- No religious organization or individual minister will be compelled to marry same-sex couples or permit the marriages to happen on their premises
- It would be illegal for religious organizations or their ministers to marry same-sex couples unless their governing bodies have expressly opted in to provisions for doing so
- The 2010 Equality Act will be amended to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organizations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple
- The legislation explicitly states that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples, and that Canon Law, which bans same-sex weddings, will continue to apply
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
England and marriage equality
England - or possibly Britain, I'm not quite clear on that point - is working towards something that ought to be a no-brainer; the introduction of equal marriage. There is, of course, opposition, mostly from the religious. This is neither unexpected nor surprising. I have at times commented that Church and state should remain as separate as possible. I feel that this should go both ways; religion has no place in deciding the laws of government, and government has no place in deciding religious proscriptions, except obviously where such proscriptions would egregiously violate civil rights or protections. So in terms of marriage, I feel that the government needs to work to treat all its citizens equally - thus, marriage equality - while churches ought to be allowed to discriminate. They're private institutions, and cannot be compelled to offer their services against their will. Don't want to marry gay people? Unfortunate, but I wouldn't legislate against it. I feel it's to their detriment in the long run anyway. This all seems simple enough to me. Marriage equality is in, add a clause that you can refuse to perform the ceremonies, or refuse to allow your premises to be used for the ceremonies, and we're all done. Right? Nope. It seems this is insufficient for some religious organizations - in this specific case, the Church of England and the Church of Wales.