Tag Archives: Same-sex marriage

Kevin Rudd on Same-Sex Marriage


from “Upworthy”

What do you do when you’re a politician live on television and a pastor who is against marriage equality asks you why you support marriage rights for all? You take note from Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, a devout Christian, and do exactly what he does in these amazing four minutes.

At 2:00, he sets a righteous trap, and by the end you’ll be giving him a standing ovation.


a  Jed Bartlet moment!  

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March 26, 2014 · 16:28


News 23.3.2014 14:22 | updated 23.3.2014 14:22
AL: Church to give up license to marry over same-sex unions?
The Tampere daily Aamulehti reports on Sunday that the Lutheran church may give up the right to perform official marriage ceremonies if a law on same-sex marriage passes parliament. Bishop of Porvoo Björn Vikström told the paper that he has considered how the church might reconcile itself with the possible new law.


Bishop Björn Vikström Image: YLE
The church should consider giving up the right to perform marriages if a law on gender-neutral marriage passes parliament, according to the bishop of Porvoo Björn Vikström. He made the comments in an interview with Aamulehti, saying that the move might ease conflicts within the church over who it should marry.

The church would then bless unions in church. Vikström believes that same-sex couples should also have the right to see their marriage blessed in church.

“I think it should be like that, but I know that this too is a difficult question for the church,” Vikström told Aamulehti. “Maybe it isn’t quite as difficult a question as marrying gay couples.”

Even if parliament did pass a law allowing gay marriages, churches would not be compelled to host gay marriage ceremonies. Vikström says that it is in any case important to consider different options. They would be: continue as normal, with no gay marriages in churches; continue to marry couples, including gay couples; and giving up the right to officially marry couples at all.

Sources Yle, Aamulehti

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Church of Scotland ‘may stop conducting marriages’ (BBC News)

Two hands with wedding rings on them

The Scottish government says no religious groups will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages

The Church of Scotland has questioned whether it could continue to offer marriages if same-sex legislation led to expensive court challenges.

MSPs were told there were “deep concerns” in the Kirk about the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.

The bill has been designed to protect the rights of religious groups not to carry out same-sex ceremonies.

But the Kirk fears this protection could be challenged in court.

Appearing before Holyrood’s Equal Opportunities Committee, which is scrutinising the bill, Rev Alan Hamilton said the legislation could be an “invitation” to take religious bodies to court.

Mr Hamilton, the convener of the Kirk’s legal questions committee, added: “We are voluntary bodies. We rely upon the donations of our members, and the thought of years of exhausting legal challenge, which is also incredibly expensive, is really very concerning.

It gives us considerable problems internally; we’re deeply concerned about the threat externally”

Rev Alan Hamilton Church of Scotland

“That is why the General Assembly of 2013 in May of this year instructed my committee, together with other councils and committees of the Church of Scotland, to consider whether in fact – and I’m saying this colloquially, this is not the terms of the deliverance of the General Assembly – whether it’s worth the Church of Scotland continuing to offer marriages in Scotland.

“It gives us considerable problems internally; we’re deeply concerned about the threat externally.”

Mr Hamilton raised concerns that individuals or groups could end up taking religious bodies to court if they decided not to offer same-sex services.

They may be “disappointed” that a denomination or celebrant is not prepared to conduct the ceremony, he suggested.

The Kirk later said it had “no plans” to stop conducting marriages.

But it confirmed it was examining whether all marriages should be civil, with couples having the option of a church blessing afterwards.

‘Optional extra’

A statement released by the Kirk said: “A decision made at the May 2013 General Assembly, which has the authority to make laws determining how the Church of Scotland operates, agreed to look over a period of two years at the case for the practice common on the continent of all marriages being civil but couples having the option of a church blessing afterwards.

“Supporters argue it could encourage couples to make a more conscious decision to go to church rather than treating church as just a particularly nice place to marry.

“Members of the Church also wanted to explore the case for church services being an optional extra after a civil ceremony, given the potential for ministers to be subject of legal action following the proposed legislation on same sex marriages.”

The official terms of the instruction to the Kirk’s legal questions committee were outlined in a “remits booklet” report by the General Assembly.

It called for the committee to “explore the possibility of ministers and deacons ceasing to act as civil registrars for the purpose of solemnizing marriages and report to the General Assembly of 2015”.

‘Destroying marriage’

The Church of Scotland called for freedom of religious belief and practice to be respected when the Scottish government published its proposals in June.

The government said at the time that religious bodies that wish to perform same-sex marriages would have to opt in.

It is giving freedom to discriminate, which we are not happy with. But for the sake of getting this bill passed, we will concede it”

Ross Wright Humanist Society Scotland

It also said protection would be in place for individual celebrants who considered such ceremonies to be contrary to their faith.

Mr Hamilton appeared before the Holyrood committee alongside representatives of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Free Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and lobby group Scotland for Marriage, which all have concerns about the bill.

But the proposals have cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament, and have been backed by several smaller religious groups.

Speaking after the session, Rev David Robertson, a Free Church minister in Dundee and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, said: “What the Scottish government is doing with this bill is effectively turning all marriages into civil partnerships, and therefore destroying marriage.

“We do not accept that any government has the right to redefine marriage any more than it has the right to redefine a circle as a square.

“We also believe that the Scottish government is rushing into this without a proper understanding of the consequences of this fundamental change in society.”

The committee also heard from organisations who expressed the view that the protections offered to religious bodies in the bill were adequate.

‘Guarantees there’

Rev David Coleman, from the Scottish United Reformed Church, said: “From one point of view they may even seem excessive but maybe it is sufficient to guarantee they are there, and no one is forced to engage in something that they are spiritually disinclined to do.

“We are in support of things because we believe the guarantees are there.”

Humanist celebrant Ross Wright, of Humanist Society Scotland, told the committee the provisions in the bill were “an accommodation we are prepared to make”.

“It is giving freedom to discriminate, which we are not happy with. But for the sake of getting this bill passed, we will concede it,” he added.

“People who are not registrars are given the right, not the duty, to conduct marriages. Because of that, it is a mystery to me why we even need the opt-in and opt-out clauses. But they are an additional part.”

Comments in the Herald
Saturday 14 September 2013

Your headline “Kirk plan to halt all weddings if gay marriage becomes law” (The Herald, September 13) seems to be justified by the ill-judged and misleading responses by the Rev Alan Hamilton, convener of the Kirk’s legal questions committee, to the Scottish parliamentary committee.

Your headline \”Kirk plan to halt all weddings if gay marriage becomes law\” (The Herald, September 13) seems to be justified by the ill-judged and misleading responses by the Rev Alan Hamilton, convener of the Kirk’s legal questions committee, to the Scottish parliamentary committee.

The fact is that any minister is a celebrant, not a registrar, and two people who wish to be married will approach one or more celebrants before they are ready to confirm their arrangements. They must apply to the registrar for a Marriage Schedule which states the date and place of the wedding. When they have made their public commitment to each other, the Marriage Schedule is duly signed and witnessed and returned to the registry office for the marriage to be registered.

But a couple cannot demand that one particular celebrant should conduct their marriage ceremony.  For a variety of reasons the celebrant may refuse to marry them or the couple may decide that they wish to choose another celebrant. Any celebrant has the legal right, but not the legal obligation, to perform the marriage ceremony for two people who are eligible.

There is a great deal of confusion in our society about the purpose and meaning of marriage, whether civil or religious.  Apart from the personal and/or spiritual significance of the wedding, marriage is an important legal contract between two people that confers rights, responsibilities and protections on the couple and also on any children they share. In that respect, civil partnership is identical to marriage. Our society suffers from the instability of many families and that instability is much more common among unmarried parents.

The Kirk has failed to promote the benefits of marriage. We should be glad that same-sex couples want to make the solemn commitment expressed by marriage vows. I strongly support committed relationships of mature adults, whether heterosexual or homosexual, that are confirmed and recognised through marriage and civil partnership.

Alastair Moodie,

4 Burnbrae Road, Auchinloch, Glasgow.

Those of the bus-pass generation have witnessed many profound changes in society and many have been bewildered at the pace of change and disturbed by the nature of some of these changes. There are occasions when what were considered the essential foundations are in danger of becoming unrecognisable.

Now  we have our national church declaring that it is giving consideration to the cessation of conducting marriage ceremonies if the gay marriage law is enacted in Scotland. Concern is expressed on behalf of the Church of Scotland that they could be faced with litigation, and the associated costs of same, should a minister decline to perform a marriage ceremony involving two people of the same sex.

They have received assurances that there is really nothing for them to worry about because the legislation will secure the right to refuse. The Church of Scotland remains concerned and, in the light of some of the decisions emanating from the Eoropean Court of Human Rights, who can criticise them for its hesitation in accepting the assurances? Let us recall the assurances given by some that the introduction of civil partnerships would adequately deal with the discrimination complained of.

Are we really going to finish up in a country where our national church will no longer be conducting marriage ceremonies?

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road,


Whilst the Church of Scotland’s  latest piece of scare-mongering may be dismissed  as just that, it does raise the thought that maybe we should move to a system similar to that used in France. All weddings are performed  in the local Mairie where  words are uttered,  documents are signed and the newly-weds sent on their way. A religious ceremony may follow, but that is entirely up to the couple and to the Almighty’s  representatives. Scotland could benefit from such a system. We would then be spared the irritation of listening to men in frocks trying to scare their faithful with spurious, inane threats.

David Allison,

24 Portman Avenue,


The tail of anti-gay activists entrenched in its central committees is in danger of wagging the Church of Scotland dog over the question of same-sex marriage.

A very large number of the parish clergy like me support the move and the laity reflects the views of the general public, which polls show to be three to one in favour.

Our wiley First Minister Alex Salmond would not have backed this controversial issue were he not convinced that it was the will of the vast majority in Scotland.

There is not the slightest chance of the Kirk ceasing to conduct the marriages of its people and the outrageous suggestion that it might do so is pure scaremongering.

And there will be “clear and robust” protection of the kind already in place in Europe, so the claim that this long overdue reform is a threat to religious liberty is absurd.

Rev Dr John Cameron,

10 Howard Place,

St Andrews.

You report that the Church of Scotland might cease altogether to conduct legally recognised marriages, in order to avoid being forced by a court to conduct same-sex marriages.

The Scottish same-sex marriage legislation includes clear and robust laws that a religious body can only conduct same-sex marriages if it first opts in by applying to do so to the General Registrar. Unless and until the Kirk chooses to do that, through its own decision-making systems, none of its ministers will be legally able to conduct same-sex marriages, even if they individually want to. Equality law is being amended at the same time to eliminate any possibility of legal challenge to any religious body that chooses not to conduct same-sex marriages.

Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to religious freedom, provides further protection. All public bodies in Scotland, including the Scottish Government, and the courts in interpreting Scottish legislation, are bound by the Convention. They cannot place any requirement on a religious body to conduct same-sex marriages against the doctrine of that body, because that would breach article 9.

Unsurprisingly, in 12 years of legal same-sex marriage in our European neighbour countries, who are also bound by the Convention, no religious body has ever been placed under any such obligation.

Religious freedom should apply to both to religious bodies that oppose same-sex marriage, and to religious bodies that support it. There are several religious bodies in Scotland waiting to start same-sex marriages, once the legislation passes. But the Kirk can rest assured that it will be free to choose, in its own way and in its own time – whether that be a decade or a century after the bill passes, or never – whether and when to introduce same-sex marriage.

Equality Network,

30 Bernard Street,


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September 14, 2013 · 11:09

towards Dagenham*

Yesterday the Scottish Parliament held its first evidence session on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill; the legislation that could introduce equal marriage in Scotland.

The inquiry into the Bill is being undertaken by the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee who will hear evidence from a wide range of stakeholders in the coming weeks, before making recommendations to the Scottish Parliament on whether to proceed with the Bill and, if so, in what form.

As well as hearing from those groups in favour of equal marriage the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee heard from those religious groups who are opposed. Just one day in, herePinkNews.co.uk presents the top 12 strangest arguments against equal marriage, from the evidence presented to the Committee:

1 – John Deighan, from the Catholic Church in Scotland, explains why there is no need to lift the ban on same-sex marriage: “We already have equal marriage. All people have the right to marriage.”

2 – Dr Salah Beltagui, from the Muslim Council of Scotland, explains how equal marriage will lead to brotherly love: ”What scares people are the things that will happen under the bill that are not expected. The bill gives a list of people whose relationships are too close for them to marry. For us, that list includes same-sex couples. It will be dangerous for society if we keep changing the list to exclude relationships that we currently recognise as making it not possible for people to marry. As people have said, that could lead to incest and other dangerous relations.”

3 – Mr Deighan explains how same-sex marriage is an issue for trading standards: ”We cannot have laws saying that people who sell bracelets can call them watches if they do not tell the time.”

4 – Mr Deighan explains why Catholic schools would not wish to participate in LGBT History Month: ”The whole aim of the month is to try to change people’s understanding of people who are homosexual and propose them as role models. We would not want to be doing that.”

5 – Mr Deighan compares LGBT History Month to racist propaganda and pornography: “If someone came in with literature for the BNP and a printer thought that the literature was racist and they did not want to print it, I think that they would be perfectly entitled to say no. Similarly, if someone came in with pornography and the printer felt that pornography was detrimental to the rights of women, they would be entitled not to print it. If they were asked to print publicity material for LGBT history month, but they thought that that twist on history was wrong and they did not want to participate in that deception, I think that they would be entitled to say that.”

6 – Dr Beltagui explains how legalising same-sex marriage will require the Scottish Government to amend every document in history: “It is the principle—changing the whole history of marriage—that is worrying us. The bill talks about changing the text of Scots law and so on to accommodate the change that the bill will make. Are we going to do that for all the documents in history that faith groups or nations have?”

7 – Mr Deighan compares same-sex marriage to incest: “A brother and a sister were demanding that they be allowed to marry. If we set up a principle that marriage is only about love, we need to ask what principle then says that such relationships are not permitted.”

8 – Dr Beltagui creates confusion when explaining how equal marriage could create confusion: “If we start changing the definition of marriage from what we know and what we know about who is coming from which line and who is not, there will be confusion and we will not know exactly where we stop and where we start”

9 – Mr Deighan explains marriage is not about badges: “We do not change the whole of society because people might feel upset that their relationship is not being given a particular badge by the state. It is not about badges”

10 – Dr Beltagui explains how equal marriage could lead to a threesome: “The bill makes marriage acceptable between two men or two women, but it uses the definition of adultery only between a man and a woman. That means that someone can have relations with someone of the same sex outside a same-sex marriage, including in a threesome, a foursome”

11 – Mr Deighan explains how changes in equality law have made it compulsory for a man to be a woman: “The trajectory of the past 10 years has been to try to replace equality with sameness in thinking that a man has to be a woman. That is where we have gone wrong.”

12 – Dr Beltagui explains equal marriage is exactly like abortion: “The case of marriage is exactly like abortion. It is an issue on which people will differ. We accept that abortion is a controversial issue, and marriage is at the same level, or perhaps an even higher level. Abortion involves one person with an unborn baby, but the issue of marriage involves the whole of society”


*. toward Dagenham = beyond Barking (on the London Tube). Barking mad

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Kevin Rudd

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September 5, 2013 · 07:58

Justin Welby and Homophobia

The Guardian home

Badge Andrew Brown Blog

Justin Welby gets real on homophobia

Welby knows that young people detest anti-gay prejudice, and is telling his church. It’s more than Rowan Williams did

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

Justin Welby thinks that it is a huge problem for the church in this country that it is defined by what it’s against. “Young people say ‘I don’t want to hear about a faith that is homophobic’,” he told a gathering of leaders from the Evangelical Alliance on Wednesday, many of whom have campaigned hard against gay marriage. So I asked him if he regretted that he’d voted against it.

“No,” he said. “I am happy that I voted against it. It seemed to me that the bill was rewriting the nature of marriage in a way that [conflicted] with the Christian tradition, with scripture, and with understanding.”

But once he’d said that he went on to say quite a lot more which showed that his thought has in fact moved on from the simplicities of the spring. First, he admitted that the church was “deeply and profoundly divided” over the issue. This is not at all what he said in the House of Lords at the time, when he claimed that all the major denominations opposed the bill. Yet there is very clear polling evidence from the Westminster Faith debates, to show that Christians, even evangelical Christians, are very conflicted about this, and the opinions of the lay members of the church much more resemble the opinions of unbelievers than they do their own leadership.

Second, he used the term “homophobia” in an honest way. There are still some evangelicals who claim it is a made-up term that refers to nothing in particular. Not so Welby. Gay marriage was, he said, an attempt to deal with issues of homophobia. “The church has not been good at dealing with it. We have implicitly and even explicitly supported [homophobia] and that demands repentance.”

This is, I think, something that he sees as a command from God, rather than an adjustment to the world. That in itself is an important shift, since the only way that conservative religious attitudes will change is if they stop looking to religious conservatives like surrender.

More to the point, he now understands just how dreadful conservative Christian attitudes seem to anyone under 35. “The vast majority of people under 35 think [the church’s resistance to gay marriage] is not just incomprehensible but plain wrong and wicked, and they assimilate it to racism and other horrors.”

He made clear later that this attitude was found among young evangelicals as well as ordinary people, and that it was reflected in his experience as well as in public opinion polls.

Of course, this isn’t really news. It is a recognition of reality much clearer and more forceful than Rowan Williams could have allowed himself, but the only possible audience for his remarks was sitting in front of him. No one outside the church cares in the slightest what its leaders say about sex. Very few people inside care either: according to the YouGov Westminster Faith Debate polls, only 2% of Anglicans take into account the views of religious leaders when making moral decisions.

Some of his evangelical audience will have heard only what he said about voting against the bill. Others will have understood what he also said about how catastrophic this attitude has become for the credibility of Christianity as a moral force in this country. But I think there is an irreversible shift of attitude under way here.

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The Archbishop of W****rbury! or Welby the w****er

Archbishop of Westminster attacks gay marriage plan


A furious row has erupted among members of the clergy after a Church of England priest branded the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, a “w****r” for resisting the government’s attempts to legalise gay marriage.

The attack, by the Revd Marcus Ranshaw, came after Archbishop Welby warned that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would effectively “abolish” the traditional institution of marriage, the “cornerstone” of society.

In an angry posting on Facebook last night, the Revd Ramshaw, a supporter of gay marriage, wrote: “what really upsets me is nasty people such as Justin Welby robbing me of my faith in the church, he does not speak in my name and i think he is a wanker, but im not going to stop being a christian or a priest.”

But he was swiftly taken to task by the Revd Arun Arora, the Director of Communications for the Church of England, who posted: “Calling another Christian a w****r doesn’t work for me as a priestly response,” and went on to add: “I think any right-minded person would find a priest calling his archbishop an onanist to be utterly outrageous.”

The row has since escalated, with Revd Ramshaw accusing Archbishop Welby of having “a nasty, ill-judged opinion on homosexual relations” which has divided the church into “bitterness and anger.”

Regarding his choice of language, he admitted: “i accept that that term was wrong and for that i am sorry, but i hope he knows how much hurt he is doing to faithful, loyal christians who love the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In response, the Revd Arora accused his fellow priest of being “ungracious and a liar who breaks his promises” for not readily apologising.

Speaking to The Independent the Revd Ramshaw, a former associate vicar at St Edward King and Martyr Church in Cambridge, said: “I inadvertently said the Archbishop of Canterbury was a w****r in one single line…it was not a public platform, it was a personal post which I deleted at the request of the director of communications for the Church of England. I am genuinely sorry that I got cross for one second and just put in that one word.”

The priest added: “Why should I be so taken to task about this?…I have made a complaint to Facebook and reported him for threatening behaviour. I intend to make a complaint to Church House…this is not a way to treat any Christian…it is bullying, it’s nasty and it’s horrible and I will construct a complaint on that basis.”

Lambeth Palace would not comment on the row, but in a statement to The Independent, Revd Arora said: “The issue of same Sex Marriage is an emotive one. There are a variety of views within the Church and much of that debate takes place online.

“I don’t think calling someone a ‘w****r’ is the best way of engaging. Whilst I am sure this will be water off a duck’s back for Archbishop Justin, I think it was right to challenge Marcus’ approach.”

article from the “Independent” newspaper

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Homer Simpson breaks new ground


Homer breaks new ground
By Caroline Overington New York correspondent New York February 22, 2005
Homer Simpson becomes an ordained minister in order to marry same-sex couples in <i>The Simpsons</i>.

Homer Simpson becomes an ordained minister in order to marry same-sex couples in The Simpsons. Photo: Matt Groening/FOX

Spongebob SquarePants may not be gay, but at least one cartoon character is. Patty Bouvier, Marge Simpson’s sister, came out of the closet in The Simpsons episode shown in the US on Sunday.

Patty said she was gay after the town of Springfield decided to legalise same-sex marriage to boost tourism. The town even had a theme song, sung to the tune of the Banana Boat Song, “Gay-o, it’s OK-o, Tie the knot and spend all your dough.”

Patty’s announcement shocked Marge, but not Homer. “Yeah, big surprise,” he said. “Hey, Marge, here’s another bomb: I like beer!”

Homer subsequently became an ordained minister so he could marry gay people.

Same-sex marriage is a hot issue in the US. President George Bush opposes it, but many local councils tried last year to legalise it. Hundreds of gays, including comedian Rosie O’Donnell, were married in California before the Supreme Court put a stop to it.

Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, There’s Something About Marrying, was heavily promoted and bookmakers had been taking odds on which character was gay.

Recently, conservative groups complained that gay cartoon characters were inappropriate role models for children. There was talk about SpongeBob SquarePants, whose best friend is a pink starfish, although his creator Stephen Hillenburg insisted that SpongeBob was just “an innocent kid”.

The executive producer of The Simpsons, Al Jean, said the show was not endorsing same-sex marriage. But Roberta Knight of Concerned Women for America said television was becoming obsessed with homosexuality. “In fact, I wouldn’t put it past people to dig up re-runs of Happy Days and have the Fonz come out as gay,” she said.

The Simpsons, now in its 16th season, is broadcast continuously on the Fox network in the US. Channel 10 has begun screening episodes from the 16th season.

– with New York Times

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June 6, 2013 · 11:19

New Zealand – Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – Third Reading – Part 20

Pokarekare Ana – a Love Song:

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May 5, 2013 · 18:03