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Dec 13 2013

Concerns

You’re wondering what Sayeeda “Baroness” Warsi is concerned about these days, aren’t you. I know how you are. You can’t sleep nights for wondering about it. Well I’ll tell you. I found out via the Telegraph. She’s concerned about the possibility that laws introducing same-sex marriage might not contain enough protections for religious groups. What have they got to do with anything, you’re probably asking yourself. The Telegraph explains.

The former Conservative Party chairman said she could not support the Government bill during votes in the Lords because of “reservations” about how clauses designed to prevent faith groups being sued for refusing to perform gay weddings would work in practice. 

She raised the prospect of smaller churches, mosques and temples which are linked to local community centres, finding themselves in a legal grey area when same-sex marriage becomes possible from March next year.

Uh oh uh oh uh oh uh oh. She’s concerned about smaller churches, mosques and temples that don’t want to marry same-sex couples and might get in trouble if they stamp their feet and say no. Well that is the important thing after all – not people who want to marry being able to marry, but people who want to stop them because a made-up god said Ew. What a good thing to be concerned about – not enough protection for people who want to prevent other people from marrying.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    She’s concerned about the possibility that laws introducing same-sex marriage might not contain enough protections for religious groups. What have they got to do with anything, you’re probably asking yourself.

    There is the very real risk that religious groups may be forced to gay-marry each other. Can you imagine if the Birmingham Episcopal Church were forced to commit sodomy with the chapel at the local hospital?

  2. 2
    John Morales

    It does raise a question*, though: why would gay people who wish to get married seek to be married by a religious celebrant who is opposed to gay marriage?

    *Yes, it’s a rhetorical question.

  3. 3
    Erp

    In some cases the local religious celebrant is fine with marrying them but the greater denomination is not. In the US the local religious celebrant is free to perform the legal ceremony though may well face repercussions (but not state penalties except indirectly if the denomination strips them of ministerial status) from his or her denomination; In England/Wales I believe the religious denomination has to approve as well as the celebrant for the celebrant to conduct a legal same sex wedding.

    I’m having difficulty making out what the problem is that the Baroness sees but there is one possibility. The local community center which may be rented by smaller groups for religious worship as a public place and not strictly a religious place is probably required not to discriminate between types of marriage when renting for post-ceremony celebrations and the groups don’t want ‘their’ space ‘contaminated’.

  4. 4
    screechymonkey

    One of the ironies of social justice is that, as movements succeed, their enemies try to co-opt their victories.

    Racists have mostly given up trying to defend racism on its own terms. Instead, we hear about “reverse racism” and “liberals are the REAL racists.”

    Similarly, now that “gays can’t get married because God told me they can’t” doesn’t work any more, the forces of bigotry have decided to wrap themselves in the banner of freedom of religion.

    But of course, true freedom of religion isn’t enough for them. They need to expand what it means to “practice their religion” until it’s so broad that it can ensnare the people they want to subject to their whims.

    So not only can Catholics not get abortions, or Catholic doctors perform them, but non-Catholic patients tended by non-Catholic doctors at hospitals that are 99.9% funded by non-Catholics can’t get abortions.

    Employers aren’t content with saying “I don’t use birth control,” they want to insist that anyone who works for them can’t use the health insurance they earned with their labor to obtain birth control. Good heavens, that’s an infringement on my religious liberty if some of the money I pay to a health insurance company goes to pay a pharmacist who provides birth control to someone who works for me. Her religious liberty is, of course, irrelevant. Of course, it’s only a short step from there to “an employee can’t use the money I paid her to purchase birth control.”

    And so they want to claim that it’s a violation of their religious freedom if their cakes or flower arrangements are used at a wedding of which they don’t approve? Gee, I’m so surprised.

    These same arguments were made in opposition to the Civil Rights Act, too. “Oh, we’re not saying that black people shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in hotels, but you can’t make me let them in my hotel! I have rights!”

  5. 5
    Randomfactor

    So…what…the smaller churches (which in the US enjoy tax-free status, don’t know about the UK) while meeting in community centers might have to hold their meaningless rituals in the same room where–gasp–two people of the same sex held their wedding reception the night before? Maybe if they’re THAT concerned about cross contamination they should get their own damned church buildings…

  6. 6
    theoreticalgrrrl

    In unrelated news, polygamy has just been decriminalized in Utah.

  7. 7
    Maureen Brian

    Surely she has access to the legislation and can read for herself that a same sex marriage in a place of worship or by a minister of religion, of any flavour, requires both the agreement of the person officiating and the formal approval of any denomination to which the group belongs.

    If the congregation has no formal links with anyone else then it’ll be on the word, yay or nay, of the pastor and the elders or trustees.

    That is why we’ll be having same sex marriages in Friends Meeting Houses rather than in St Paul’s Cathedral – because the vote went against the considerable numbers of CofE clergy who wanted to be able to officiate at such ceremonies.

    How many more of these people are there who think that “religious freedom” is about imposing their thinking and practice on everyone else?

  8. 8
    Trebuchet

    Republicans in the US Senate share her concerns.

    Nitpick: The quotes around “Baroness” are not appropriate, unless meant as a commentary on the British peerage in general. She’s a genuine peer. So is Lord Christopher Monckton.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    That’s what they are meant as. I think the British peerage is very silly.

  10. 10
    Dunc

    How many more of these people are there who think that “religious freedom” is about imposing their thinking and practice on everyone else?

    The big problem (OK, one of the big problems) I have with the “religious freedom” arguments on this topic is that there is actually one set of people whose religious freedoms very definitely are being infringed right now – those denominations and congregations who want to be able to conduct gay weddings. Somehow their religious freedoms never get mentioned…

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