Comments: Progress on implementing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act

For a more entertaining report on the same topic:

Men banned from becoming Queen as 700 years of law redrafted ahead of gay marriage by John Bingham

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 8:29am GMT

I wonder how many TA readers recall either the novel or the film of Frederick Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal"?

It opens with an attempted assassination of General de Gaulle by members of the OAS, the far-right group in France that blamed de Gaulle for the loss of Algeria. That part is based on fact: Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry did, indeed, lead a failed attempt on de Gaulle's life in 1962. In the film (I can't recall if it's in the book), Thiry says that he does not need to appeal against his sentence of death by firing squad, as no Frenchman will raise a rifle again him. They did: he was executed by firing squad on 11 March 1963.

Similarly, I can't help thinking that Andrea Minichiello Williams (why do I always think of the late lamented Annette Funicello?) believes that when it comes to it, registrars the length and breadth of the country will refuse to take part in same-sex marriages, and the country will as one rise up against the legislation. And that people will talk about "weddings" and "marriages" with the scare quotes very obviously indicated, and will opposed and undermine at every turn. The reality --- that in the minds of everyone outside the lunatic fringe, same-sex marriages and weddings have been happening for a decade, in the guise of the civil partnerships that everyone, again outside the lunatic fringe, sees as marriages anyway --- has completely passed her by. In decades to come, she will still be there, railing against a law that no-one else sees as remotely controversial.

In the days of Peter Simple's Way of the World, one of its stock jokes was the Feudal Times and Reactionary Herald, a newspaper that still referred to the USA as "the colonies" and extended the hand of friendship should they recant their ill-advised independence and swear allegiance to George III. Perhaps Williams and her like could get themselves a regular op-ed slot.

Posted by Interested Observer at Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 2:11pm GMT

'More immediately, the order rules out the possibility of Dukes, Earls and other male peers who marry other men making their husbands Duchess, Countess or Lady.'

The end of civilisation as we know it...

Posted by Scot Peterson at Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 4:38pm GMT

Armed forces chapels, consular services, other buildings, social security changes, NHS changes, police pensions, ...
How ordinary it all seems, how so ... non-threatening.
Just the routine of a modern society recognizing its same sex couples.

Rule Britannia!
God Save the Queen!

You may now kiss your spouse and carry on!

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 7:47pm GMT

It's so good to see the British government taking the Same-Sex Marriage legislation so seriously. In fact, the new regulations will make Same-Sex Marriage a matter of justice being enacted in public policy - on a level the Established Church seems reluctant to acclaim.

And yet - even though the Church still seems to be against public recognition of Civil Partnerships (the one-time only way of Same-Sex Couples being able to register their monogamous relationships) - it accepts that such relationships might be acceptable as a 'common good'.

However, the time will come - when even clergy Civil Partnerships have to be transferred to Civil Marriages - that the Church will find itself in serious difficulties. How, then, will it deal with the problem of dame-sex partnered clergy serving within its own ranks - who will either become 'married' or have their partnerships dissolved? The only alternative may be having to resign their livings - under the present Church of England embargo on Same Sex Marriage by the clergy!

Equivocation on such important matters of a deeply pastoral nature must have its ecclesial downside!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 23 February 2014 at 10:44pm GMT

Hi Ron. Don't assume all CPs will have to convert to marriage. Government are consulting on whether both should continue as alternatives. And if so, whether CPs should be extended to include opposite sex couples. I'd be interested as to what folks here think about it.

Posted by David Walker at Monday, 24 February 2014 at 6:35am GMT

David Walker,
I have no view about whether CPs should be retained or even extended to straight couples.
But I would be surprised if religious people would not tend to opt for marriage. The more sacramental your view of marriage the less likely you will be to want to register a CP.

So I would suggest that, regardless of what the Government does with CPs, the problem for the church will continue.

Should the government abolish CPs, the church will have an even more serious problem, because marriage would then be the only way its gay clergy could access the legal security that comes with marriage.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 24 February 2014 at 9:08am GMT

The advice to the government was that if they retain civil partnerships as is then a legal challenge had a good chance of success.

The civil pact under French law has proved very popular with straight couples. Lord Lester'a original Bill intended CPs for all.

The arguments to include straight couples in CPs are overwhelming, the government has seemed determined to retain them, so I guess the outcome of consultation is clear.

I supported the view circulating at the time CPs were initially discussed that they should replace marriage as the gold standard leaving marriage as an add on. I am not so sure now .........

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 28 February 2014 at 10:30am GMT
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