Under the circumstances it feels a little odd to be writing about marriage in general at all, but I am a big fan of marriage, and so want to see the institution flourish. It looks like the Government will soon be publishing a bill extending the opportunity to be married to same sex couples. At first I believed all the hype from some Christian activist websites and e-mail news that this was a re-definition of marriage, that Churches would be forced into having to hold ceremonies against their firmly held believes, that in short this was the end of society as we know it.
|The case against|
This is not a crazy as it sounds after all marriage is the bedrock of our society, it is the standard context for a family, and although it has been through a time where marriages are breaking up more and more, there does seem to be no popular taste for abandoning it as our standard for living. I was interested to hear David Cameron saying that they will now after all allow same sex marriages in places of worship, as a response to the consultation several Churches and synagogues want to be able to solemnise these marriages, just as I now feel that people who happen to be born homosexual should not be denied the joy, the dignity, and the security of true marriage, then neither should those of faith be denied the opportunity to have this solemnised in Church, or indeed neither should the Church be denied the opportunity to serve it's members in this way. It seems that for once I am actually agreeing with David Cameron and the Government (if not the Conservative party), I find this somewhat uncomfortable but when I find I am wrong I am prepared to change my mind!
|The case for|
I do think it is important that there is protection for those religious groups who are opposed to this, whatever their faith, and there may well be areas of law such as equality and human rights legislation that have to be looked at to accommodate them, without such an accommodation I cannot see such a bill getting through Parliament, and I now feel that it is more important that as a society we should allow all who wish to be married to be married. This is not a re-definition of marriage, more a widening of the franchise.
The Church of England has a pretty poor track record recently of following the will of it's members, this may be an opportunity for the (all male still) Bishops to take a lead, make sure that the rights of individual Churches are protected, while not impinging on the rights of individual people.
Sorry, no jokes today, Meg beat me to it again!