I read this morning that faith group Solas had joined the Free Church in calling for a referendum on equal marriage rights to same sex couples. So I went further and decided to look at their response to the public consultation.
There was an interesting argument being put forward in section 3 Civil Partnerships for Same-Sex Couples:
“The main issue is whether same-sex couples should be allowed to have religious celebration
of their private contracts. In mainland Europe frequently, marriage (and by extension civil
partnerships) are constituted by registration by the State with religious celebration being an
optional and non-essential addition to the occasion. In the United Kingdom, under the 2004
Act, partnerships are constituted and recognised by the state by registration. The parties can
have any other ceremony or religious blessing in any location they wish following upon
registration. They suffer no discrimination or hardship under the current arrangements and
Solas believes there should be no further legislation.”
Well there is one ickle bit of discrimination there. I’ll give you and Solas a minute for the penny to drop.
Yup that is it, in Europe marriage is often a civil construct then should the couple chose to do so they go to the church for the ceremony that they wish to have. In some countries like Spain for example the Priest is not able to marry anyone (as such) merely to bless that which has been carried out by a government employee already.
You see what Solas are doing is pointing out the dichotomy that in the UK we allow our religious groups to take on the role of registrar. That is where the discrimination comes in because, and this may be news to Solas, there are LGB people of faith, and there are faith groups that want to marry them.
So yeah why should any religious group have a right to claim that we cannot allow same-sex marriage because they don’t want to recognise it, when other faith groups do not have a problem with it? Should we just leave the issue of what is marriage up to the state, whether by referendum or not, and also take the act away from the religious groups who can of course bless any marriage they deem they want to? That would include allowing the definition of marriage to not be as set in stone as Solas themselves want it to be by calling for the referendum.