Friday, 2 September 2011

Tory MP doesn't get suppy and demand equal marriage

Weatherley in middle of road at Brighton Pride 11
Mike Weatherley the Conservative MP for Hove is calling for a ban of Churches carrying out marriages if they refuse to allow same sex civil partnerships on their premises.Clearly he is not of the classic conservative free-market stance on this issue. We don't ban newsagents from selling newspapers if they don't sell books.

Also those of us who have supported equal marriage for any length of time don't want to force anybody to do anything as it will only antagonise the opponents to the cause. What we want to do is to enable those who are supportive and get them to start offering equal marriage.

Note that what we want is equal access to marriage, not what the Conservatives offer i.e. civil partnerships in Religious Buildings. If they were offering equality that would be offering civil marriage for divorced mixed-sex couples in Anglican Churches as an example and other civil weddings in the same buildings. No what they are trying to do is appease the LGB part of our community. They haven't even looked at the Transgender dichotomy of a couple still living each other through gender reassignment of one partner but having to divorce to annul any legal relationship before going through it all again once the reassignment is complete.

Weatherley's approach may be seen by some as standing up for LGB rights, but if it merely antagonises those opposed to same-sex marriage and pushes it further into the long grass that is not the way many of us who are LGB and of Faith want to go. We want to be welcomed in the churches, not merely an evil necessity. In fact religious leaders can turn away mixed-sex couple who wish to get married in their building if they don't met certain criteria. Some religions and congregations are more inclusive than others in this matter and for equality we want the same when it comes to equalising marriage.

I doubt Mr Weatherley will start campaigning for every religious building to marry whoever comes to them to get married or else they lose the right to carry out such a service. So why does he want to do it for same sex marriage? Because he mistakenly thinks it is equality. Because he mistakenly thinks it will get LGB people of faith what they want. Sadly he is wrong on both counts as I have pointed out.

What we want is those groups that currently, or once it becomes a possibility to offer marriage equally to couple irrespective of their gender make up MF, MM or MF. Many of us even want marriage or civil partnerships to be maintained for (M-F)F, (M-F)M, M(F-M), F(F-M) couples if they still love each other.

Don't make up battles that we don't need to be there. Don't make up 'equalities' that aren't equal at all or to all. Let's get this thing sorted out in a thought out and sensible way that gives everyone the options that they want. There is more than one way to peel an egg.

Read also Archbishop Cranmer on this issue.

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