Speaking for marriage equality

November 24, 2016 23:03

Equality is not currently afforded in English law to lesbian women and gay men. While we can perform a Jewish marriage in our synagogues and act as civil registrars, we cannot act in the same way for a same-sex marriage in our place of worship. Rather, a lesbian or gay couple desiring a religious blessing on their civil partnership is forced to have two separate ceremonies in two separate venues. Allowing civil partnerships to occur in places of worship as proposed by the government is a small step which will permit ministers of religion and congregations to show their support for loving unions under one roof but there will still need to be two separate ceremonies.

I cannot understand why, when there is no compulsion involved in the planned legislation, religious bodies who wish to provide gay marriage equality with heterosexual marriage cannot do so. It merely allows those who wish to do so to open the doors – literally – to their houses of worship and sanctuary, so that gays and lesbians can celebrate their loving unions alongside their straight brothers and sisters.

We do so in the spirit of our prophetic tradition. The ancient Hebrew prophets recognised that ritual encouraged people to acknowledge the presence of God and to imbue their relationship with God’s blessing. Enshrined within that relationship, was the divine requirement that human beings establish justice in their lives and in the societies in which they lived.

Together with the Quakers and the Unitarians and Free Christians, we are seeking to uphold our religious freedom and individual rights. We urge the government to protect the rights of those who wish to provide complete marriage equality to lesbians and gay men as well as those who choose not to do so. Let us rejoice in the love and commitment of a same-sex couple in one seamless and meaningful occasion, enshrined in the law of this country and celebrated in the presence of God.

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November 24, 2016 23:03

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