Are you sure a conservative can still oppose gay marriage, @His_Grace?

[Commenting on coalition plans to introduce full gay marriage] But gay civil partnership cannot be marriage, because Parliament decrees in the State Church ‘that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God’s Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful‘.

First of all, no parliament can bind a future parliament. If they want to make gay marriage legal, religious or whatever, they can make it so. It wouldn’t be the first hypocritical contortion the church has engaged in during the last 2000 years.

I must admit, a conservative disposition is a useful thing, it helps you avoid rushing to something stupid. So being sceptical about changing an institution as old as marriage is understandable, even if I disagree.

But conservatism is a flexible position, not one based on absolutes.

Changing the institution of marriage might have bad effects, but there have been none from the introduction of civil partnerships six years ago, a half-way house towards full gay marriage. This implies that previous scepticism about gay partnerships, and therefore marriage, was undue.

If conservatism is about scepticism then its scepticism should now have flipped.

Rather than being sceptical about the damage being done by expanding marriage, conservatives should now be sceptical about the damage being done by treating some citizens as less equal that others. If the costs of introducing gay marriage are low, as has been at least partially proven, then equality before the law should now trump diminished conservative worries about gay marriage.

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “Are you sure a conservative can still oppose gay marriage, @His_Grace?

  1. Government diktat cannot alter religious belief. Forcing priests to perform marriages they do not believe in is wrong. If government does anything relating to marriage it should restrict itself to equalising the legal and tax situation of different kinds of legally recognised partnership.

    1. I didn’t say anything about forcing anyone to do anything, odd you read it that way.

      Currently people aren’t allowed to be married, if they’re gay. That’s the government diktat.

      Also, the Church of England is established as part of the British State, they’ll do as they’re told, as usual.

  2. “If they want to make gay marriage legal, religious or whatever, they can make it so.”

    Marriage is a religious ceremony based upon various religious dogma including the sanctity of monogamous hererosexual life partnership and the belief that homosexuality is a sin.

    This kind of belief is incompatible with legalised religious gay marriage. Such a thing would obviously not constitute marriage in the eyes of a religious person believing such dogma. Legalising it leaves priests unwilling to compromise their religious beliefs open to discrimination prosecution in the courts.

    1. Once upon a time married women could not hold property…we changed that.

      “Legalising it leaves priests unwilling to compromise their religious beliefs open to discrimination prosecution in the courts.”

      Only if we let it, I’ve no reason to assume there won’t be an opt out included.

      Fucking hell. So it is okay to ban priests who are happy to perform the ceremony from doing so, but not okay to leave it to the individual’s conscience…some libertarian.

  3. Holding property is different from asking that a religious ceremony be bestowed upon people whose lives are absolutely divergent from those promoted by the religion in question.

    It is not ok for the state to ban priests from performing marriage any more than it is ok for the state to demand that they do so.

    1. Okay…well the current policy bans priests who want to marry same sex couples from doing so.

      The policy will almost certainly change to allow priests who want to marry gays to do so, without penalising those who don’t want to.

      So your opposition to this policy is confused, if enacted correctly it should enhance freedom.

  4. Nobody is banned from setting up the church of holy gayness and uniting gay people in a ceremony they call marriage. This is what marriage is- a religious ceremony. What does the state have to do with it?

    For some reason the state demands certain legal relations for married couples and alters the tax structure relating to them slightly. All that the state needs to do now is reduce any and all legal partnerships to the same status and stop calling any of them marriage. Even better it could stop recognising any legal partnerships at all.

  5. “Nobody is banned from setting up the church of holy gayness and uniting gay people in a ceremony they call marriage. This is what marriage is- a religious ceremony. What does the state have to do with it?”

    No, you don’t seem to get it. Some churches want to marry gay people and they can’t legally do it, there is no need for hypotheticals.

    A real, liberty and equality enhancing policy is on the table that, if correctly enacted, would reduce nobody’s freedom. It is odd you immediately opposed this move.

    1. Marriage is the religious ceremony, not the legal situation created in relation to it by the state. Anyone is perfectly free to set up a church and create a ceremony for gay couples which they call marriage.

      Equalisation (or preferably complete removal) of law relating to all legal partnerships removes this problem.

      1. I don’t know why you aren’t talking in concrete examples.

        Marriage is a legal arrangement in this country, and at the moment some people’s freedom from engaging in it is curtailed because of their gender.

        So you agree with me? That absent the removal of marriage as a legal institution it should be expanded in the interests of equality?

        1. No, marriage is the religious ceremony. The legal arrangement is merely a legal arrangement. I don’t agree that gay marriage should be “legalised” because it is already legal.

  6. But conservatism is a flexible position, not one based on absolutes.

    In practice what this means is that conservatism is continuously abandoning its principles and giving up ground to liberalism, and that today’s conservatives are merely yesterday’s liberals. In this vein, Robert Locke once claimed that, “we will live to see homosexuality as conservative, i.e. as a moderate and old-fashioned–even classical–form of sexual deviance.” I think he’s got a point.

    1. Absolutely. Conservatives seem to ignore this. It isn’t a bad thing, I suppose, to resist the pace of change. I like Polanyi so I can see the use, even need, for moderating influences.

      And I thought you said I was the vulgar Hegelian, here you are talking about liberalism’s triumphant march!

  7. “You’re wrong. Churches are banned from marrying people. That is the law. Marriage is a legal arrangement. You might want it to be solely religious, but it isn’t.”

    This is incorrect. Churches are banned from finalising the legal arrangements relating to marriage, i.e. the certification of the marriage in the eyes of the state. The actual marriage between the two people in question is undertaken by the church because marriage is a religious ceremony like baptism or eucharist. The state cannot stop people from marrying.

    1. This is going nowhere.

      The marriage we are talking about is a state sanctioned union, that is what it is, you might want to redefine “marriage” as something solely religious, but that is you moving the goal posts.

      Marriage is sanctioned by the state and it is currently sanctioned in a way which discriminates against gay people. That should stop.

  8. I agree. The state should sanction no marriage. At most it should provide a completely neutral legal framework for any people wishing to enter into state sanctioned legal partnership.

Comments are closed.