Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Liberal Democrats pledge equal marriage #sp11

I've just arrived home from my daughter's school play. They were fabulous, by the way. They've worked so hard on this for months. It had comedy & poignancy & excellent vocals. It was all about the home front in World War 2. Anna played a child being evacuated. There wasn't a dry eye when she said 'Mummy, I don't want to go.'

Well, I bet that's not what you expected to read when you clicked on that headline.

Anyway, my proud mummy moment is over. And that leads me to a proud Liberal Democrat moment. One line from the manifesto published today makes me very happy indeed.

No fuss. Just simply:

'The Freedom & Liberty Action Plan will:

extend legal marriage to gay couples and civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.'

As I wrote a few weeks ago, the Equalities & Human Rights Commission published a report which said that not far off two thirds of people would support the measure. I said that there was a bit of a dearth of policies which are cheap, easily implemented and popular at the moment & it would be daft to turn one down. I'm glad the party's come to the same conclusion.

You can read our whole manifesto in glorious technicolour right here.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

7 comments:

Nicky said...

I agree with civil partnerships but don't think the government should have the right to legislate on religious matters. Will that not make us an autocracy like Islamic countries, where government and religion are one and the same thing ?
'Marriage' is a religious practice and so gay couples would be starting out their 'married' life in a total denial of the truth of this matter.
Even if they allow churches to decide whether to opt in or out won't matter as the ECHR would just prosecute any church that refused to compromise and allow gay weddings.

Caron said...

Nicky, marriage is not a religious matter - we've had civil marriage in all parts of the UK for a long time. I think it is divisive to have one form of legal union for gay couples and another for straight couples.

I'd like to see religious organisations who choose to do so (and there are a number who would) being able to enact civil partnerships or same sex marriage ceremonies.

Nobody is proposing that reluctant religious organisations should be forced to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies. However, for me it's a fundamental principle of equality that the state opens up marriage and civil partnerships to all couples who might want them.

Far from being autocratic, it's better that the state is even handed. A liberal secular society is, I think, the ideal environment for all sorts of belief systems to live together in harmony. When the state chooses one over the other, problems start.

Nicky said...

" A liberal secular society is, I think, the ideal environment .."

Yes I agree Caron and that's what we have at the moment. The new law will make the UK a theocracy , like in Saudi Arabia. The state dictating to religious groups what they can and can't do. At the moment same sex couples can marry in town halls etc and get their marriage blessed in a church if they want. The new law will see same sex couples getting married in church against the wishes of many priests and clergy. Many ministers will be happy to allow church weddings but they will be in the minority. The majority of church leaders will see their powers to prevent a marriage in their church from going ahead. This is the difference between secularism and theocracy. In secularism the church and state are independent of each other and can't dictate to each other. In a theocracy , the state assumes control of religious matters and dictates the rules to the churches. This is despite leaders such as Nick Clegg being atheists.
Non believers in religion are going over the head of the clergy and saying how their church should be run.
Oh and with all 'voluntary' rules they are quickly made compulsory after a grandstanding court case in the ECHR.

Anonymous said...

Nicky, with respect that is nonsense, I am a church goer myself, and at the moment the state is already dictating to churches, in that it is not permitted for a church that wants to, to hold a religious marriage ceremony. Same sex couples are unable to have a marriage held in a church, even if they can find a church, congregation and minister willing.

Any sensible equal marriage proposal would allow churches to marry same sex couples, if they so chose, thus reducing the state interference into church life. It should also protect those churches who do not wish to hold same sex marriage ceremonies.

If my church does not marry same sex couples it should be because that is the doctrine of the church, not of the state.

Nicky said...

Anon,
The main churches in the UK don't want to have same sex marriages in their churches and have never asked for a law to be introduced to allow same sex marriages. Because they have never asked for such a law you're twisting it around to say the govt are banning same sex marriages in churches so are already dictating to churches. How does that work ?
Even if individual ministers wanted same sex marriages in churches they wouldn't get the authority from their own church and would have to leave the ministry.
The church and the state may have got together and agreed to make same sex marriages legal at some time in the future. New laws are introduced daily after consultation with all the relevant parties. Drug laws, knife crime laws etc are introduced after such discussions. I doubt if there's a law that says we can't poke a finger in our eye really hard. You could argue that the govt are banning us from poking a finger in our eye really hard because there's no law allowing it.
The new same sex marriage law ignores any consultation with interested parties and ignores our secular society and would dictate religious rules to the church despite Nick Clegg being an atheist.

Anonymous said...

Nicky, but some churches, and non christian religious groups, do want to be able to marry same sex couples. Whether, from a religipus point of voew, you agree with this is neither here nor there, if you don't agree with these churches, steer clear.

What is not acceptable is that the state says that these churches can not marry gay couples.

I think that the enormity of churches not being able to marry same sex couples is equal to the enormity that would result if churches were forced to marry same sex couples.

Both those states are equal, the proposals that I am aware of end the one state of affairs, without beginning the other.

Jam said...

nicky, i have to concur with anon. what you are saying is rubbish, and i don't mean that pejoratively. your example about eye-poking is not even slightly the same. in your example, you are confusing active endorsement with no law on the matter. as it stands, the state actively prohibits same-sex marriages and opposite-sex unions. new laws would not force religious institutions to conduct same-sex marriages more than the current laws force religious institutions to conduct civil unions.

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