Same-Sex Marriage

Pile of QuestionsI’m not going to rehash all the arguments you’ve heard over the last 24 hours. Instead, let me simply ask some pertinent questions.

  1. Will churches be allowed to turn away same-sex married couples from marriage enrichment courses?
  2. Will the Church of England be permitted to refuse its clergy the right to enter a same-sex marriage? If yes, why not Civil Partnerships?
  3. Isn’t it utterly perverse that in trying to protect the Church of England’s religious freedom the Government is going to forbid us from doing something?
  4. How far will I be allowed to go in proclaiming that a same-sex couple who are married are not actually married?
  5. How can a law that allows other-sex couples to annul their marriages if there is no consummation, but doesn’t allow same-sex couples the same right be anything to do with equality?
  6. Once same-sex couples can marry, will it be a deception or fraud for those in a civil partnership to describe themselves as “married” or having had “a wedding”?

Can you think of any others?

71 Comments on “Same-Sex Marriage

  1. On item 4. Peter, the Catholic Church has been doing something similar ever since states took a hand in making marriages post the Enlightenment. Catholics who marry in other churches are not regarded as actually married; catholics who marry in registrar offices are not regarded as married; divorced catholic and non-catholics alike in second marriages are not regarded as married; non-baptised people are not regarded as married, the list goes on. There is no difference between these and a same-sex married couple; most priests are too polite to say NONE of them is married in the eyes of the Church EXCEPT when push comes to shove they will deny admission to the sacraments to any catholic in such a situation (I mean opposite-sex as well as same-sex ones).

    You on the other hand as a parson of the state church have been obliged up to now to accept as married anyone the state says is married, regardless of their beliefs, theology or any number of former marriages legally dissolved. You have this weird anomaly that your Church wouldn’t marry the heir apparent YET your Church regards his marriage in a registry office as valid so allowed a low-key “blessing” afterwards. That looks like the little bit of ritualised meanness we used to encounter in the Catholic church when a so-called “mixed” marriage took place, one between a catholic and a non-catholic christian; no nuptual mass was allowed, no lit candles on the altar, no flowers, no music, the priest only in surplice and stole, no cope. So if same-sex couples are worried that you won’t recognise their marriages, well they oughtn’t to expect any other treatment; the Church, Catholic and otherwise, has been practicing this kind of theological discrimination for years; it’s nothing new and David Cameron shouldn’t be getting his knickers in a twist over it

    • Some very good points Tom! I guess the crux of the matter is, what legal actions can be taken against me for saying “You’re not really married because two men cannot be married” (assuming I would ever want to say such a thing – it’s not terribly pastoral is it)?

      • I hope none; I’d hate to see you in the stocks! :-) But seriously, I think you are on weaker ground than your catholic colleagues because of the distinction between secular marriage and Holy Matrimony which they make clear. Which part of a polygynous marriage is valid in your eyes: man + first wife but not the others? What if their wedding was en famille – would none of them be married to the man, and so and so forth? And we haven’t even touched on the marriage of transsexuals, natural or post operative……
        I take it your grounds are largely biological – marriage is essentially about someone with a penis and someone with a vagina. Am I right? Well, it’s a point of view but I don’t think it is the only point of view and I don’t think it is quite the knock-down argument the state requires…but that’s just how I see it. If we get onto the theological or biblical objections, that’s another story. (I’m just reading Thomas L. Brodie OP’s Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus and my thoughts about what can be meant by “biblical arguments” are at the moment in that ball park……)

      • …but according to the law of the land, which is really the only thing which matters outside the Church – this view will simply be inaccurate. Catholics don’t accept re-marriages as marriages….

        • Yes, but the issue is saying “You’re not really married because two men cannot be married”. Is that homophobic? Public order offence? Offence under the equalities act?

            • I think you mean “legally incorrect”.

              Most people may well see a committed loving relationship between any two people as legally equal and, maybe, equivalent romantically. But, ontologically, two men or two women will stilll be inherently (physically and biologically) unable form the sort of sexual union (as well as genetic family) that a man and a woman can.

              I imagine that will always cause problems for people in same-sex relationships who feel that their marriage/family should be *actually* equal to that of a married coupl – rather than just legally and, maybe, in the eyes of much of society… But you’re up against “the way things are”: the nature of being human just doesn’t allow them to be equal in reality.

              • Dave, heterosexist ideology is imposed *on* human bodies; it is not an objective description of their (One True?) nature. Only penis and vagina sex is penis and vagina sex. True, as the kids say, dat. But what of use do such circular arguments tell us? Ask, Family Fortunes style, a hundred people to give some key words of their relationships and of the ideal relationship. I’d imagine that commitment, love etc etc would rank much higher than ‘consummation’ or ‘must involve penis-in-vagina’ . Our secular laws moving to reflect reality as opposed to pseudo-religious patriachal ideology is no bad thing.

                  • Capitalised Nature? Human nature very much does involve same-sex desires in much the same way that animals, say, have to eat for survival but humans (literally!) have more options on the menu. Marriage is only in the mind? Perhaps you could elaborate on what you think I believe instead of just making it up ;-)

                    NB as a Christian, you won’t do yourself any favours by conflating the Christian Sacrament (or equivalent) of Marriage with any and all of its historical manifestations in order to stack the deck against SSM.

    • PS. I like “proclaiming” in item 4. Perhaps Bishop Joseph Devine and Cardinal O’Brien might do a bit of “proclaiming” about the people they do not regard as married while they are about doing all the rest of their proclaiming.

    • Off topic of what you’ve written, Tom, but on topic of the post, do you remember back in July when I failed to reply to a post you wrote about the meaning of the Greek in Corinthians? I think it got us off on the wrong foot, unfortunately, which I’m sorry about, but the reason I didn’t reply is because I couldn’t for the life of me find the link to the conservative article I’d read on the subject. To cut a long story short, I’m rather glad I didn’t post at the time because I’ve since discovered a much better link to a discussion on this subject. This is ‘The Great Debate’ on the Gay Christian Network: It looks in-depth at the issue from both sides, both written by committed Christians. Quite long, but worth dipping into if you’re still interested.

      I think this site is useful because it blows apart the two myths which I feel obstruct discussion on this topic. Myth 1 is that Christians in same-sex relationships just don’t take the Bible seriously. I think evangelicals have caused a lot of unnecessary hurt by making these kinds of assumptions. Myth 2 is that evangelicals don’t take biblical scholarship seriously. I don’t think liberals can realise just how arrogant they come across when they make the assumption that they’re the only people that have seriously reflected on alternative interpretations of texts.

      • Thanks FS. I’ll have a look at it. Meanwhile Dr Robert M Price on his Bible Geek blog was talking in the latest download about the question of translation from the Greek and the sequence of tenses which some translations conveniently ignore for theological reasons. Worth listening too.

        Clearly it is not true that evangelicals don’t have Bible scholars – but I wouldn’t tar all liberals with saying that they don’t. As I posted to Peter just below, the book by Thomas Brodie is an eye-opener. Admittedly it is in a catholic rather than an evangelical setting but I believe in the field of biblical studies there is a lot of cross-over these days – he is Director of the Dominican Biblical Centre in Limerick in Ireland – but his colleagues and some renowned scholars like Geza Vermes saw early drafts of his work. His conclusion is that the New Testament account of Jesus is essentially a rewriting of the Septuagint version of the Hebrew scriptures, mainly the account of Elijah-Elisha. If he is right it has deep implications for our understanding of Jesus as a historical individual. Yet he remains in post and has not been excommunicated, or had his teaching licence revoked by the Pope (or put inside an Iron Maiden as Dr Price jokes). So not all conservatives are “faith-heads” as Dawkins calls them….

    • I take your general point about the Catholic Church’s understanding of marriage already being out of kilter with the state’s, but it’s important to distinguish between marriage as a sacrament and marriage as an institution of natural law. For example, two non-baptized people marrying might constitute a valid marriage under natural law (and thus would have to go through a tribunal to be dissolved if one of the parties wanted a (valid) marriage later on), but would not be a sacramental marriage.

      The distinction’s important because Catholic opposition to SSM is based more on the institution in natural law rather than as a sacrament. A man and a woman going through some sort of ceremony outwith a Catholic Church might in principle constitute a valid marriage depending on other details. A same sex couple simply couldn’t in any circumstances.

      • The fact that (IMHO) the Church’s natural law discourse is largely ossified, Greek-derived invocation of superstitious cliche, rather than logical argument citing relevant disciplines (biology etc), is worth noting. I’d be interested in your thoughts on masturbation. Isn’t there a line in the CCC where it is conceded that psychological etc disciplines could be used to explain/’justify’ masturbation but the act is still wrong? Isn’t that a move away from regarding masturbation as ‘unnatural’ in the old, anti-scientific, turns-you-blind sense? Could something analogous not be true of homosexuality? There’s obviously a good reason why papal infallibility is reserved for moral or theological statements (i.e. as opposed to pseudo-scientific ones that can be disproved), and I’m not sure what good citing Natural law – especially to a secular audience – does.

        • ‘Natural law’ is simply a (perhaps sometimes rather unhelpful) way of describing philosophical reflection on what we’re like as human beings. Essentially, it’s unavoidable in moral reflection. (Care to produce an argument in favour of SSM that doesn’t mention what we’re like as human beings??) As far as citing it by name with a secular audience, I agree that’s got its limitations. But argument based on the natural rather than the supernatural end of human beings (ie philosophical rather than than theological reasoning) again seems unavoidable in such a circumstance.

          In terms of how the Catholic Church has developed that thinking, well, there have been better and worse attempts. You should argue against the worst attempts and argue for the better ones! Specifically on masturbation, my thoughts are, roughly, that it’s the sort of thing understandably people do when in certain circumstances (and so, subjectively, may be only a venial sin) but objectively it’s a bad idea. (I have absolutely no idea if it turns you blind or not, but I’m absolutely sure that I was happier once I’d grown out of it. (And that’s pretty much the limit of my personal sharing on that one!!).) That’s very much the line in the Catechism:(

          ‘To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.’ (ie act bad; agent bad -but how bad depends on details).

          Morality is in Catholic terms essentially the natural law supplemented by revealed divine law. And the authority of the Church extends to teaching based on the Natural Law: ‘The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.’ (Catechism, 2036)

          I know (from previous conversations with you) that you’re hung up on the nuts and bolts version of natural law (ie this body part has this function). That is only an element within natural law (which I’d defend if it was particularly relevant here). More important in the case of SSM is the sort of argument you’ll have come across regularly here and elsewhere: that marriage is concerned with the procreation and education of children. That’s key here because it reflects facts about the way human beings are conceived and raised, and how these facts are to be best incorporated into a flourishing life for individuals and societies.

          • Thanks for that, interesting. To get to the heart of the matter: would you (and the Vatican! ;-)) agree that many things we can do with our bodies can both have no negative physical/psychological effects (perhaps even benefits) and be morally wrong, and that natural law can often degenerate into arguments from plumbing that conflate the too? I certainly have no problem with acknowledging that many men (no offence to any she-bopping feminists! see, I try Fiddlesticks ;-)) may wish to be ”unshackled from the lunatic” of sexual desire and masturbation but ultimately can’t take the narrow, Take Up Your Cross path of self-restraint.

            ”It’ll turn you blind!” may seem like an extreme, straw man example of anti-masturbation arguments, but obviously there was a long history of spurious pseudo-scientific arguments against masturbation (linking it to insanity), with the consequence that any anti-masturbation arguments smacks, to the modern mind, of flat earth absurdities. I do think there are parallels to many of the non-religious arguments against homosexuality.

            • To take the (easier!) last question first. Of course there have been bad arguments against all sorts of things. (And you’ll realize that there is a plausible historical narrative about the medicalization of the body in the nineteenth century which can’t really be blamed on Catholicism.) But simply, if someone is arguing that masturbation makes you blind, you ask where the evidence is.

              I’m not sure what the ‘modern mind’ is up to generally! I’m sure there are all sorts of odd beliefs about what and why Catholics believe. But just as it isn’t true that the mediaeval Church believed in the flat earth, I’m not aware of any pre-modern theologian suggesting that masturbation is wrong because it makes you blind. (Aquinas certainly didn’t.) If the modern mind is confused about this, tough on the modern mind.

              Turning to the first question, you first need to distinguish between our supernatural end (the beatific vision of God) and our natural end (earthly happiness). We may need to mortify ourselves (ie suffer) in order to achieve the former. So in general it is perfectly possible that we have to undergo physical or psychological harm to achieve a final supernatural good. (And a fortiori that we have to stop doing something that isn’t in itself physically or psychologically harmful to achieve a supernatural good. So for example the denial of the good of intercourse for a celibate is primarily to achieve a higher, supernatural good.)

              In the case of masturbation, since we’re talking about our natural end, that doesn’t apply. I’d suggest that the strongest argument against masturbation would be around sexual fantasy: roughly, that masturbation involves thinking about people (specifically or in general) wrongly. What’s wrong with that isn’t crudely physical (you won’t go blind or bits drop off) nor is it straightforwardly psychological (it won’t drive you mad), but it is about what sort of person you are and become. (So in essence just as an adulterer damages their own flourishing by developing the vices of lust and disloyalty and mendacity etc (quite apart from injustice against another) but doesn’t go mad or blind, analogous vices will be developed by the masturbator.) That’s just a very rough attempt at an example but illustrates the point that a) masturbation might be harmful but b) not in a crudely obvious psychological or physical way. (Any thoughts about misuse of body bits ‘against nature’ would supplement rather than replace that sort of consideration. Having a sense of what is natural is part of having the correct relationship to your body, but, as (I think) Aristotle says somewhere (?Eudemian Ethics) only the practically wise person understands the correct use of nature: knowing what is and isn’t against nature might help someone who’s basically already there morally, but it won’t be much help in convincing a reprobate from scratch!)

              As a general point, natural law needs supplementation to various degrees by revelation and authoritative teaching. Personally, I think the natural law case against SSM is much clearer than the case against masturbation. But don’t quote me on that!

              • Masturbation and Same Sex Marriage and artificial birth control are all non-procreational by their nature. That is all that needs be said in regard to natural law.

                • Wrong!!

                  1. Noone is claiming that masturbation is marriage!
                  2. And *artificial* birth control is not *inherent to the nature* of anything!

                  Alan, it’s embarassing. I think you need to think a bit more about what Natural Law theory actually says..

                  • ‘Natural Law’ does condemn masturbation. C.f. the link posted by our resident RC Lazarus!

                    The Vatican,similarly, would indeed say that artificial birth control is *inherently* contrary to an openness to new life. I’m not sure why you apparently think that Natural Law doesn’t believe that artificial birth control has no nature. Not very Marcus Aurelius ;-)

                    • On natural law condemning masturbation and artificial birth control…

                      It’s probably helpful to distinguish here between natural law as an achieved body of conclusions and natural law as the aspiration to develop ethical conclusions based on human nature. Certainly, ‘achieved natural law’ in its RC version would condemn masturbation, but I wouldn’t think it impossible to develop arguments with at least some plausibility based on human nature which defended both. (Obviously, I’d expect this initial plausibility to dissolve on closer examination, but we’d just have to see where the argument went.)

                      Of course, as the ‘resident RC’ (I like that, BTW!) when push came to shove I’d look to magisterial teaching to settle the matter if it remained in doubt.

  2. Some good questions here. But I suspect that lay people, like myself, who preach occasionally will actually be in a more vulnerable position if we preach against the concept of ‘gay marriage’. How will teachers, for example, who preach on Sunday be treated in the schools or Monday? Or doctors?

    • The position doesn’t seem much different to other “politically incorrect” opinions e.g. “they are too many immigrants” or “you’re destined for Hell if you don’t accept Christ”. It’s encouraging to see some push back against the squelching of unpopular opinions with the moves to remove the reference to “insulting language” from Section 5 of the Public Order Act. Similarly Employment Tribunals have not been sympathetic to attempts to force employees follow PC lines in non-work activities through “codes of conduct”.

      • In fairness, that insulting language clause is something free speech purists, of any stripe, could take issue with. It’s not difficult to conceive of someone claiming that a gay pride parade involved “disorderly behaviour” and “insulting” signs, liable to “cause distress”,and so on with public displays by any religious or political ideology you care to name (‘Slutwalks’, Orange Walks, the more extreme anti-Israel palestine solidarity displays, pro-choice stalls, pro-life stalls etc etc) . I’m slightly disappointed that the legislation isn’t enough to get chuggers off our streets, which could have been its saving grace ;-)

  3. 7. How far can Christian RE teachers teach that ‘gay marriage’ isn’t really marriage without being disciplined for intolerance and lack of diversity?
    8. How far can a mosque preach against Western decadence without being charged with a hate crime against sexual minorities?
    9. How far can a gay group picket a mosque (OK, OK, that ain’t gonna happen) without being charged with a hate crime against a religious/ethnic minority?
    10. How long until David Cameron realises that none of this will help him in the General Election?
    11. How long until the C of E is disestablished?

    • 7) do you mean teachers of explicitly Christian RE, or RE teachers who happen to be Christian? If the latter, then for decades RE teachers have had to discuss Islam, Judaism, Hinduism et al irrespective of their own views (similarly, teachers who espouse creationism in science classes are technically breaking the law). If the former: don’t Catholic school teach Catholic doctrine? Haven’t they been doing this decades? isn’t it funny, so many years after sexual equality acts, that nobody’s forced the RC Church to have women priests? Doesn’t that rather suggest that, for all the anti-gay alarmism being espoused, that Christian schools are perfectly free to teach what they want (within reason)? Do Jewish and Muslim schools have to teach that the Torah/Talmud or Quran/Hadith are pro-gay texts? I think we all know the answer to that.

      9). The Tower Hamlets saga would suggest that there is indeed precedence for some groups claiming Islamophobia against groups simultaneously claiming homophobia! Good point.

      10) How many general elections in a row did the good old, bad old Tory Party of Hague and Howard lose again? 20 something evangelical Christians, say, might be anti-gay, but evangelical Christians are a minority in this country (which is something I thank God daily for ;-))

  4. How will gay couples who have already been “married” in the Church of England be regarded. I believe there are some who have been through this ceremony.

  5. #2 is the interesting one from a Church politics point of view.

    If they aren’t allowed to ban clergy from entering into SSM are they allowed to insist on the same rules as those clergy in a civil partnership?

    If they are allowed to ban clergy from SSM will they? What will the “punishment” be and will it be at the Bishops discresion or manditory?

    What if they are allowed to ban clergy from SSM but forwhatever reason they don’t- would it need to go through Synod? Will we get to a place where Clergy in civil partnerships have to be celibate but they can upgrade to SSM and then not techincally have any regulations requiring them to be celibate?

    • Same-sex marriage is clearly a sexual union. QED, clergy cannot enter it. End of.

      Perhaps we can get some members of the House of Bishops to comment. Where’s Pete Broadbent when you need him?

      • But do guidlines explicitly say that sexual activity of clergy have to be within a marriage of people of the opposite sex? I would have thought it would just say within marriage which would have, of course been presumed to be 1 man and 1 woman. Is all non hetrosexual sex for clergy explicitly and clearly forbiden or is there wiggle room?

        It’s hard to see that how the CofE could ban clergy from SSM without offically saying that they don’t regognise SSM as a vaild form of marriage. The CofE aren’t allowed to perform SSM weddings but there is nothing so far that says that they can’t (or indeed are aloud not to) view SSM as a vailed marriage. What would be the mechanism for that and any banning? The House of Bishops or the Synod?

        Lastly, what happens if someone goes forward for ordniation and they are in a SSM? Are they excluded? Do you require them to be celibate within the SSM? Do you require them to “downgrade” to a civil partnership (will you even be able to change from SSM to a CP or just the other way?)? Do you require them to divorce their same sex partner?

      • Actually “sexual union” does not refer to “any act of mutual sexual stimulation”, it refers specifically to genital union (ie a penis in a vagina)…

        Hence the recent “gay marriage” proposals said that same sex partners would not be able to divorce on grounds of adultery…. unless the unfaithful sex act is a male-female genital act – presumably by a bisexual person in a same sex marriage…

        Same-sex marriage would not be a sexual union as understood in marriage law, or in the CofE marriage preamble, or in the Bible.

        • ps This is a very important ontological argument and I’m surprised noone is using it to point out that two men or two women are *inherently unable* to marry in the sense of forming a human sexual union.

          • David and Jonathon were “one in spirit” as were Saints Serge and Bacchus, it’s only heterosexuals who need to bring crude physicality into the argument.

            • Quite the reverse -it’s you, not me, who is imputíng sexuality to their relationship. Typical oversexualised liberal?

              • It’s amusing that you respond to Alan’s scattershot generalisations with one of your own, Dave. Personally, I couldn’t be more celibate if I tried (;-)), and liberalism is often found in ostensibly high churches which (as with the RC Church) is tolerant indeed supportive of the values of aeseticism and singleness. In contrast, I wouldn’t like to be someone who professed no interest in sex, relationships and ”settling down” in a stereotypical Family Values evangelical church…

                • I was celibate til I married, rather older than most, CB. And I will be celibate again if my wife preceeds me to glory. So I am very supportive of single people, straight, gay, bi or none. English society is horribly cold and non-affirming for singles, and many churches are not much better – generally doing very little to make singles feel part of the family. I feel a ministry coming on!

        • Interestingly, there was a C of E bishop in the Times (so probably behind the paywall now; I read the paper edition) arguing for gay marriage, pointing out that (if judged by the restrictions on who one can and can’t marry) that the Bible has 7 or so ‘definitions’ of marriage .

          Our marriage laws are indeed full of phallocentric blarney. This is not necessarily a good thing. Where’s the feminists when you need ’em? ;-)

          • Err , it takes one vagina as well as one penis – have you forgotten the vagina CB?!

            And every definition of marriage, secular or religious, has always had one thing in common – both sexes!

            • Have I forgotten the vagina? What, that it exists? Assuming you’re not presuming gynaphobic homosexuality on moi’s part and dishing out some ad hom, then you might wish to note that ‘involving a vagina’ does not preclude an act being phallocentric. Have you forgotten that, given the primacy of clitoral stimulation to the female orgasms, that discourse on penetration may not be the objective quasi-biological truth you appear to view it as? (!?!?!? ;-))

              And? Like most people, I tend to prefer the 21st century’s freedoms, health and wealth to bygone days of yore.

              • I guess it depends on how you view sexual union between a man and a woman. There’s the radical all-sex-is-rape feminism that sees male-female sex as something that is ‘done’ to the woman (therefore making her passive). I’m a bit suspicious of this view as it seems to have led to the rather warped view of female sexuality in which pregnancy is talked of in terms of ‘punishment’, abortion is a woman having ‘control over her body’, and feminist organisations show absolutely no concern for the number of women (especially victims of rape or incest) who are often pressurised, or even forced, into abortions against their wishes (I’m guessing because they’re so horrified by the idea of becoming pregnant in an unplanned way).

                On the other hand there’s the view of sex as conquest in some cultures – whether conquest over a woman or over a more passive man.

                The New Testament seems to have a more balanced view. Paul talks about married couples giving themselves to one another (rather than dominating over one another) and the directions to men to live with their wives as the ‘weaker vessel’ have always read to me to be against rape and violence (as opposed to suggesting that women are weaker mentally or morally).

    • Steve, Peter, I believe they plan to allow movement from a civil partnership to a full marriage on payment of a fee alone, perhaps £100, with a ceremony as optional. If that is so how in practical terms are the bishops going to stop that happening amongst clergy?

        • Anglican bishops doing forbidding doesn’t quite have the reek of smoke, bell, book and candle that catholic bishops still try to hold over the heads of the faithful, does it? (Though I notice the imprimatur on books has all but disappeared, including in the recent book by Fr Brodie OP).

          And BTW, did you notice that the Pope has recently made his assistant, the Gorgeous Georg Gänswein, an Archbishop? What was that Dan Brown novel about the Papal Camalengo and the Illuminati now….:-)

          • The Catholic position is at least consistent and intellectually viable in that it upholds the orthodox teachings of the early church where “sodomy” was deemed to be ALL acts of a non-procreational nature. It is the only rational and universal objection that does reek of homophobic bigotry.

            Simply because heretics have decided for themselves to bend the nature of things to suit their own carnal convenience does not make it any less true.


  6. And the other question that is raised mixes SSM with Lords reform and succession to the throne to be open to first born daughters.

    The crown will go to the Wales’ first born irrespective of gender, but will other titles also go to the first born rather than eldest male heir? I can’t see how the royal family can change and the rest of the aristocracy not follow suit. Willingly or otherwise!

    Likewise will the partners of SSM titled persons (and the SSM spouse’s of their now potentially female heirs) also be granted titles as wives of Lords, Dukes et al currently do? I’m fairly sure that the Spanish govt introduced this when they introduced SSM.

    So theoretically after william could we see a SS married monarch and what does that do to the concept of a royal heriditory monarchy?

    I suppose a lot of it could be answered by the current rules on adoption. Except I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that there aren’t any, and no royal with a realistic chance of succession has ever adopted.

    Could we have 2 Kings or would we get a King (William’s son) and his husband, a Prince, like Prince Philip? Presumably they would either remain childless when on the Kings death the monarchy would pass to William’s next oldest child or if the wan’t one to Harry? If the King wanted a baby though? Would it be a case that it gentically had to be his- through a serogate mother- rather than the Prince Regant’s sperm? Assuming that the dna tech doesn’t allow for both their dna in the future? If it is found out that there were complications and they used the Prince Regant’s dna alone when it was meant to be mixed with the Kings then does the resulting child remain in the line of succession?

    What if the Wales’ baby is a lesbian and we have 2 queens? Could we theoretically have a situation where they have a sperm donor and for whatever reason the non-Wales queen has to/both want her to carry the child, or her eggs are used?

    It might not just be the CofE that gets disestablished in the future!

    • come on, the more queens the better! (sorry ;))
      Assuming the monarch is a Defender of Faith, i.e. occupying a religious role (I don’t see how one could deny that being head of the C of E is such) then surely that means they can have restrictions on their permitted relationships, irrespective of the particularities of equalities law?

      • I always find it amusing that we assume that the religious views of the Monarch are by definition Christian. By any reckoning, Charles’s appear to be somewhere between pantheist and Buddhist

  7. You have all been taken out of the argument altogether. Your arguments are no longer relevant to the broader landscape.Gay couples can now go elsewhere and you can be left in peace. It’s what you wanted after all, a sodomite free church. You should be overjoyed. I know I am.

      • Obviously you know we have different views on just about everything – but do you think that the presence of same sex marriage and the church not being involved will make it easier for you to appear counter-cultural, or make the church appear mawkishly outdated and out of the mainstream? The problem is that those who agree with you without being Christians may well not be attracted by much of the other messages – and those who may be attracted to Christianity may find themselves even more separated from the church? I don’t have an axe to grind any more as i made the positive choice not to be a Christian.

        • Of course, if same sex marriage is introduced everywhere except in the church, the the church is being counter-cultural by definition.

          Counter-cultural does not mean “be nice and fluffy and what we who think we are liberals” say. It means not toeing the line of the ‘majority’.


          “A counterculture (also written counter-culture) is a subculture whose values and norms of behavior deviate from those of mainstream society.” (Wikipedia).

          I for one don’t believe that the values of the Baby Boom generation should be swallowed automatically; in the end they won’t work.

          I think we also need to distinguish between “appear” and “be”. The most obvious feature of the initial avalanches of articles in the MSM on this (and the Women Bishops vote) is how superficial they are.

          We can how tolerant society is partly by judging how it treats its minorities.

          Perhaps look to ECUSA for one example of how not to do it?

          Note: I have made no comment here on same-sex marriage.

          • Sorry but an old man in a bath chair droning on about the evils of the world and wanting a return to some distant past is hardly a counter culture. The KKK is, arguably, a counter culture for example. Doesn’t mean it has any ethical relevance beyond the limits of its own mindset and world view.

            Counter cultures are usually positive, rational and progressive. It will be a very long time before any cult that practices and preaches sectarianism and hatred will be recognized as progressive.

          • The problem is that I don’t think you will appear counter-cultural in any positive sense, but just ever more out of touch and irrelevant. Now, you may welcome this,and so do I, but it may hasten your demise, given that this issue is likely to disappear from public consciousness as ‘controversial’ very swiftly

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