Church of England upset by possibility of equal marriage

Once again it seems that the Church is getting its collective knickers in a twist over ‘gay marriage’ or equal marriage as I prefer to think of it.

The Coalition for Marriage has a consultation out at the moment, which is heavily biased towards unequal marriage, but which does provide a way of feeding back to government a more equal view. Here’s what I said

Marriage is a contract between two people, providing legal acknowledgement of their partnership. It is also a social declaration of partnership and a celebration of love. This contract, declaration and celebration should be available to any couple, regardless of their sexuality.

Marriage is a legally secular activity and it is inappropriate for religious groups with a homophobic agenda to interfere with updates in the law that would bring equality to marriage legislation.

To be honest I hope that this legislation is ‘one of the most serious threats to Church in 500 years’, since any institution that is unwilling to support equality doesn’t deserve to be supported itself. The CofE needs to grow up and realise that we no longer live in a world governed by superstition and indoctrination. If they want to be a useful part of the modern world they need to realise that change is inevitable and when the change leads to greater equality it is change for the better.

Normally they’re a bit more progressive than their Catholic congeners, so let’s see if they have a change of heart on the issue.

Cardinal complains that ‘gays have too much fun for marriage’

Following new government plans for gay marriage, Catholic commentators have crawled out of the woodwork to bitch and moan to anyone who’ll listen, despite the fact that marriage has been around for far longer than the Catholic Church and it has only taken on a strongly religious context after the Church spotted the money-making opportunities in the 12th Century.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien called the plans a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” and went on to say that “It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father“. (N.B. O’Brien’s claims about gay marriage breaching human rights stem from a misinterpretation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

O’Brien’s comments were described as “a bit rich” by Paolo Viscardi, who went on to say “The need for both a father and mother is a biological one that ends with conception. Further, a human right is only meaningful when enforceable, yet the loss of a parent or parents is impossible to prevent in many instances, thereby making the ‘right’ for a child to have both a mother and father meaningless”.

Viscardi went on to say “There is no reason to suppose that a loving same-sex couple would fail in their care of children – indeed I believe they would do a far better job than, for example, a Catholic orphanage. O’Brien should check John 8:7. Members of the Catholic clergy have committed a host of human rights abuses against children and such abuse has been endemic in parts of the Catholic Church. O’Brien may have apologised for such abuses in the past, but to claim that the loving union of a same-sex couple is an abuse of human rights twists the meaning of that section of the Declaration of Human Rights and it throws the self-deluded sense of sexual morality held by the Catholic clergy into stark relief.”

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Cardinal Jack Hackett

*Notably, more priests have stepped up to condemn gay marriage than have gone on record condemning child abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. The Irish Cardinal Jack Hackett, suggested that this was because many priests believe that “Sex is a sin unless it is intended to bring forth new life in the agonies of the woman as God intended. By abusing children the Catholic clergy are teaching them that sex is a dirty business that causes great suffering.”

Cardinal Jack Hackett finished by saying “Gays have too much fun to get married. Marriage is not about having fun, it’s about having babies and being miserable for the glory of God“.

*N.B. This last section may not be entirely true, but it paraphrases the jist of several arguments I’ve heard in the past.

If you disagree with the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage, and if you live in the UK, perhaps you would like to sign the Coalition For Equal Marriage’s petition to show your support.