Top Ten 2012


Here are my top ten posts (authored in 2012) in reverse order.

10 – An Exodus from Exodus – Reporting on the formation of the Restored Hope Network

9 – Alan Chambers Signals a Shift at Exodus – Trying to help readers understand what was going on in Florida

8 – Post-Gay FAQS – Trying to define what we actually meant by the expression

7 – Ex-Gay Adverts on London Buses – The one where I contemplated suing for breach of copyright

6 - Vaughan Roberts : A Battle I Face – Reporting on Vaughan coming out

5 – 2013 – The Anglicans to Watch – Gosh, this one was popular. Lots of people interested in my predictions for those to keep an eye on in the coming twelve months.

4 –Sobering Reading on Changing Attitude’s Blog – The one where I basically said that Anglican Mainstream’s conferences were pointless

3 – Questions for the Same-Sex Marriage Debate – My list of things I want proponents of change to answer

2 – Travails at Wycliffe Hall – My report on what exactly went on around Richard Turnbull’s departure

1 – Same-sex marriage affecting Other-Sex Marriage – Looking at how changing the law would change current marriages

Not included in the top ten are posts from previous years that still pick up traffic and the frivolous stuff (like our Euro 2012 prediction competition).

249,089 page views represented a 21.4% rise over 2011’s figure of 205,150. Onwards we go…

25 Comments on “Top Ten 2012

  1. Good list! My personal favourite was #4, not least because it led to my favourite unintentionally hilarious Jill comment of the year ;-)
    Keep fighting the good fight!

      • Indeed! The notion that male/male/female double anal is one of the “horrors of the gay lifestyle” (!) is worthy of The Onion! Although you may wish to take more care in remembering what you did and did not say. You can’t exactly accuse me of misrepresenting if I’m supplying an exact link to your original comment can you? I mean, come on Jill. There are people from all walks of life and from various ends of the theological spectrum on this blog. Has dialogue not caused you to rethink some of your anti-gay presuppositions? I’ll hazard a guess that you spent Christmas with loved ones. Don’t you think that the gay people on this blog probably did something similar, rather than eating shit and fisting strangers? Do you really think someone as live-and-let-live, gracious and eirenic as Tom, say, is secretly plotting the next stage of Teh Gay Agenda: Operation Recruit Our Children? We’re all just sinners…

        • Gee thanks Ryan. I think a large part of organised religion does induce paranoia though – or perhaps to put it another way, there are elements of organised religion that attract the paranoid. Also it is so useful to have someone to blame when the world all about you seems threatening, what with school shootings , hurricanes and the fiscal cliff. The psychotic shenanigans of Westboro’ Baptist Church are only the tip of a huge iceberg that goes all the way down through apparently respectable Christian churches to the meekest-looking lay-woman declaring that “gay marriage will be the end of civilisation as we know it”.

          • Raising Westboro Baptists in a general conversation about “organised religion” is the equivalent of others being obsessed about prurient sexual behaviours in a general conversation about homosexuality.

            • It’s not nice, is it`? I did say “tip” of a huge iceberg. It’s what you don’t see under the water that is dangerous.

              • Two wrongs don’t make a right. We all agree that Westboro are a bunch of loons who are unrepresentative of the wider Xian Church. We also all mostly seem to agree that prurient sexual behaviours of some minorities are not in and of themselves a theological or sociological reason to reject all homosexual behaviour. Let’s not drag the conversation down.

                • Maybe the WBC are not dangerous because they are clearly bonkers and very visible – that was the analogy was making. I agree they only represent themselves but unfortunately they’ve got the Bible…and they way they use it in text-proofing, much though you and I hate it, is what does go on in other less-obviously loony Xian congregations. I think Peter, the analogy hasn’t worked for you because the WBC is like a red rag, but I wasn’t really talking about them; they are the part of the ‘berg’ that becomes innocuous once you see it; the point I was trying to make is that the the anxiety and paranoia we DON’T see is the really dangerous stuff. And I don’t think Sua Santità as captain of Peter’s Bark is doing much to steer the ship away from said iceberg. (Sorry, another metaphor!) Do you think the Catholic bishops’ recent increasingly panicky declarations are really helping further the Good News of the Kingdom!

                  • Indeed, rather that functioning as a straw man for liberals to invoke, I think WBC is most of use for conservatives. Many’s the time that a conservative, disagreeing with the homophobia charge, has made a point to differentiate their faith from the WBC kind. Which might be true in so far as it goes, but dare one say that ”less anti-gay than the Westboro Baptists” is not exactly a shining credential ;-)
                    And wasn’t the Pope himself recently playing a version of the old ”gay marriage will destroy civilisation” tune?

                    • I had a straight couple round for drinks last night and they asked me what I thought about gay marriage. I pointed out I think a lot of people, both gay and straight, who weren’t immediately fussed at first find themselves increasingly thinking it is something which should now happen (as the recent poll in the Daily Heil I have already mentioned also seems to indicate), if only because the antis have been so strident and nasty, wheeling out such absurdities as “gay marriage will destroy civilisation” needs to be resisted. I asked them if they thought it would devalue their marriage and they thought this was no more logical than saying the one-week marriages of starlets in Las Vegas, or Hugh Heffner marrying his latest squeeze devalues their marriage

  2. Thank you, Peter. I very much value your blog and (very occasonally) being part of the conversation.

    Regarding your #1 issue, a legal question occurred to me the other day, which may be silly or easy to answer but maybe not: given that consummation and adultery are basically going to be undefined or a legal minefield what immigration controls would there be to guard against ‘sham’ weddings? Indeed what is a ‘sham wedding’ in the context of a same-sex marriage?

    For heterosexual marriage I guess that’s easy to define in terms of expectation of consummation and maybe living together, but what’s there to stop heterosexual confirmed bachelor Dave from marrying his equally heterosexual non-EU flatmate to get him a green card? And even if the authorities knew the score on what watertight legal basis could they prevent/ annul the marriage?

    I’m not a lawyer and it may be a non-issue and easy to answer, but to my simple mind it seems like quite a grey area. Do you have any thoughts/ expertise in this area?

    • I think this is a very interesting idea. If the law presumes that a same-sex marriage doesn’t have to be sexual, why should it then object if it is not (i.e. just two people marrying for convenience)?

      • Yes I suppose I’m asking:

        1) What are the current criteria by which the immigration courts/ authorities judge whether a marriage is real or a sham?

        2) Which of those criteria will be significantly weakened or invalidated by gender-neutral marriage – either through the primary legislation or because they are vulnerable to a strong challenge through equality law?

        It might be nothing, but it could also be a pretty big loophole – and may cut both ways, impacting both same-sex and opposite-sex partnerships

        • A ‘Sham marriage’ can still be a perfectly legal arrangement so long as the legal requirements are met – and consummation isn’t one of them (lack of sex merely makes a marriage potentially ‘voidable’ but doesn’t automatically make it void). The ‘sham’ element has to do with the intent being to subvert immigration laws (or some other convenience) rather than to effect a lifelong, exclusive marriage. Wonder how they do that one in law?

          Personally I think that ‘same-sex’ marriage wouldn’t make it any easier or any harder to define intent. It’s another red-herring, in other words.

      • Why not ask the same question about sham civil partnerships. Two people might set up one for convenience. If the lack of sexual expectations in the one don’t worry the Immigration Services too much, why should the other?

        • Do you know for sure that Immigation Services aren’t worried that Civil Partnerships could be abused for Immigration? I remember reading somewhere that an estimated 10% of CP’s have been set up for tax purposes, so certainly there are some savvy people about who know how to use loopholes in this area,

          Certainly, though, I accept that that immigration abuse is more complex than a tax dodge. But there’s surely an issue of scale: CP’s are effectively ‘ring-fenced’ to 100,000 or so people – not a huge number in the scheme of things, and a dodgy CP immigration attempt would probably stand out like a sore thumb.

          This compares with 20 million married heterosexual people – 200 times the scale. Policing and monitoring that is surely a tough job even now, and if the legal landscape changes because of the introduction of same-sex couples it could be almost impossible. I’m not just thinking of Dave and Sanjay, or Jane and Adrianna – it could be heterosexual couples too.

          It’s surely not enough to say that the law prohibits improper marriage – it requires a definition of ‘proper marriage’ to start with. So the question remains – if marriage becomes gender-neutral what will be a legal definition of marriage that’s sufficiently robust to be both practically enforceable for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and that won’t fall foul of challenges under equality law?

          • Have they found problems with this in Canada, Spain, etc? Wherever gender-neutral marriage is in place would be open to the same danger of misuse, I’d have thought – all western first-world countries where people are keen to jump the queue to get in.

            • Yes that’s a good question, Tom. I don’t know. This is the first time I’ve seen the issue raised. I’m sure, though, that the government have thought it through exhaustively….not.

    • As the Law presently stands for heterosexual marriage consummation is not actually a requirement for a valid marriage. Lack of consummation may be used by the party who wishes the marriage to be consummated in order to have a declaration of nullity – but a couple who don’t wish to consummate a marriage (or can’t) can’t have their marriage declared invalid by a third party.

        • Better ask them. Certainly lack of consummation wouldn’t work for the reasons given above and anyway proving it would be rather difficult. My view is that a sham marriage is one that isn’t intended to be genuine – but that begs a lot of questions that the ‘letter of the law’ can’t answer. Legally a genuine marriage is one that meets that legal requirements (persons legally free and eligible to marry effecting “the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others” in “free and full consent”) even if contracted for the ‘wrong’ intentions.

      • Interesting. Archbishop Ramsey is said to have had a mariage blanc with Mrs Ramsey. No one questioned that they were married even though it would not have been consummated, if the story is true.

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