Comments: Very few religious same-sex weddings in England & Wales

Voices of the largest Christian Churches in England: "Gay and Lesbian sexuality is sinful and against God's will."

Gay or lesbian couple: "Christianity calls our tender love a sin. Hey, let's get married in a church!"

Do you see the logical problem with that?

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 12:47pm GMT

The 'provision' (*) made by the Churches is appaling and speaks for itself.

(*) it is effectively a near total lack of provision.

Why would couples bother with such indifferent religious bodies ?

They would have to be and ARE hugely in need of this, and committed to it.

Otherwise, lovely hotels and hassle-free officiants beckon ...

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 1:28pm GMT

The character of many marriages as flexible, interfaith and respectful of others' beliefs is being set because a high proportion of available places to marry is Unitarian. So this stance is impacting on how marriages are being conducted, and on this matter of 'regulating belief' the Anglicans by their avoidance have missed a trick.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 2:12pm GMT

It is hardly surprising, given the majority of Christians in England belong either to the Church of England or to the Church of Rome, that such Christians would rather marry in a register office or similar venue and then have a liturgy (however informal!) in their own church, than be married in a church of a different denomination with whom they have little or no relationship.

Posted by Liam Beadle at Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 4:55pm GMT

The Church of England in securing its 'exemptions' to same sex marriage nailed its colours clearly to the mast. Rather than 'safeguarding' marriage; for many, it has linked the whole institution with distasteful associations that many heterosexuals now equally don’t want to be a part of. Exclusion and rejection of individuals wanting to commit themselves to each other on the basis of sexuality and same-gender is simply bewildering. Perhaps Parliament in advancing this legislation should have framed it such, respecting the conscience of the Church of England, that its quasi-legal role of clergy acting as Registrar should have been suspended as it effectively excluded a now included minority. Conscience is conscience - but discrimination is still discrimination – and to frame that in law can never sit easy. Faced with a possible substantial loss of revenue as a ‘nationalised’ provider of marriages the Bishops might have found a better level of accommodation.

Posted by Mark at Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 5:18pm GMT

I am confused. "No takers" sounds like one expected more same-sex marriages than in fact are being requested.

Posted by CRS at Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 6:58pm GMT

PS to my comment: how many same-sex marriages have taken place in TEC? I know a few dioceses, where they are allowed, reporting very few at all. Have there been 500 same-sex marriages since 2015? 300? 150? I should think the statistics are not hard to find.

Posted by CRS at Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 8:07pm GMT

4 or 5 in my parish that I know of (I travel a lot, but I usually acolyte or play the violin or something at these weddings) and quite a few SSB's before marriage was allowed. I suspect, CRS, that the historically gay affirming parishes are doing them fairly often. And my guess is that parishes that haven't been actively gay affirming will get far fewer takers. Our weddings are legendary for beautiful liturgy, loving spirit, great music, and yummy food.

I'm not sure that the numbers of gay marriages need to be separated from marriages. Marriage is marriage. What is perhaps more interesting is the situation with gay clergy. I have heard of several cases where their bishops insisted that they get married, which is perfectly reasonable.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 29 November 2017 at 3:33am GMT

I know of one TEC diocese full of LGBTI advocacy where there has been one same-sex marriage since 2015. One.

My question is how widespread this is. Surely the numbers are available from TEC records.

Posted by CRS at Wednesday, 29 November 2017 at 12:25pm GMT

CRS - as a woman who sincerely longs and waits for the possibility of being married to her partner in her own Church, in the presence of God and God's people, numbers frankly doesn't seem the issue, availability and legal possibility do.

Principle is principle. Whether there are 2 takers or 20,000.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Wednesday, 29 November 2017 at 5:01pm GMT

In my diocese, I'm aware of between one and two dozen marriages for same-sex couples, either that I know or are acquainted with. I'm not actively involved with diocesan affairs (and this is a large diocese) and I'm sure there are many that I don't know about or would have any reason to know about.

I have serious doubts that the number of marriages for same-sex couples is easily available. In our diocese we list the number of "marriages" in our parochial reports without making any distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex couples. It would be virtually impossible to find out the numbers for each category.

It's possible that some dioceses break the categories down between the two groups but I've never heard of any doing so. Without accurate statistics from the dioceses, the national church wouldn't have accurate statistics, either.

Posted by dr.primrose at Wednesday, 29 November 2017 at 5:35pm GMT

The research is severely limited by the fact that it excludes Quaker and Jewish weddings. This is Hamlet without the prince. I don't understand why such flawed research has had any coverage.

Posted by Iain McLean at Wednesday, 29 November 2017 at 5:42pm GMT

The research is severely limited by the fact that it excludes Quaker and Jewish weddings. This is Hamlet without the prince. I don't understand why such flawed research has had any coverage.

Posted by: Iain McLean on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 at 5:42pm

This is appalling. I agree with Iain McLean.

However, I do not understand why this 'research' is flawed, like this-- what were the researchers and their supervisors / funders etc thinking of ?

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Thursday, 30 November 2017 at 6:22pm GMT

"Whether there are 2 takers or 20,000."

If there are only two takers, it means that LGBT folk in general aren't interested.

I think the church sometimes overestimates how important general culture thinks it is.

Posted by CRS at Thursday, 30 November 2017 at 8:52pm GMT

'If there are only two takers, it means that LGBT folk in general aren't interested.'

Think again, and think deeper. Gay people have been oppressed and hurt by the Churches , so why are you surprised when people are too afraid , lacking in confidence (and other reactions) to approach.

There is a. big apparent lack of interest, concern or sensitivity from many churches and individuals -- present company excepted-- of course !

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Thursday, 30 November 2017 at 11:55pm GMT

"too afraid , lacking in confidence (and other reactions) to approach."

My 'deep thinking' says this is incorrect. It overstates how critical LGBT folk think getting married in the CofE or elsewhere genuinely is.

You state without any evidence that LGBT folk are 'afraid' and 'lacking in confidence.' What if the opposite is true? They know what Christianity is and have no interest in it.

Posted by CRS at Friday, 1 December 2017 at 12:31pm GMT

Although probably nobody is reading this thread any longer, here is my answer to Laurie Roberts.

Qs and Js were outside the research design because they don't have to register their premises. Registered premises were the sampling frame. But it's a Research Methods 101 failure to exclude 2 of the only 3 groups that originally pressed for religious SSM. It would only have taken 3 phone calls to fix it: one to the Recording Clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, and one each to the chief execs of Liberal Judaism and Reform Judaism.

Posted by Iain McLean at Friday, 1 December 2017 at 1:14pm GMT

The C of E was not part of this study. Any guesses about "would if one could" are at this point simply guesses.

The study included a number of spiritualist religious sites registered for weddings. It seems to me that a study that is looking to religious attitudes but has to eliminate the largest religious bodies (and some of the smaller ones) from consideration is not worth much in getting an overall sense of things.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 1 December 2017 at 4:11pm GMT

"too afraid , lacking in confidence (and other reactions) to approach."

My 'deep thinking' says this is incorrect. It overstates how critical LGBT folk think getting married in the CofE or elsewhere genuinely is.

You state without any evidence that LGBT folk are 'afraid' and 'lacking in confidence.' What if the opposite is true? They know what Christianity is and have no interest in it.'

Posted by: CRS on Friday, 1 December 2017 at 12:31pm GMT

'They' ?

I am speaking from my own experience as a gay person, and a born-again Christian, over nearly 70 years,

I am speaking from my experience as an ordained person for nearly forty years, and of being with my partner, from age 22, until today, 'till death us do part'.

I have been working for our acceptance by the Churches, since before I was an undergraduate--- oh yes, we have long longed for this !

Our desire for to be married in church, before God and God's people, was not -- and is not to this day, something for which the Church of England is prepared to take care.

This is my experience, my witness.

For what it is worth -- I am one of millions world-wide and in the Church Expectant, and Triumphant, and it is clear that our witness to Christ in our lives and love, counts for little or nothing to a good many who wield power in the Churches.

2 Cor. 4 : 7- 18 is one of the Scriptures we turn to for assurance, strength and hope.

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Friday, 1 December 2017 at 4:38pm GMT

I agree with Iain that it would have been better if the Society of Friends, the Liberal Jews and the Reform Jews had each been contacted and asked to supply additional data. Perhaps it's not too late to ask them anyway?

But, surely even with the additional data, the main thrust of the findings would remain unchanged, i.e. only a tiny minority of religious locations are available for same-sex marriages to be solemnised, and only a tiny proportion of same-sex marriages have been religious in nature. And there is no reason to suppose this will change dramatically in the near future.

I really don't understand Tobias's reference to the CofE. The study was of facts on the ground. Surely it has not escaped his notice that the CofE (and the CinW) is (are) expressly excluded by the legislation from solemnising such marriages.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 1 December 2017 at 6:14pm GMT

Simon, what I mean is that the sample is not necessarily going to map to the wider population *because* the C of E is expressly omitted from consideration due to its inability to offer sites for marriages. My assumption is that all things being equal, the majority of same-sex couples who would desire religious liturgies in England are C of E or RC, simply on the basis of the population. Only a few of such couples would likely want to have their marriage celebrated in another church setting than their own. It seemed to me that some of the upstream comments appeared to be drawing a different conclusion from the data, which I think is unsound for the reasons I cite.

A more sound observation would be that few people are taking advantage of marriage in a very small sample of "Baptists, Buddhists, Christian Spiritualists, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Protestant Dissenters, Reformed Church of the Netherlands, Spiritualists, Unitarians, the United Reformed Church, and
other[s]" not including Jews and Quakers. Extrapolation to the general "religious" landscape is unwarranted. I don't know what portion of the English/Welsh population are adherents of these bodies, but I don't think they are representative of the population at large. So any comments about what this means for the C of E or "the general LGBT population" are likely not informed by this study.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 1 December 2017 at 8:04pm GMT

The Churches are not alone in obstructing couples, states also act against equality and human loving and flourishing.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/12/01/gay-couples-marriage-declared-void-by-greek-supreme-court/

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Friday, 1 December 2017 at 11:50pm GMT

"I am speaking from my own experience as a gay person, and a born-again Christian, over nearly 70 years"

Yes, this is your own personal take.

'They' refers to the vast swath of LGBT non-Christians who have no interest in following Jesus Christ and who find the language of 'born again' religious nonsense.

Posted by CRS at Sunday, 3 December 2017 at 12:09pm GMT

Yes, this is your own personal take:---

'They' refers to the vast swath of LGBT non-Christians who have no interest in following Jesus Christ and who find the language of 'born again' religious nonsense.

Posted by: CRS on Sunday, 3 December 2017 at 12:09pm GMT

I find your view of lgbt people and of my testimony rather dismissive.

For you, I sense , we will 'never do'.

LGBT folk are so keen for God that they have had to set-up churches and fellowships, having been thrown-out by main-stream churches.

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Sunday, 3 December 2017 at 8:27pm GMT

Mr Roberts: I just think you underestimate the lack of interest by non-Christians in the CofE and Christianity in general, especially when they can do what they believe is right and acceptable already and require no further confirmation from Christianity.

Posted by CRS at Monday, 4 December 2017 at 4:00pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.