Same Sex Marriage in the UK

It would be really pleasant to be able to ignore the teacup storms whipped up by the religious over issues to do with modern society. These storms take on the appearance of tsunamis and distract everyone from the serious business at hand in running a country. Like repealing very, very expensive loopholes in legislation that are abused by the rich including the Queen. But that’s another story.

Keithie O'Brien in colourful drag

Looking at this photo of The Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the dioceses of St Andrews and Edinburgh and leader of the Church in Scotland in all his gloriously coloured pomp and ceremonial robes and mitre, I hope I can be forgiven for chuckling at Tim Minchin’s naughty Pope Song and the cartoon video that accompanied it. The video and the song went viral during and after the Pope’s visit in September 2010. The clergy were unusually silent about our Tim.

Things must be moving too fast for religious dogma that is driven by age-old and static texts. Well, if not static (who reads original languages these days) then with essential tenets unchanged for millennia.

It is terribly hard lines for the Catholics in modern western society. Not only aren’t they allowed to hide the egregious and utterly inappropriate behaviour of a fair sized percentage of their clerics and other enforcers, they are having difficulty staying focussed on anything anymore. It’s raining in on them from all sides. The brickbats, slings and arrows just keep flying.

Cardinal Keithie O’Brien has made some amazingly silly and inconsistent claims this week over the intention of the UK government to legalise marriage for our homosexual community. He can be pretty offensive too.

Apparently the Roman Catholics in the England and Wales number about 5 million (hard to know for sure because of self identification). The population of England and Wales totals about 55 million.

It isn’t only the good Cardinal who has his knickers in a knot (maybe that’s the problem) but the Archbishop of Westminster, Most Rev. Vincent Nichols is on record with the same sort of complaint. At least he looks a little more like a person rather than a caricature, at least in this photo. Mind you, he can dress up too and looks quite like all other Archbishops.

Vinnie Nichols in his dog collar

There is a very good blog called Left Foot Forward with this article as a history lesson for the good Cardinal.

I understand that it would be very odd of them and the flurry of religious leaders on this island if they welcomed gay unions with open arms. Maybe they feel they have to stand up for their anachronistic organisations; after all they are paid by their churches and job loyalty ensures tenure of position.

Edit (7Mar) There are a couple of articles that I have found here from Stephen Hough in the Telegraph and here from the National Secular Society. Both articles are worth 50 of the articles from the religious.

My proposal is this:

The Registrar of Birth, Deaths and Marriages already registers births and deaths prior to any celebratory or funereal mourning ceremonies that may or may not ensue. Enable legislation that nominates the Registry as the sole registering body for all hatches, matches and despatches. Everyone who wants to marry can apply for the registration of their union with the registry and then go off and celebrate until the cows come home or they fall over, whichever comes first. However, it does create a level playing field for the registration of marriage. Make it secular first, religious afterwards like Births and Deaths.

Someone queried the white wedding and young girls’ desire to have the purported biggest day of their lives being lost in the greyness of the Registry.

Not so I pointed out. My marriage (ahem, the second formal one) was held at the Registry in St. Andrews (a pleasanter spot you’ll never find) with flowers, a new outfit, music and a delightful woman who conducted the process. During the war, many couples were married at Registry offices. Prior to the war and many moons prior to Christianity or Judaism and definitely prior to Islam, marriage ceremonies were held in fields, buildings, homes, beaches and in woodlands. All very charming and full of good cheer and well wishes for the couple, I am sure. In Perth, Australia, my son and his wife were married in King’s Park by a celebrant from the Humanists.

At St Andrews Registry Office - the old Mayor's Room

Why do the Christians feel they have the right to try to continue to punch beyond their weight and take the government to task on this issue? It seems to have something to do with their definition of the word marriage. They want it defined as in the umpteenth version or edition or translation of their holy book. The King James Version was published in 1611 and that is probably the one they use – very modern as things stand. Only 400 years old. And you should see who created it!! What a motley crew.

So what is the etymology of the word ‘marriage’? What’s more – what is the history of marriage itself?

Dear wiki:

The modern English word “marriage” derives from Middle English mariage, which first appears in 1250–1300 C.E. This in turn is derived from Old French marier (to marry) and ultimately Latin marītāre meaning to provide with a husband or wife and marītāri meaning to get married.

Long before that – it was just an agreement between two people. The female was not always consulted since she was seen as property to be traded. She had no rights until very recently. Marriages were arranged or forced. Some still are. These clerics need to get with the real world and stop being religiously myopic.

This again from wiki:

 Various types of same-sex marriages have existed,[40] ranging from informal, unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions.[41]

While it is a relatively new practice to frequently grant same-sex couples the same form of legal marital recognition as commonly granted to mixed-sex couples, there is a long history of recorded same-sex unions around the world.[42] It is believed that same-sex unions were celebrated in Ancient Greece and Rome,[42] some regions of China, such as Fujian, and at certain times in ancient European history.[43] A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) issued in 342 CE imposed severe penalties or death on same-sex marriage in ancient Rome[44] but the exact intent of the law and its relation to social practice is unclear, as only a few examples of same-sex marriage in that culture exist.[45]

Terry and Mark and their wedding and good on them.

And then what about polygamy and polyandry? What about all different religious faiths’ requirement or lack thereof?

The Catholics and Protestants on this island are so hidebound by tradition they seem to think nothing happened until their arrival. What a jolt of realism for them to have to adapt to, but adapt they will. Eventually and dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of modern realism. It will be secular.


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