Supporting Scientology marriage – opposing marriage

This happened:

A couple have made history by becoming the first to marry in a Church of Scientology chapel, five years after they brought a legal case to have their religious rights recognised.

Newlyweds Alessandro Calcioli and Louisa Hodkin, both 25, described their marriage as a “momentous” victory against “inequality and unfairness” as they posed for photographs outside a Scientology church in London, surrounded by confetti and bridesmaids.

“It has been a long, five-year battle to achieve a simple freedom – the right to marry in our own church with a service in accordance with the rites and customs of our religion and surrounded by our friends and family,” the couple said. “All weddings should be magical and momentous for the couple concerned, but we are conscious that ours, as the first for our religion in England, has its own place in history.”

I’m not really a fan of marriage or most forms of romance things. Yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t think we should stand against opposition to gay marriage.

As Notung points out, you can defend the principle of equality while still being opposed to the overarching institution. His analogy regarded women bishops: It’s nonsense that women can’t hold the same offices as men, but I also think all things anchored or premised entirely on faith are nonsense too.

Does this mean I should support the Scientology couple and their victory? I think so. I may think that Scientology, along with all religions really, is wrong (morally and empircally). But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t suppor their right to marry, since it’s all – I guess – equally non-sensical. Don’t exclude a group from being able to engage in an adult institution, even if I disagree with that institution, if the only criteria is “your faith-based philosophies are newer than mine”.

I mean we know the Internet has a hard-on hatred for Scientology, but still.

Is there any reason to oppose Scientology marriage as a recognised form of marriage, if other faiths get recognised as proper marriages?


  1. Kaveh Mousavi says

    I agree with everything you say. I oppose the governmental institution of marriage, I think it’s a glorified tax loophole and an unnecessary benefit, and I don’t think the government should be in business of rewarding people for frequently sleeping with each other. However, as long as we have an entitlement it should not discriminate, whether against gays or Scientologists.

  2. Copyleft says

    Marriage is foolish and without value; so is eating glass, and yet I defend anyone’s right to do so if that’s what they want.

  3. Sercee says

    I don’t see what the problem was. Aren’t there rules for having a justice of the peace sign your certificate? Can’t you ordain people for specific ceremonies? Why not just get your legal, civil wedding done in a scientology church? I don’t even understand how “where” you get married is an issue. They aren’t even a gay couple, they already had the right to be married.

  4. Ysanne says

    Sercee, that’s exactly the problem. The UK has very prescriptive laws about where one can married in what way. In particular, civil weddings apparently can’t take place in religious venues, but not every religious organisation is authorised to conduct marriages. Which then prevents some people (scientologists, jedi, etc.) from getting married in their chosen religious way.
    I consider Scientology a fairly problematic scam, but if people want to get married in that scammy way, as long as the celebrant follows proper legal filing procedures, I don’t see why they shouldn’t.

  5. Schlumbumbi says

    “Is there any reason to oppose Scientology marriage as a recognised form of marriage, if other faiths get recognised as proper marriages?”
    Germany and France got it exactly right. Scientology is not a religion, it’s a new age woo bolstered money laundering machine… the “church” is a company, and is treated as such.

  6. Copyleft says

    “Scientology is not a religion, it’s a new age woo bolstered money laundering machine…”

    You say that as if there’s a difference.

  7. bmiller says

    That’s the problem. The Mormon Church is equally ridiculous, although one could make arguments that for some, heck many, people it “works”. Does Scientology work for anyone but Muscavigne?

  8. specialffrog says

    Scientology’s main goal in pushing for marriage rights in this case is as a step towards getting tax exemption in the UK.

    The Church of Scientology was basically engineered to exploit the legal and tax benefits given to religions.

    While I agree that if religions that were made up a long time ago can marry people, religions that were made up more recently should be allowed to as well, the Church of Scientology is a good reason to treat all religions as corporations and only give them tax relief for actual charitable activities and not just for being a “religion”.

  9. brucegee1962 says

    I don’t much care whether they’re allowed to preside over marriages or not. However, I think it’s a bad idea to treat Scientology as “just another cult.” All religions may just be cults plus time — that’s true. However, Scientology is an explicitly evil cult. It’s been steeped in criminal activity since its founding, and I think it’s about as deserving of special privileges as the Mafia is.

    If you are at all dubious about why Scientologists should be opposed at every juncture, it’s worth it to read up on “Operation Freakout” and “Operation Snow White.” These people are amoral, viscious psychopaths who will stop at nothing to spread their hateful meme, with the sole motive of enriching themselves.

  10. Shatterface says

    I think it’s a bad idea to treat Scientology as “just another cult.” All religions may just be cults plus time — that’s true. However, Scientology is an explicitly evil cult.

    It’s a con, and prospective members ought to be made aware of that fact, but to my knowledge no Scientologist ever strapped a bomb to his chest, shouted ‘L Ron Hubbard is Great’ and blew up a bus; nor are they as prone to kiddie fiddling as Catholic priests. They don’t kill ‘witches’ in Nigeria either.

    As religions go they are considerably less ‘evil’ than the more established ones.

  11. Billie says

    I don’t really get it.
    Does this mean that a church marriage has legal status in the UK?
    If so, weird.
    I thought just civil marriage is what counted

    It makes me think whether something like this is also law in Holland, but I doubt it.

    I don’t think there is any obstruction in Holland to get married in a Church of Scientology chapel, or have a Pastafarian wedding or whatever fantasy you’re hooked up to.
    They just don’t have a legal status.
    For that you’ll have to go to city hall and get a civil marriage.

    The Belgians do it even better: they prosecute them.


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