On the subject of gay marriage

I was reading the paper at breakfast today–the Globe and Mail–and between a couple of blueberry-muffin bites I noticed that some society representing the “traditional definition of marriage” had taken out a full-page ad in the paper thanking people for moving to preserve “society’s values and moral rights”. (I’m being vague because I don’t have it here with me and can’t remember, and don’t know where to link to it on the Net. Sorry…)

At first I was angry at the complacent arrogance and hypocrisy of such a posture–“Thank you for assuming that our definition of marriage is right and everyone else’s is wrong because we’re such upstanding, righteous, moral citizens and of course we know exactly what’s right.”

But then I got to thinking about the whole concept of marriage, and what it means, and I wondered: what is the concept of marriage? There are religious and societal benefits, and there are legal benefits, and people are arguing over both.

Would it make more sense to have civil unions, and give same-sex couples the legal benefits of being married, and let the churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, etc. sort out the religious / societal aspects of marriage?

Discuss. :slight_smile:

Well seeing as the leglislation being discussed right now is talking about civil marriage and protecting the right of religious institutions to refuse performing ceremonies, I think the split you are discussing is already being done.

All this mucky muck seems to be surrounding the definition of the word marriage. To me it basically sounds mostly like a child crying “That’s my word you can’t have my word get your own.”

Tempest in a teakettle nonsense.
I aplaud the Government for standing up for teh charter and recognizing all of our citizen’s have rights, not just the ones the Majority pick and choose.

Well, the best argument against the civil-unions compromise was stated succinctly here by andygirl (I think quoting Lea Delaria) three years ago, and I haven’t seen anything to disprove it:

In addition, the same old stereotyping comes into play with this solution, but switched to the other side:

What makes everyone think that all churches are opposed to conducting same-sex marriage services? And if they don’t think that, why does the opinion of the (admitted) majority of churches that refuse to, rule over the rights of those that would do so? And what about gay believers like Sol Grundy and spectrum and andygirl – are they supposed to settle for a civil union, when their straight cohorts can get God’s blessing on their union in a church wedding?

I don’t have a shopping list of churches prepared to bless gay unions in one way or another, but the following is an incomplete summary:
[ul][li]Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches – full-bore gay weddings[/li][li]Universalist Unitarian Association – all local churches, or nearly so, will perform gay weddings[/li][li]Episcopal Church – as of 2003, local parishes are entitled to decide to bless gay commitment ceremonies, subject to approval of bishop of their diocese[/li][li]United Methodist Church – reviewing stance against it, strong movement for change, though also backlash against it (A Methodist will have to provide details on where they are.)[/li][li]Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – pretty much the same as UMC (Ditto on the disclaimer)[/li][li]Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. – same as UMC and ELCA, AFAIK (including disclaimer)[/li][li]Baptist churches – all are local independent churches, answerable to no one but their own congregations and God. Very small percentage of such churches, but including many large parishes, will perform gay weddings and/or bless gay commitment ceremonies[/li][li]Reform Jewish synagogues – will perform gay marriages[/ul][/li]
There may be others, but that’s what I know something of.

Oh, I know, Polycarp. I mean, I follow Anglican news, there’s all sorts of movement towards the sacraments of gay marriage (Anglicans already bless the unions, I believe). But I was thinking more of the people who are opposed to it. :slight_smile:

Man, I knew this had to have been done before… sigh

I believe certain Quaker denominations will marry gay couples.

You’re right, of course. Though as** Poly** points out, separate but equal isn’t:; thus even opposite-sex civil unions should not be called marriage by the state.

But you’re not confronting the real issue. Homosexuality is regarded by many people as sinful and they want it suppressed.

Or, for that matter, that all religions consider marriage to be a religious event.

(My religious position is that marriage is a civil contract.)

Exactly. If EVERYONE who was (shall we say) “joined” by a Justice of the Peace were considered to be in a **civil union ** and EVERYONE who was “joined” in a religious ceremony were considered to be married, I’d be fine with that; provided, of course, that NO one who had only a religious marriage would be entitled to any of the legal protections and advantages available to people in civil unions. Religious marriage would be strictly ceremonial for heterosexuals, as it now is for gay couples.

Note that nothing would stop people from doing both, if they so chose. But if you’re going to say that the word “marriage” is so inextricably intertwined with religion that the word should only be used to describe unions that all religions find acceptable, then the word marriage should be stripped of all civil meaning.

You can’t have it both ways.

Don’t forget the United Church of Christ! While different congregations have different stances on this issue, many do perform gay marriages.

I may have heard the radio (CJOB Winnipeg) wrong, but I heard that Canada is already looking into possibility of legalizing polygamy as it appears to now be on the table if marriage is going to be redefined by the government for gays.

No cite, but I am sure I can find one if needed.

It appears that I only caught the part where the conservatives say that marriage redefinition will go the way of polygamy, but the liberals say no.

I will still ask: Does this issue (Redefine marriage for gays -> Polygamy) have any basis in reality?

If this is too much of a hijak Kythereia, let me know and I will make a new thread.

Because the ones that are opposed make a big deal about being opposed, while those churches that favor it don’t tend to make a big deal about supporting it?

The proposed bill which would legalize same-sex marriage in Canada (the Civil Marriage Act) explicitly defines marriage as being between two people. Link. So polygamy will still be illegal in Canada even if the Civil Marriage Act passes. Unless the government amends the law again explicitly to allow polygamy…highly unlikely…the only way polygamy will be legalized in Canada anytime soon is if there’s another court challenge, and the Supreme Court of Canada decides that making polygamy illegal is also in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms…also highly unlikely, IMO.

::: makes note never to visit a deli in NYC lest he be mistaken for chopped liver ::: :frowning:

I was surprised to see a list of churches or religions that will either support it or tolerate it, as opposed to those that are completely against it. So, if God is against it, as some groups claim, I have to ask which God they speak for, and did they consult with him.

One point to bear in mind is that the Supreme Court stated in the Marriage Referece that Parliament does not have jurisdiction to enact a law creating civil unions. Parliament can only legislate on the topic of marriage. The provinces have jurisdiction over civil unions.

The significance of this point is that rights granted under federal law apply across the country, but there’s no guarantee that a right granted by one province (e.g. - civil unions in Quebec and Nova Scotia) will be recognised by another province (you know which one I’m thinking of - right, Ralph?). So in our federal system, a civil union cannot be the equivalent of marriage.