths swirling around" the policy.

"I appreciate that this isn't the simplest of stuff to explain", she writes. "But, while the legal treatment of the Church of England (and the Church in Wales) might be slightly different, the principle remains very much the same.

"Religious organisations should have the freedom to decide, within their own decision-making structures, whether they want to marry same-sex couples or not. They all have the option to opt-in. And that is what our proposals guarantee."

If that doesn't answer all your questions, you can read her full blog here.

 
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  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    John Tyler.

    I agree that in a country where two thirds of the population declare some religious faith, they shouldnt be allowed to dictate to those who have no faith.

    Equally I believe that the 5% or so homosexuals in the country shouldnt be allowed to dictate to the other 95% about marriage

  • rate this
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    Comment number 14.

    We are talking about the customs and laws of the UK. Legal recognition of polygamy in the UK is extremely limited. For better or worse, British law encompasses Common Law, going back to Richard 1st , and for the great majority of that time followed Judaeo-Christian traditions. Anyone trying to slaughter a goat in the street outside their house and quoting the Koran would get little leeway.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    Why are so many religious opponents to granting equal rights appear paranoid about being sued under equal rights legislation? Some religious bodies currently exclude women from certain roles, but I am not aware of any successful legal challenge to this legal discrimination.

    Marriage has NOT always been defined to be between one man and one woman - Islam still allows men up to four wives.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    ... well Boxer, I hadn't considered myself to be a Bobby Moore.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    Hmmm 60 MP's and Members of the Lords signed a letter against equal marriage - that's 60 out of more than a 1000 people, or slightly over 5%. Sounds suspiciously like a small minority to me.
    The thing that I haven't seen mention of is what about equal rights to civil partnership. the clue is surely in the title "EQUAL rights"...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 10.

    #8 Blimey John, a yellow card. I thought that you were the Bobby Moore of this team.
    #9 Heliocentricity: I put it in because I was running short of characters. I thought of phlogiston, but that would have annoyed the usual opposition, and intelligent design would have raised up new opponents.
    FTR, I meant the erroneous belief that our star was unique and the centre of the universe.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Boxer, are you burying heliocentricity? Does that mean you think the sun goes around the earth.? Well, it's not your most eccentric view...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    ... and whilst Parliament contemplates the wishes of the irrational, here in Wales socialism takes an undemocratic turn with Carwyn and Co making preparations for the nationalisation of an uneconomic Cardiff airport.

    Will Parliament or Assembly be awarded title of "Folly of the New Year" ...

    ... or will Wales begin the economic race to the bottom with failed eco-models more akin to Albania

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    "Put simply, should the Church of England decide to carry out same-sex marriage in the future, it can itself amend legislation to effect this with the approval of Parliament."

    Yes, Maria, but that doesn't apply to the Church in Wales.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    ... is it fair that In Wales, where almost a third of people reported no religion, we are forced to accept religious doctrine that began with "The Fourth Lateran Council" (1215) which forbade clandestine marriage, and required marriages to be publicly announced in churches by priests.

    A secular marriage, a version of the ancient "Handfasting ", is all that's needed in the 21st century !

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    #2 - Boxer, the CinW was linked to the CofE because the Bishops of the CinW asked to have the same treatment as the CofE as laid out in the introduction of this document: http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/press/display_press_release.php?prid=5397

    Short sighted, but it's what we asked for.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 4.

    If the possibility of having offspring is vital, then let the State and the Church be consistent and ban all women over the age of 55yrs , post hysterectomy etc.
    If not, then marraige exists for mutual comfort and support, and the simplistic view of the ignorant that there are two well-defined genders can be buried with heliocentricity.
    Two adult committed humans - sorted. That is marriage.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 3.

    By all means let us have a ceremony backed by legal protocol in which declared partners of whatever sex may enjoy security in law afforded to married couples, but please do not confuse this with the traditional concept of marriage identified by the two nouns husband and wife.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    If the purpose of the legislation re the CinW is to allow the option to 'opt-in' as MM states, then why do we need the legislation? That is the position left to all the other Churches, so why single out the CinW?

    Either MM is disingenuous, or CinW was linked to the CoE because no one realised that CinW has been disestablished for the last century.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1.

    ... this saga has to be the equal of "through the looking glass" !

 

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