Sunday, 13 February 2011

(Not) tearing down the fabric of civilisation...

The government has announced plans to allow gay couples to get married within religious settings. They will also change the legal definition of marriage so that it isn't limited to being between one man and one woman. As you might expect, a variety of bigoted traditionalist interests are outraged.

However, I would like to draw the fundies' attention to this fact [emphasis mine];
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone is to propose lifting the ban on civil partnerships taking place in religious settings in England and Wales.

There are no plans to compel religious organisations to hold ceremonies and the Church of England has said it would not allow its churches to be used.
In other words, if you are still of the opinion - like Joseph Ratzinger - that gay marriage is one of the "most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good," that's your beef. You don't have to open your church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc, to "the gays."

However those from more enlightened denominations, such as the Quakers, are no longer barred by statute from allowing same-sex weddings in their churches.

This is not a case of the state dictating what religions should believe or how they should act, but of it stepping back to allow religious freedom. Because religious freedom, I might add, gives people the right to not be an uncompromising bigot as much as it gives them the right to be one.

Of course, this won't stop certain people from complaining. Such as Mad Mel Phillips, who equates schools acknowledging the existence of homosexuality with "McCarthyism" and the "abuse of childhood." Or Stephen Green of Christian Voice, who actively advocates the death penalty for sodomy. For them, subtle nuances such as - say - reality make little difference. The gays are at it again, tearing Christendom apart at the seams, and must be stopped. Ahem, all in the name of "freedom," of course.

But this is just further proof that such people are far beyond the fringes of rational debate. They don't deserve to be taken seriously. And when a barrier comes down that gives everyone the same rights regardless of their sexuality or any other harmless characteristic, we should applaud it.