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It isn’t just that Cameron is wrong when he claims we won’t be forced to conduct ‘gay marriages’ in church: that’s just what he’s telling his constituents

The ECHR has made the law quite clear: unless we repudiate the court, that’s what will happen

By on Monday, 18 June 2012

David Cameron is apparently telling constituents that the same-sex marriage law will affect religious marriage too (PA photo)

David Cameron is apparently telling constituents that the same-sex marriage law will affect religious marriage too (PA photo)

How far can we trust the government of David Cameron when it claims that its proposed legislation purporting to establish “gay marriage” will not apply to marriages in church — as though that was our main concern? It isn’t, of course: marriage is marriage: what we are objecting to among much else is the sheer impertinence of a local legislature, at one particular point in history, claiming to have the authority to change what through the ages has been universally accepted: that marriage (civil or religious) is between one man and one woman. What Cameron now intends to do is to make a distinction between religious and civil marriage of a kind that nobody has previously accepted: marriage is marriage. A civil marriage is accepted by the Church as being as valid as a religious one. Now that will change.

Cameron has so far claimed that his legislation will establish clearly that gay marriage in church will not be permitted: the fact that that is supposed to mollify us is one demonstration among many that he is blundering around in an area of the national life he really doesn’t begin to understand. But at least we have been able to suppose that he actually does believe what he says, that at least he isn’t just being a hypocrite. But even that may not, it seems, be the case. According to the traditionalist Anglican blogger Cranmer

it is highly likely that ministers of the established Church of England will eventually be obliged by statute to officiate at homosexual unions, and where they demur, the local bishop will be obliged to provide a replacement. His Grace has heard from more than one source that the Prime Minister is telling his constituents in Witney that “religious marriage” will inevitably be affected by his proposed legislation. It is interesting, is it not, that by enforcing gender blindness at the altar with the objective of making minorities equal, the Prime Minister is content to cause division in the Church and strife for the majority. It is appalling politics.

Cranmer is basing his view that the Established church only will be forced to conduct such marriages on the precedent of the established Lutheran church in Denmark, the Danish parliament having voted to compel the Evangelical Lutheran Church, to which about 80 per cent of Danes profess to belong (rather as many English people claim to belong to the C of E). “Other churches,” adds Cranmer, “may also offer same-sex marriage services, but only in accordance with their own rules: none is being forced to conduct anything which is contrary to their historical traditions and theological orthodoxy.”

But it’s not the Danes the Prime Minister is thinking of when he tells Witney constituents that his legislation is bound to affect “religious marriage”: it’s our old friend the European Court of Human Rights. I have written about this before, but I see I didn’t actually refer to the most suggestive precedent, the March 2012 ruling from the ECHR, in a suit by a French lesbian couple, Valérie Gas and Nathalie Dubois, that although there is no human rights obligation for any country to legislate for gay marriage, once a state has passed a gay marriage law it must be applied to all citizens equally including those seeking religious marriage.

In the words of the judges in Strasbourg, “The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage.” However, “where national legislation recognises registered partnerships between same sex, member states should aim to ensure that their legal status and their rights and obligations are equivalent to those of heterosexual couples in a similar situation.” According to Neil Addison, a specialist in discrimination law, that means that “Once same-sex marriage has been legalised then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage… if same-sex marriage is legalised in the UK it will be illegal for the Government to prevent such marriages happening in religious premises.”

And that doesn’t just mean that the C of E, being the state church, will have to do it: they’re going to attempt to coerce us too. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We won’t do it, of course, and we will have to take the consequences. But that gives us the opportunity to get ourselves into condition for all the other great battles ahead. What with one thing and another, what the Pope has called the tyranny of relativism — one might call it the enforced toleration of the intolerable — can only encourage us to see more clearly what we often attempt to avoid: that in the oft-repeated words of the late Holy Father, John Paul II, we are called on to be signs of contradiction: for, once we start settling down comfortably in a culture which is so manifestly built on everything we reject, our message is lost, and so are we.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Indeed. Fortunately, we have the infallible teaching authority of the Church as interpreter of the Natural and Divine Law…

  • Cjkeeffe

    In what way is teh commandment Do not steal or Do not murder a “particularly useless pointer to how to construct the rules of our society”?
    And do you really read every article or bit of text in a newspaper in the same sense?

  • JByrne24

    I think Andrew may mean that the way we view and understand the world (in all its aspects and with all the various objects – including human beings – that exist in it) today, is very different from the vision and understanding of a far away yesterday.    

    Although many in the Church well-understand this, the “steering committee” presently at the wheel do not seem to. 
    If the refusal (from several different causes) to face, admittedly, very difficult facts continues, the Church will be greatly damaged.

  • JByrne24

    Please try not to be silly, teigitur.

  • JByrne24

    It is the Church which sometimes behaves as a dictator on this human rights/non-discrimination matter. It is also a solid fact that it does this – there is nothing imaginary about it.

    Indoctrination is always evil.

  • Jim K

    What but perversion could put love of a depraved sexual gratification above love of life and its creation? 
    Answer that question without resorting to insult.

  • JByrne24

    Yes it’s right to discriminate against criminals when there is good cause to do so (as you jolly well know!).

    But it is wrong and immoral to discriminate against minority groups and to prevent minorities from enjoying the rights that the majority have.

  • JabbaPapa

    What ?

    You’re not thinking this through — if the gay husband/wife fathered/mothered a child, extraneously to the biological link with the Royal bloodline (yes I know it’s happened before, but brushed under the carpet) — this would necessarily constitute a manifest change in the succession laws.

    You can’t just handwave it away — new laws of succession would need to be written and accepted throughout the Commonwealth.

    I mean, for starters — would the surrogate mother/sperm donor be a member of the Royal family ???

  • JabbaPapa

    Next time, when asked Do you think you could explain (at least in broad outline) what you think this current scientific understanding is and how it affects morality? — you might find that simply inputting the word “no” might save you some typing.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your evil views ought to be suppressed by the moderators, given that there is nothing whatsoever Catholic about them, and that they are directly harmful to souls.

    It is grievously sinful to support such violent heterodoxy, even tacitly.

  • JabbaPapa

    ooooh yes, all those *ghastly* Muslim Bishops !!!

    Stone them all !!!!

  • JByrne24

    “….there is not discrimination against gays and their rights are protected.”

    But there IS discrimination: they can’t have a civil marriage. Some, of the majority, are saying that Gay people cannot have this right, which the majority themselves enjoy – even though the majority would be able to retain their right.

  • Acleron

    It’s relevant because muslims also believe they have the ‘Truth’, whatever that means. They also believe just as catholics do, that it is completely acceptable to beat the ‘Truth’ into children.

    ‘Satanic arrogance’?
    Why does questioning a religion make it ‘Satanic’ in any way? Is this another rule your old men in power have made up?

  • JByrne24

    “You can’t change marriage to suit gay unions!”

    Really? Nothing for you to worry about then.

    But, if you “watch this space”, you will find out how wrong you are.

  • JByrne24

    I include myself in “they”.
    Some people tell me this too.

    Hang on! I’m advised not to waste my time talking to you……& here I am…….bye-bye Jabba, go and have your tea. 

  • JByrne24

    Hello again Jabba. Had your tea?

    “EVIL VIEWS”, Jabba definition thereof:…………   1.  Indoctrination is a bad thing.
    2. People should be allowed to hold their own opinions.

    Jabba says: “It is grievously sinful…” to say or support 1 and 2 above.

  • Oconnord

    Thanks, I was often tempted to mention Anton–Babinski syndrome, but yours is much more apt.

  • JByrne24

    How many glasses of wine did you have with your tea, Jabba?

    Are you coming out to play before tea tomorrow?

  • teigitur

    Rowing back a little are we not Mr Byrne? From its not acceptable, to sometimes and in some circumstances it is. Well its nice to know you are not as rigid as you would have us believe.

  • JByrne24

    “Well, this is JB’s post:”

    Well, less of the “Well” please. That’s mine!

  • teigitur

    You could not be more correct in the case of Mr Byrne. But he is entertaining.

  • JByrne24

    You obviously never met Brother Brickley. (The mad Fr. Jack of the ICB)

    http://nospank.net/n-b54.htm

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Interesting how fast anti-marriage advocates reveal their homophobia.

    Comparing lesbian and gay couples who want to get married to paedophiles just proves you’re in it to hurt people and you don’t care how.

  • Acleron

    And yet your book advocates killing people. Hardly useful.

  • Acleron

    Nothing fortunate in some old men deciding which bits they approve and which becomes allegorical, mythical whatever.

    And it is always a recipe for disaster to assume yourself infallible. That is why so many religions war with each other, they all consider themselves right.

  • Acleron

    You talk about perversion and depravity and ask me to answer without insult.

    Absolutely priceless.

  • Acleron

    Tolerance of others, ability to see faults in his own belief, humility and an excellent writing style. Just what is not to like about Mr Byrne?

  • Acleron

    Never have I encountered that syndrome. It is amazing what that 3lb lump of tissue can do.

  • Acleron

    It is worrying that you cannot see the difference between someone who is a threat to your children and someone who is no threat at all.

  • teigitur

    Nothing worrying at all. just a comment on his sweeping statement that discrimination is ALWAYS wrong. Clearly untrue.

  • teigitur

    I always thought that a Protestant was some-one who protested against the teachings of The Catholic Church. Is that wrong? Silly? Is that not what you do? At least when it suits you?

  • teigitur

    I know nothing of the man. But if you are afraid of his elevation. He must be faithful.

  • Acleron

    OK I can accept that, but quite what is the threat that gay marriage makes to anybody?

  • Acleron

    All cows eat grass, John eats grass, therefore John is a cow???

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Couldn’t we share it?!

  • JByrne24

    His camp is the cause of Vati-Leaks (a reaction), the new clamp-down on those Sisters and others, the growth in the power of the CDF, the tirade against Fr. Hans Kung……… .

    There is a full-scale battle going on – and you haven’t noticed it? 

  • JByrne24

    Post removed by the author.

  • JByrne24

    So, says Jabba, it’s “evil” to hold the views:

    1. That Indoctrination is bad.
    2. That people should be free to hold their own opinions.

    And, says Jabba, those views “ought to be suppressed…”

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    He eats grass as well…?

    Is there no end to his madness??

  • JByrne24

    It is often possible to extend a valid statement ad absurdum.

    This has no bearing whatsoever on the fact that discrimination is a great evil.

    The school-child situation, that you described, also sees one evil consequent upon another.

  • JByrne24

    Not so. Please see above.

  • Oconnord

    Julian Clary ????

    No wait…. Lily Savage!

  • Oconnord

    You never met the Brother who used to corner the boys with wet trousers after playtime. He used to enjoy undoing the boys trousers so he could stuff newspapers down there to insulate them from the wet! 

    In hindsight he was almost harmless when the full truth came out from my primary school.

  • Oconnord

    My bad, I read the comment in the context of the article, that churches, would be forced to carry out gay marriages by the ECHR. On checking the links I see that you are correct, the original use of the quote in the Telegraph was ambiguous, if not out of context. And that was carried on by the CH.

    It was more a comment on C of E churches and domestic law.

  • Oconnord

    Pot and kettle Jabba !!!

    You couldn’t even admit that offering up your children for gang rape was not a moral act. You just went into the semantics of moral >< righteous.

  • Oconnord

    Surely the gay monarch could choose not to have children, so the succession would pass on as it has historically. Or the child, if born, could be declared illegitimate to the throne. Royal bastards are hardly a new occurrence. Just simply don’t sweep it under the carpet. Again the line of succession would be unbroken.

    Interesting question though, as I doubt the British public would want another brood mare like Diana. I would guess that they’d rather have an honest monarch.

    The same line of interesting questions could be raised if you ever had an openly atheist monarch. I often heard it joked that in the C of E belief in god is optional.

  • JabbaPapa

    You couldn’t even admit that offering up your children for gang rape was not a moral act.

    ???

    How on Earth does disagreeing with your suggestion that Scripture is describing this as “moral” behaviour constitute agreeing with that foolish notion ?

  • JabbaPapa

    1) Indoctrination is inevitable, and you yourself are a walking example of 1960s-1970s style baby boomer indoctrination

    2) Freedom of speech is, as always, subject to the usual limits defined by Law and Custom in this case, Canon Law and Catholic Tradition (or alternatively you could just stop describing yourself as “catholic”)

  • JabbaPapa

    that it is completely acceptable to beat the ‘Truth’ into children.

    1) ooooh look, Acleron is making things up out of thin air — again !!!

    2) Can you please demonstrate that atheists have never engaged in the same kinds of “educational” practices ?

  • JabbaPapa

    1) I continue NOT to agree with your suggestion that the Bible is describing Lot as a “moral” man — so I don’t see how I am supposed to defend some notion of yours that I disagree with in the first place.

    2) 12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here,13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” — yes of course that’s an interpretation, but it’s hard to see anything wrong with it ; whereas your suggestion that Scripture is describing Lot as being someone whose behaviour is “moral” is obviously problematic and hard to accept.