The Same Sex/Equal Marriage Bill. There is no rational argument against it, is there?

(46 Posts)
Hobbitation Tue 05-Feb-13 17:33:32

MPs are debating the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill with a vote at 7pm.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21325702

tiggytape Wed 06-Feb-13 13:39:40

Personally I still don't understand how people can argue that their faith prohibits this, based on a literal reading of some words in the Bible

But that's the point of faith and personal beliefs - they are what people believe and have a right to believe. They don't have to be justified with literal or loose bible interpretations. For some religious people same sex marriage is against their church's definition of marriage and they hold this as a fundamental belief even if others don't.

Hobbitation Wed 06-Feb-13 13:56:51

Beliefs shouldn't allow people a loophole to discriminate illegally.

And if people have distanced themselves from some parts of the  Bible (slavery, beating your wife) why can they not distance themselves from homophobia?

PostBellumBugsy Wed 06-Feb-13 14:03:24

I think the state in an ideal world should be secular. In a democratic secular society (which is pretty much what the UK is), the state should set out and uphold an egalitarian legal framework for its people.

So gay people shoudl have the same rights as heterosexual people, as white people, as black people as disabled people.

The state should not support any one faith but should make it possible for anyone to pursue their own faith. So there shouldn't be any faith based state schools.

I find it very confusing that Catholics can approve of same sex marriage, as it goes against the fundamental teachings of their own faith - but as a lapsed Catholic myself, most of the Catholics I know have a very elastic & cherry picking approach to their faith - which always bewilders me!!!!

tiggytape Wed 06-Feb-13 14:08:41

Hobbit - I agree with you. That is why the Bill that passed has a compromise in it so that the rights of gay people are upheld and the rights of religious people are not undermined. The law bans same sex marriage in certain churches so protects the rights of religious people but allows same sex marriage which obviously upholds the rights of gay people. I don't see how anyone could object to that.
The only religious objections could possibly be from people who worry that the compromise might be broken in the future by equality laws being used to try to overturn the ban on same sex marriage in certain churches but that is just a groundless / theoretical worry and the compromise is designed to appease both sides.

tiggytape Wed 06-Feb-13 14:18:01

Even if the state were secular though, you'd still have to make sure the rights of religious people were upheld and respected. You can't ban people from having religious convictions (well you can I suppose but that goes against the tolerant society you may be aiming for) and you cannot force all religious people to agree on this issue.

It isn't just sections of the Catholic Church that oppose same sex marriage, large sections of other religions need to be considered and respected too: The Muslim Council of Britain strongly oppose same sex marriage for example and wanted to be included in exemptions.

I think as long as the law respects the rights of both sides (obviously neither side can have it totally their own way) then that is the best solution.

MrsHoarder Wed 06-Feb-13 14:56:19

I am very happy for people of faith to feel that they are opposed to same sex marriage and not have one. That is absolutely fine with me.

Much like I am very happy for Methodists to be opposed to alcohol and not drink it. Perfectly acceptable (although not ideal when the village shop didn't stock any booze due to it being run by a Methodist).

They should not be able to dictate what people outside that faith do however, as long as it is not causing them harm then they should live and let live. I think that as long as no church is forced to officiate a same-sex marriage (remember they can discriminate against divorcees) then they have no arguement against it.

tribpot Wed 06-Feb-13 16:17:33

But that's the point of faith and personal beliefs - they are what people believe and have a right to believe. They don't have to be justified with literal or loose bible interpretations.

Broadly I can agree with you, tiggytape, but in this case the entire religious argument (at least as far as I have seen it) has been based on a couple of passages in the bible which prohibit the practice of homosexuality. It has not been an extensive argument put forward based on the teachings and example of Jesus, for example, or based on centuries of study into the true meaning of marriage, it's always just 'it says it in the Bible <insert quote here>'. As a reason for denying the rights of other people, it seems lacking. When debating such matters with religious people I'm prepared to work within a framework of personal belief, but I rarely come across an issue which seems to be adopted so dogmatically (pun intended) and without a supporting explanation. This is purely based on my own experience, of course.

Personally I think those opposing this bill should insert the words 'mixed race' in place of 'same sex' and see if they still think they will be able to justify themselves in twenty years' time when gay marriage is as normal as interracial marriage is today. However, social change rarely happens after all parties are convinced by the need for it - so we can only hope and wait.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 06-Feb-13 16:44:38

Tribot, alot of the objection from the Catholic Church - is not because they are specifically anti-gay - but because of what they believe marriage to be.

The Catholic Church doctrine is that marriage is the binding union of a man & woman primarily for the purpose of procreation (obviously if the man & woman are of child-bearing age). They believe it is a sacred sacrament.

So it has nothing to do with the practice of homosexuality from a Catholic perspective - but what marriage means.

However, in my view that is for the Churches to sort out themselves. No one is saying they have to conduct same sex marriages, all the law is doing is allowing same sex couples to be married in the eyes of the law.

This is why the state should be separate & independent from any church or faith.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 06-Feb-13 16:48:13

Hello

Just popping in very briefly to let you know that MN Blogger Chiller has written an interesting post on an aspect of this subject - on our front page today.

tribpot Wed 06-Feb-13 16:53:09

Actually my most anti friend is not Catholic, PostBellum, although I believe her objection is based on the same thing. But clearly this would prohibit many other marriages from being legitimate as well - if people marry beyond their child-bearing age? And that description of marriage is a religious one and reasonable within that context, but marriage is a civil concept too.

I quite agree that churches need to sort this out for themselves. Which is why I find it odd that the CofE and CoW are basically prevented from sorting it out for themselves.

I had far rather they made all same-sex marriage legal, but extended a church or other similar organisation's right to choose who they marry. So if your vicar thinks you only want to get married in church for the photos, he currently can't decline to marry you, but he should be able to.

HotheadPaisan Wed 06-Feb-13 17:02:26

Good blog post. I feel for people 'forced' to accept things they find difficult, lord knows I've experienced enough of that growing up lesbian in a heterosexual culture. Religious people are getting a taste of that medicine and it doesn't taste very nice at all.

It's tricky, marriage isn't that important to me (and I'm not religious) but other legal rights were and I've spent nearly all my life without them which is quite shocking when you think about it.

Also, inclusiveness doesn't mean people aren't allowed to associate with like-minded people, I also have problems with gay spaces 'having' to be open to all.

Eventually I see a time where there can be room for Christian B&Bs and goods and services, as there are for gay people, but that can only happen when the playing field is open to all by default.

But I do feel a bit of sympathy, well maybe not sympathy, but a recognition of how it feels to have an important part of your identity dismissed or ignored.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 06-Feb-13 17:08:03

Horatia, I though that vicars could decline on the basis that they didn't believe that the couple were sincere in their beliefs about a christian marriage?
I know friends who have been declined a CofE venue, because other than their baptism, they'd never been remotely interested in the CofE, so the vicar said no!

MrsHoarder Wed 06-Feb-13 17:51:23

Horatia the churches can currently choose who they will marry. For example you cannot get married in a C of E church as a divorcee (even if you are the heir to the throne), and religious requirements are entirely down to the church itself (as a national organisation).

Most churches get around this by having an attendance requirement and realising that if they aren't welcoming to young couples then there is no way they can halt their decline so putting up with people marrying for the photographs. Its very difficult for the church to set up a rule to test for genuine belief. They really aren't required to marry all comers at all.

Two people who don't love each other can get married in church (so long as they are a man and a woman).

Two atheists can get married in church (so long as they are a man and a woman).

If you meet the residence requirements (ie it is your parish church) and you haven't been married to anyone who is still alive, you can get married in the CofE church regardless of your commitment and beliefs. Which is rather unfair.

Disestablishment would have advantages for everyone.

MrsHoarder Wed 06-Feb-13 18:35:42

Except the bishops in the house of lords...

A divorced friend of mine is getting married in C of E church this year to a divorced man, both exes still alive, so there must be some sort of allowance for the vicar to use discretion, both are regular churchgoers in this case.

Bishops might still get made lords... grin

MrsHoarder Wed 06-Feb-13 20:38:26

Yes to the church having discretion, wronged partners can be granted dispensation to remarry. Doesn't stop the church having final say.

As for the bishops, they run the risk odd losing status with disestablishmentism. In fact aside from things like this the church is better of within the establishment (and yes that includes being a default wedding location even for non-belivers. People don't join a church that they've never been in. plus generous donations to use the church)

MrsBethel Thu 07-Feb-13 11:31:38

There is indeed no rational argument against it.

The religious argument is an explicitly irrational argument, relying as it does on faith.

Personally, I think the state should just completely ignore religion. Don't discriminate against it, don't discriminate in favour of it. Just treat it like any other social club people may have, who may well have their own ideas about things. We certainly shouldn't give them special privilege just because they have inherited some ideas and are discouraged from thinking for themselves.

emilywq Sat 09-Feb-13 13:06:23

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