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Old 16th November 2012, 07:52 PM   #121
MarkCorrigan
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
The answer is in the history books although you might wish to consider who wrote them. Surfice to say the last time we tried to register hindu marriages it didn't end well.
True. So we should abolish the rights to grant marriage contracts for all religious entities. Then no one can do it.

Originally Posted by geni View Post
Err the catholic church doesn't have any lords. Something to do with some 16th century unpleasantness.
It's a figure of speech. You're from the UK and you don't know the phrase "lording it over [x]"? Really? Is it a local thing?

Originally Posted by geni View Post
Err not remotely. A social contract yes but goverment involvement came far later. In fact the idea of recording the thing (rather than just relying on everyone in the local area just knowing) is in europe at least a church concept although that may simply have been a pratical responce to being involved with death (and therefore inheritance). State involvement is protestant concept.
Really?

Originally Posted by Wiki
There were several types of marriages in ancient Roman society. The traditional ("conventional") form called conventio in manum required a ceremony with witnesses and was also dissolved with a ceremony.[44] In this type of marriage, a woman lost her family rights of inheritance of her old family and gained them with her new one. She now was subject to the authority of her husband.[citation needed] There was the free marriage known as sine manu. In this arrangement, the wife remained a member of her original family; she stayed under the authority of her father, kept her family rights of inheritance with her old family and did not gain any with the new family.[45] The minimum age of marriage for girls was 12.[46]

Among ancient Germanic tribes, the bride and groom were roughly the same age and generally older than their Roman counterparts, according to Tacitus:

The young men marry late and their vigor is thereby unimpaired. The girls, too, are not hurried into marriage. As old and full-grown as the men, they match their mates in age and strength, and their children reproduce the might of their parents.

Where Aristotle had set the prime of life at 37 years for men and 18 for women, the Visigothic Code of law in the 7th century placed the prime of life at twenty years for both men and women, after which both presumably married. It can be presumed that most ancient Germanic women were at least twenty years of age when they married and were roughly the same age as their husbands.[47]

From the early Christian era (30 to 325 CE), marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter, with no uniform religious or other ceremony being required.[48] However, bishop Ignatius of Antioch writing around 110 to bishop Polycarp of Smyrna exhorts, "[i]t becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust."
Huh. Almost looks like...marriage as a legal concept was around before the Church. Interesting.
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Old 16th November 2012, 07:57 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Oh woe is the poor Christians who are being oppressed.

Name ONE categorically Islamic country that is a functioning democracy. Remember, Turkey is secular.

Name ONE categorically Hindu country that is a functioning democracy. Remember, India is secular.

Israel, I will grant you. I actually wish Israel would become secular.

ETA: I state functioning democracy because I don't think that the Islamic Republic of Iran is particularly big on personal freedoms of any kind. The UK on the other hand is meant to be an enlightened parliamentary democracy. Why is secularism such a bad idea for us?

No, the poor Christians are not being oppressed, but your perfect society would do that. So it's OK to do that because we're a democracy, though?

You're making two contradictory arguments. I said it was because we are a democracy that your authoritarian reforms will not come to pass. Because they wouldn't get past the ballot box. People can see when legislation is being brought in for purely ideological reasons, rather than to redress a real wrong or make people's lives better, and they tend to vote against people who do that.

Your ideal of secularism may well arrive, but if it does it should arrive by evolution, in such a way that the majority are reasonably in favour of it, and giving people and society time to adjust. This zealot idea of rushing in and changing everything to the way you want it to be is actually profoundly undemocratic.

Rolfe.
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Old 16th November 2012, 07:57 PM   #123
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There are two other BBC articles about the case (here and here). The reasoning of the employer seems to be that Mr. Smiths mentioned his employer on his Facebook account, and that people reading it might be confused and think it was the employer's opinion.

Really? Are they serious? First of all, only his Facebook-friends could read it. And secondly, who in hell would first see his name above the comment, then go to his profile and read his current employer and think it's the employer's opinion? If they were really upset about this, they could have simply asked him to remove their name and be done with it.

In general, I think the employer has no business in deciding what you do in your free time, as long as it doesn't affect your job performance, and has to stay out of it. Sacking someone for comments made in your free time is absolutely ridiculous.

As to the issue he commented on, my first reaction is "Meh". If a church, a private club, wants to throw a costume party for a man and a woman but not for two men or two women, that's their rules, and they're free to make them as they want. But then I'm from a continental European country where the only legal wedding is at town hall, and if you like, you may later go to church to have a church wedding as well.

The fact that in the UK, church weddings are recognized by the state confounds the issue, and gets you into conflict (well, not yet but soon) between the basic rule of law that private clubs may institute their own rules, even if they're discriminatory, while in the public sphere, discrimination is prohibited.
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Old 16th November 2012, 08:00 PM   #124
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Good summary, ddt. I think people are going to have to deal with it. I think some sort of general live-and-let-live compromise can be worked out, and we won't need a group of internet pundits declaring how everyone "should" be forced to conduct themselves.

Rolfe.
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Old 16th November 2012, 08:08 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Rolfe
Adrian Smith was merely expressing his own opinion in the debate, perfectly politely, on his private Facebook page...

For that he lost his job and 40% of his income at the age of 55,
I suspect there is a lot more to this case than that BBC article is telling us.

Huffington Post UK: Christian Adrian Smith, Demoted For Opposing Gay Marriage On Facebook, Wins Legal Fight
Quote:
Adrian Smith, 55, lost his managerial position, had his salary cut by 40%, and was given a final written warning by Trafford Housing Trust after posting that gay weddings in churches were "an equality too far".
Final written warnings are not commonly given out for a first offense.

Quote:
Matthew Gardiner, chief executive at Trafford Housing Trust said: "We fully accept the court's decision and I have made a full and sincere apology to Adrian. At the time we believed we were taking the appropriate action following discussions with our employment solicitors and taking into account his previous disciplinary record.
I bet he was a troublemaker, had numerous previous warnings, and this time the management thought he had gone too far. Unfortunately it seems they got bad legal advice, and didn't do enough to defang the situation. The result was a nasty surprise...

Quote:
Sadly, the first time we knew that court proceedings had been issued against us was when we read about it in the Press and we had little option but to defend our position.

Had I been his employer, I would have used a different approach. First we would have a private 'chat' about his (lack of) future in the firm if he continues down the same path, then I would offer him 'redundancy' with a generous severance package. As a self-described "lay preacher" and "full on charismatic Christian", he probably wouldn't have much trouble getting a job in that sector. That way everybody wins. We get rid of a bigoted trouble maker without having to worry about court cases and bad publicity, and he gets to save face and find a job that better suits him.
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Old 16th November 2012, 08:14 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
True. So we should abolish the rights to grant marriage contracts for all religious entities. Then no one can do it.
Yeah tried that. Didn't end well. Look I know that the history of the british empire can be rather boring at times but there are some useful lessons in there.

Quote:
It's a figure of speech. You're from the UK and you don't know the phrase "lording it over [x]"? Really? Is it a local thing?
Of course I know it. Its just that the use of the term in this situation is so ridiculous I couldn't believe you meant it in the normal context. Suggesting that the Catholic church is lording it over Hindus by conducting state recognised marriages is ah not consistent with any reasonable reflection of reality.


Quote:
Really?



Huh. Almost looks like...marriage as a legal concept was around before the Church. Interesting.
Sigh. there are two options here. Either you trace back to the start of civilisation in which case your selection of Rome is an intellectually indefensible arbitrary choice or Britain ceased to have any involvement with the Roman empire in 410 rendering it irrelevant to the history of marriage in England which didn't exist until 927.
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Old 16th November 2012, 08:14 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
No, the poor Christians are not being oppressed, but your perfect society would do that.
That's absolutely ridiculous. That is the most ludicrous thing I've seen from you. I really respect ou as a poster, you're a smart well informed person and I've rarely had any particularly large disagreements but...what? What the hell? Seriously, how is that oppression?

Ohh, stop me, I want secularism so that Christians aren't put in a position of power over everyone else! How oppressive of me!

Good grief, you're sounding just as bad as the cranks who think that banning Creationism oppresses Christians.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
So it's OK to do that because we're a democracy, though?
We're meant to be an enlightened Liberal Democracy, but we're still shackled to religious superiority. Again, I don't have any problem with people being religious, but I do have a major problem with specific religious institutions being given special rights that no one else has. Removing the special position that Christianity has in this country is not oppressing anyone. If you think otherwise then please do explain it to me, because I could use a good laugh.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
You're making two contradictory arguments. I said it was because we are a democracy that your authoritarian reforms will not come to pass. Because they wouldn't get past the ballot box. People can see when legislation is being brought in for purely ideological reasons, rather than to redress a real wrong or make people's lives better, and they tend to vote against people who do that.
Jesus christ on a bike would you stop with the histrionics? You're acting like I want to outlaw Christianity or shoot people for possession of a bible.

How do you get from "Strip them of their extra rights that no one else has so there is actual equality" to "You want to oppress Christians and you're an authoritarian!"

I mean seriously, authoritarian? Because I would like it if this country was secular? Boo hoo, I'm "taking away the rights of Christians". It's not like I'm advocating atheist superiority. Do you think that's what I'm doing?

I don't get why someone reasonable and rational like yourself would be taking the absurdly indefensible position that wanting to end the superiority of one group means I'm oppressing them.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Your ideal of secularism may well arrive, but if it does it should arrive by evolution, in such a way that the majority are reasonably in favour of it, and giving people and society time to adjust. This zealot idea of rushing in and changing everything to the way you want it to be is actually profoundly undemocratic.

Rolfe.
Good lord alive,you couldn't be more of a drama queen here if you tried. Is it because it's late or something?

I don't think that one person, even myself, should be allowed to come in and impose their ideas on anyone. That being said I also have a massive problem with the Christian religion being granted special status over literally everyone else. That's what I'm arguing against here. I'm arguing against Christianity being a special snowflake with lots of powers that no one else has. No, sorry, that isn't right. Tradition is an awful argument in favour of anything at all but especially against state certified superiority of one entity over another.

I don't like that Islam has such a powerful grip on places like Saudi Arabia either. I'd like that to be secularised as well. I'd like EVERYWHERE to be secularised one day, but I am not stupid enough to think that a country that is as socio-politically backwater as Saudi Arabia is likely to go for any level of secularisation. The UK on the other hand is a free, democratic and liberally democratic nation that is based on the principles of the enlightenment on one hand, and yet still has the yoke of religious domination in a number of it's most vital aspects. I'm a republican but I don't really care that much about our royal family because they don't really do anything or have any power, contrasted with Christianity, which does.
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Old 16th November 2012, 08:53 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Good summary, ddt. I think people are going to have to deal with it. I think some sort of general live-and-let-live compromise can be worked out, and we won't need a group of internet pundits declaring how everyone "should" be forced to conduct themselves.

Rolfe.
Thanks for the compliment.

I remember posting a couple of years back advocating that the UK separate secular and church wedding, and being shot down for it by all British posters, and now I see several British posters advocating just that. Times change.

Surely, from a legal standpoint, it would be easiest to untangle secular and church wedding; that way the state doesn't have to impose any rules whatsoever on what churches may or may not do. OTOH, that's a breach with cultural tradition.

It's not clear at all to me from the discussion what the current status is in the UK. Legally, you have different-sex weddings and, since 2005, same-sex civil partnerships. In the foreseeable future, there undoubtedly will be same-sex weddings, but at the moment, there's only a concrete law in the works in Scotland to realize that. All these are available to be performed at town hall.

But which churches are entitled now to perform (different-sex) weddings? I understand from the discussion that not all churches are.
- CofE (and CofS etc.) and the RCC
- other Christian denominations?
- Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc. denominations?
and if not, why not?

And which of these churches are entitled to perform (same-sex) civil partnerships? And if not, why not?
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Old 16th November 2012, 09:02 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Thanks for the compliment.

I remember posting a couple of years back advocating that the UK separate secular and church wedding, and being shot down for it by all British posters, and now I see several British posters advocating just that. Times change.

Surely, from a legal standpoint, it would be easiest to untangle secular and church wedding; that way the state doesn't have to impose any rules whatsoever on what churches may or may not do. OTOH, that's a breach with cultural tradition.

It's not clear at all to me from the discussion what the current status is in the UK. Legally, you have different-sex weddings and, since 2005, same-sex civil partnerships. In the foreseeable future, there undoubtedly will be same-sex weddings, but at the moment, there's only a concrete law in the works in Scotland to realize that. All these are available to be performed at town hall.

But which churches are entitled now to perform (different-sex) weddings? I understand from the discussion that not all churches are.
- CofE (and CofS etc.) and the RCC
- other Christian denominations?
- Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc. denominations?
and if not, why not?

And which of these churches are entitled to perform (same-sex) civil partnerships? And if not, why not?
Essentially any Christian church (maybe barring the more out there ones but I'm not sure on that) are allowed to marry me and a woman. I do not believe that Jewish religious institutions have the same power, and I know for a fact that Hindu, Sikh, Islamic and other religions have not got that power.

This is what I was arguing against that caused Rolfe to accuse me of being an authoritarian and wanting to oppress Christians.
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Old 16th November 2012, 09:34 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
Yeah tried that. Didn't end well. Look I know that the history of the british empire can be rather boring at times but there are some useful lessons in there.
Could you expand on that? I'm not aware of this. Napoleon separated church and secular marriage in most of continental Europe, and it seems to work out OK.


Originally Posted by geni View Post
Sigh. there are two options here. Either you trace back to the start of civilisation in which case your selection of Rome is an intellectually indefensible arbitrary choice or Britain ceased to have any involvement with the Roman empire in 410 rendering it irrelevant to the history of marriage in England which didn't exist until 927.
There's another recent thread that discussed the history of marriage and how it was a secular concept from the get-go, as far as we know. As for Britain, the Romans were the first civilization with written documents so we know with certainty how it worked; so that's a very defensible starting point. It doesn't help that you more or less suggest that Britain disappeared form the surface of the earth for 500 years.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:17 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
And which of these churches are entitled to perform (same-sex) civil partnerships? And if not, why not?
Are you really asking which religious organisations are allowed to conduct civil (ie non-religious) ceremonies?

If so, the answer is none of them.

Not just that, but those who can conduct them (civil registrars) are required to ensure there is no religious content (hymns, readings etc). This applies to both civil weddings and civil partnerships.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:23 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Essentially any Christian church (maybe barring the more out there ones but I'm not sure on that) are allowed to marry me and a woman. I do not believe that Jewish religious institutions have the same power, and I know for a fact that Hindu, Sikh, Islamic and other religions have not got that power.

This is what I was arguing against that caused Rolfe to accuse me of being an authoritarian and wanting to oppress Christians.
Hard to see how this position could survive a challenge under Human Rights law as it pretty clearly seems to breach some pretty fundamental equality concerns.

At that point there will be a choice between allowing all religions to conduct weddings or none. I suspect we will choose none.

Having been to a number of weddings in Europe where the civil and religious ceremonies were separated, no-one seemed to think they were being oppressed, including those who had the big Catholic ceremony.
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:13 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
If you post on facebook that your boss is a prick, you should be able to be fired, you make a comment that is relevant to your work, you should be fired if it is an opinion that would impact negatively on your ability to do your job.
I think that is a little over broad, I would want more context.

There is a difference between calling your boss a prick to your friends and making a billboard about it.
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:15 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
It may or may not work that way for him though. He can argue that this was religious based discrimination and as such would be protected in the us.

So as he was stating a religious position he could be protected at work.
Maybe, maybe not.

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Old 17th November 2012, 05:18 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Essentially any Christian church (maybe barring the more out there ones but I'm not sure on that) are allowed to marry me and a woman. I do not believe that Jewish religious institutions have the same power, and I know for a fact that Hindu, Sikh, Islamic and other religions have not got that power.

This is what I was arguing against that caused Rolfe to accuse me of being an authoritarian and wanting to oppress Christians.
But it would be wrong for a staunchly christian nation like Britain to recognize the religious services of such lesser people or something.
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:20 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Rat View Post
Ah, I see what you're getting at. Gay marriages are currently not recognized as such over here (we have civil partnerships as the 'separate but equal' kludge). I'm pretty sure that a wedding ceremony in a church would not be illegal as things stand, but the resulting marriage would not be recognized as such by the state. This is perhaps due to change within a single-digit number of years, which is why the chap was talking about it in the first place, and which is why the details of whether churches can be compelled to perform such ceremonies are being discussed.
Now this is the strange thing here in the US, it is not really the ceremony that marries you. I am certain that it is comparable in the UK.

-you receive a marriage license
-a qualified official signs the license
-you register the validated license

Officials may be recognized religious figures, recognized government and non government figures

What I think all this hoohah will lead to is the disestablishment of marriage in the US , it will become a strictly civil event that then has a ceremony laid on it.

Since we do not have state churches, no church will ever be compelled to preform a ceremony against its will. Hell they even require you to become a member of the church in some cases.
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Old 17th November 2012, 11:34 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Could you expand on that? I'm not aware of this. Napoleon separated church and secular marriage in most of continental Europe, and it seems to work out OK.
The problem was that people's parent's marriages obviously wouldn't be state registered.


Quote:
There's another recent thread that discussed the history of marriage and how it was a secular concept from the get-go, as far as we know.
The claim wasn't secular but state. Different concepts.

Quote:
As for Britain, the Romans were the first civilization with written documents so we know with certainty how it worked; so that's a very defensible starting point.
This two problems with it. Firstly most Britons wouldn't have been Roman citizens so their traditions are statistically irrelevant if you are limiting things to Britain. Secondly there are plenty of pre-roman societies which wrote things down.

Quote:
It doesn't help that you more or less suggest that Britain disappeared form the surface of the earth for 500 years.
No I didn't. Its just the roman influence was dead even before the start of the Heptarchy and england doesn't reappear until 927. As a result if you are limiting yourself to considering marriage in britian then you can't really start much before the late Heptarchy because there is no continious tradition before that (bits of scotland may be an exception).

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Old 17th November 2012, 12:15 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Now this is the strange thing here in the US, it is not really the ceremony that marries you. I am certain that it is comparable in the UK.

-you receive a marriage license
-a qualified official signs the license
-you register the validated license
No, not at least in Massachusetts where I was married two years ago. The marriage was not legal unless there was an officiant present, in our case a justice of the peace.
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Old 17th November 2012, 12:20 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
There is a difference between calling your boss a prick to your friends and making a billboard about it.
Indeed, what is so hard about - don't slam people on Facebook? What is so hard about - if you work for the government don't post controversial stuff on Facebook?

Facebook is for morons and if you post anything other than "that's great!" and/or "your kids are so cute!" you deserve everything that comes your way.
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Old 17th November 2012, 01:39 PM   #140
LondonJohn
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
No, not at least in Massachusetts where I was married two years ago. The marriage was not legal unless there was an officiant present, in our case a justice of the peace.

You're correct, and it's the same in the UK.

Perhaps some people are still confused by the definitions of terms. In the UK, there is a way for a heterosexual couple to have their union formally recognised by the state (and by the church if desired). It's called marriage. It requires a qualified, recognised celebrant (either a member of the clergy or a registrar) to conduct a ceremony in which the two participants make vows to each other in the presence of witnesses. They then sign a marriage register in front of the celebrant/registrar* and witnesses, and are then legally married. The institution of marriage confers certain legal rights and obligations upon the married couple, jointly and separately.

A heterosexual couple can choose whether they want to be married in a church (anglican or catholic) or a register office (or any venue licensed for weddings, provided that a registrar officiates). If the couple want (for example) a hindu wedding, then any religious ceremony must be coupled (otfen at a different time) with a formal register office marriage ceremony in order for the marriage to have legal status.

A same-sex couple cannot currently have a marriage. They can however have a different (but similar in many regards) form of ceremony called a civil partnership. This always takes place in a register office (or licensed venue), and also involves an exchange of vows in front of witnesses and a signing of a civil register. It is not, however, termed a marriage, and has slightly different legal rights and obligations to a marriage.

If a same-sex couple wants to have a religious blessing for their union, it can take place at the discretion of the religious establishment and religious celebrant (but there is no legal obligation forcing any religious establishment to perform such blessings). The blessing carries no legal weight whatsoever, if it takes place.

The current debate is whether to allow same-sex partners the option of marriage as well as civil partnership (and ultimately whether to phase out civil partnerships altogether in favour of marriages for all). In practice, this would have no contentious ramifications for same-sex couples who wanted to get married in a register office: it would merely involve a slightly different ceremony in front of the same registrar, the signing of a different sort of register, and the receipt of slightly different rights and obligations.

The issue causing all the fuss, however, is what would happen if/when same-sex couples wanted a church marriage. If a vicar/priest refuses to conduct such a marriage ceremony simply on the grounds of the couple being same-sex, (s)he will be breaking the law on discrimination grounds. Churches are saying that they do not want to be put in that position, and that the teaching of the church does not allow for same-sex marriages. The church is further claiming that the legal institution of marriage is so deeply intertwined with the religious sense of marriage that they oppose same-sex marriage even if it's in a purely civil context.

And in a nutshell(!), that's it. Of course, this is all just background to the real subject for debate in this thread, which has more to do with employment law and free speech than it does to the whole issue of same-sex marriage.

* One can have a marriage in a catholic church, but a catholic priest is not authorised to act as registrar, so a separate registrar must be present to presideover the signing of the register within the ceremony.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:05 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Since when did expressing the opinion that same-sex weddings in church are not something you favour become something worthy of being sacked over?
It isn't, which makes me suspect there is a lot more to this story than we have heard.
I find myself wondering if perhaps his employers had some other long term reason to demote him and this was the final straw or excuse they just latched onto.
Quote:
I'm seriously unclear in what way this opinion was related to his job anyway.
Me too.
Quote:
I look forward to the day I can attend the first same-sex wedding in my local church.
I don't. At least not if I have to kiss the bride. Unless there are two of them.
Quote:
I'm not holding my breath though, because I know a lot of people are very uncomfortable with the idea. The thought that these people could lose their jobs for saying so is absolutely horrifying.

Rolfe.
I think the actual issue of what he posted is irrelevant. What's worrying is the idea of being fired for posting personal opinions on the internet at all.

Considering some of the posts on this forum over the years, the idea that we can be fired for expressing opinions in public is disturbing.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:06 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Indeed, what is so hard about - don't slam people on Facebook? What is so hard about - if you work for the government don't post controversial stuff on Facebook?

Facebook is for morons and if you post anything other than "that's great!" and/or "your kids are so cute!" you deserve everything that comes your way.

That's far too sweeping a statement for this particular debate, in my opinion.

In fact, this is all about the correct application of employment law, and what might constitute grounds for dismissal (or even any sort of disciplinary procedure). If an employee does or says anything in a public environment that could resonably be construed as harmful to his/her employer, or against any employee or group of employees, then it's perfectly lawful to enforce disciplinary procedures, up to and including summary dismissal.

If, for example, I posted on FB that my company were terrible at what they did,and that if I were a potential customer I should look elsewhere, then that would be legitimate grounds for severe disciplinary action. Likewise, if I was at work-related drinks party and I mentioned that my boss was an incompetent buffoon, that could land me in trouble. Likewise if I was publicly identified with a neo-Nazi organisation. Likewise if I worked for an astrology-writing company, and I posted that astrology was nonsensical charlottanism but that I enjoyed churning it out for deluded customers.

But to express an opinion that could reasonably be described as non-extremist (regardless of whether you agree with that opinion or not), which is totally unrelated to your line of work, your employer, or any particular employee or group of employees, cannot reasonably be construed as grounds for any disciplinary action whatsoever. And in this particular instance, the courts found (quite correctly, in my view) that these comments were not extreme, not inflammatory, and fell into the category of fair comment/opinion. That I disagree with this man's opinion is of no matter - the courts may have disagreed with his opinion too. But that's not what was at issue here. The courts agreed that he should have the right to hold this opinion, expressed in a polite and non-inflammatory way, without suffering any employment repurcussions.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:10 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
It isn't, which makes me suspect there is a lot more to this story than we have heard.
I find myself wondering if perhaps his employers had some other long term reason to demote him and this was the final straw or excuse they just latched onto.

In law, it really isn't important whether he had a poor prior disciplinary record (and indeed it sounds on the face ofit as though he might have done). The point is that this particular activity should not have caused him to face any sort of disciplinary action, whether or not he was on a "last warning" status.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:29 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post

A heterosexual couple can choose whether they want to be married in a church (anglican or catholic)
Or any other branch of Christianity (Nonconformist, for example). In fact, any religious building, provided the priest or minister is licensed appropriately.
Quote:
* One can have a marriage in a catholic church, but a catholic priest is not authorised to act as registrar, so a separate registrar must be present to preside over the signing of the register within the ceremony.
I believe Catholic priests, as well as minister of other religions, may be licensed to act as registrar, so a second person is not required in that case.

From the CAB:
Quote:
Where can a marriage take place

A marriage can take place in:-
  • a Register Office
  • a church of the Church of England, Church in Wales, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian or Roman Catholic Church in N. Ireland
  • a synagogue or any other private place if both partners are Jewish
  • a Meeting House if one or both partners are either members of the Society of Friends or are associated with the Society by attending meetings
  • any other religious building provided that the person marrying the couple is registered by the Registrar General - see under Religious marriage ceremonies (England and Wales only)
    ...

Religious marriage ceremonies (England and Wales only)

The Church of England and the Church in Wales are allowed to register a marriage at the same time as performing the religious ceremony.

Ministers and priests of all other religions can be authorised to register marriages and must have a certificate or licence to do so from the local Superintendent Registrar. For Jewish and Quaker marriages, the authorisation is automatic. For all other religions, if the official performing the ceremony is not authorised, either a Registrar must attend the religious ceremony or the partners will need to have separate religious and civic ceremonies.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:55 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by Rat View Post
The reason that banning kosher and halal slaughter is impossible, and cannot be countenanced under any circumstances, is because the animal must be without blemish, and a bolt to the head would indeed be a blemish.


Ah... what? We do halal slaughter in this country with the exact same electric bolt that's used for normal slaughter.

I think your Muslims are taking you for a ride.
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Old 17th November 2012, 03:06 PM   #146
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WTF? Doing something silly like firing over such a remark is not the way to handle a silly remark. It would be quite a stretch to call such a remark hateful - it seems like the typical conflation of thinking that if same-sex marriage is legal, that churches are required to marry gays and recognize their marriages in churches, and that all gay people must be atheists because they don't agree with the sects of his religion that say they're sinning. Unless he was working for a gay organization, I can't possibly imagine how this would be worthy of firing.
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Old 17th November 2012, 03:08 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
Ah... what? We do halal slaughter in this country with the exact same electric bolt that's used for normal slaughter.

I think your Muslims are taking you for a ride.
I could go on about this for some considerable time (and Rolfe could go on for longer), but I concede that it was perhaps already too much of a derail.
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Old 17th November 2012, 03:31 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
I suspect there is a lot more to this case than that BBC article is telling us.

Huffington Post UK: Christian Adrian Smith, Demoted For Opposing Gay Marriage On Facebook, Wins Legal Fight
Final written warnings are not commonly given out for a first offense.

True, but people aren't commonly demoted for expressing personal opinions privately, either. This clearly isn't a "common" situation. Anyone able to weigh in on Employment Law in the UK?

Were it in NZ, a final written warning can come only after a verbal warning and a written warning, but these warnings need not be for the same behaviour.



Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
I bet he was a troublemaker, had numerous previous warnings, and this time the management thought he had gone too far. Unfortunately it seems they got bad legal advice, and didn't do enough to defang the situation. The result was a nasty surprise...
That's quite an assumption you've leaped to there...



Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Had I been his employer, I would have used a different approach. First we would have a private 'chat' about his (lack of) future in the firm if he continues down the same path, then I would offer him 'redundancy' with a generous severance package. As a self-described "lay preacher" and "full on charismatic Christian", he probably wouldn't have much trouble getting a job in that sector. That way everybody wins. We get rid of a bigoted trouble maker without having to worry about court cases and bad publicity, and he gets to save face and find a job that better suits him.
Presuming, of course, he was a "trouble maker".
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Old 17th November 2012, 04:23 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
In law, it really isn't important whether he had a poor prior disciplinary record (and indeed it sounds on the face ofit as though he might have done). The point is that this particular activity should not have caused him to face any sort of disciplinary action, whether or not he was on a "last warning" status.
In law, the outcome of the case suggests you are right.
In reality, as I don't doubt you are aware, things can be different.
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Old 17th November 2012, 04:50 PM   #150
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I think his employer should just have had a quiet word with him to explain that his comments could make his coworkers uneasy. And that as someone who deals with housing it is unwise to say anything against any group of people lest he be accused of bias.

That said, I don't give a **** about bigots. Nor do I think we should pander to (tolerate) them or their feelings. They want some people to be treated as 'less than' others. What is there to respect about them?

I am also 25 so maybe it is a generational thing but I have only once heard someone say this was a christian country. And he was a bit of a nut (believed the ten commandments meant you weren't allowed to defend yourself when assaulted) and an RE teacher. He insisted this was so despite the majority of our year telling him they couldn't give a **** about religion.

This is a secular country IMO. The government and the church should not mix.

Rolfe, why would it be wrong for christianity to be treated like all the other religions? How would equality be unfair? As a non christian Brit the current system means I have less rights than christians.

If everyone legally gets married at the registrars office then churches would have no fear that they might have to perform gay weddings. Christians could have their religious ceremony afterwards *like everyone else*.

Also, gay marriage isn't illegal it's just nothing. It carries about the same weight as acting out the nativity. If it were illegal there would be a penalty for doing it. It has no legal standing.
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:03 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post


Presuming, of course, he was a "trouble maker".
Well, if he was on a final written warning, there was clearly something going on (not saying he was necessarily a troublemaker), and the facebook comment may have been (wrongly) interpreted as the last straw. Whether the employer was merely over-sensitised or actively looking for further infractions we can't say.

I haven't followed this case closely, but I did see the guy on TV after the judgement, and noticed that he chose not to speak himself but had a prepared statement read out by a representative from the Christian Institute, which struck me as slightly odd. The employer was clearly wrong in this case, but it's nothing to do with whether Christians are being persecuted or not.
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:11 PM   #152
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No, it IS a Christian country because the C of E is our national church.

That doesn't mean most people care in the slightest.
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:11 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Well, if he was on a final written warning, there was clearly something going on (not saying he was necessarily a troublemaker), and the facebook comment may have been (wrongly) interpreted as the last straw. Whether the employer was merely over-sensitised or actively looking for further infractions we can't say.

I haven't followed this case closely, but I did see the guy on TV after the judgement, and noticed that he chose not to speak himself but had a prepared statement read out by a representative from the Christian Institute, which struck me as slightly odd. The employer was clearly wrong in this case, but it's nothing to do with whether Christians are being persecuted or not.
Apparently everything that happens to christians is them being persecuted. Especially asking them not to discriminate against others. It's gotten to the point that if someone said the word persecution to me in person I fear I might punch them in the face as a reflex. "I do apologise old chum, that word appears to be a trigger. Darned inconvenience, wouldn't you agree? You were saying...?"
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:14 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
No, it IS a Christian country because the C of E is our national church.

That doesn't mean most people care in the slightest.
C of S here. I suppose I just don't see how it could be considered a christian country if christianity has nothing do do with how it's run. It seems to be in name only.
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Old 17th November 2012, 05:17 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by DreamingNaiad View Post
C of S here. I suppose I just don't see how it could be considered a christian country if christianity has nothing do do with how it's run. It seems to be in name only.
True about the C of S in Scotland.

Of course, I don't even have a massive problem with it being a christian country in name only if it doesn't mean anything practically. Of course with the Lords and the heightened level of powers wielded by the Christian churches (and Jews too, apparently) that isn't currently the case.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:36 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
No, not at least in Massachusetts where I was married two years ago. The marriage was not legal unless there was an officiant present, in our case a justice of the peace.
I included that under 'an official signs', so you have to have a religious ceremony? I was married by a judge, they preformed the civil ceremony and signed the license. I believe they can sign the license with no ceremony and in your presence.

I am not sure.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:37 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Indeed, what is so hard about - don't slam people on Facebook? What is so hard about - if you work for the government don't post controversial stuff on Facebook?

Facebook is for morons and if you post anything other than "that's great!" and/or "your kids are so cute!" you deserve everything that comes your way.
I find it useful to talk with my family and friends, posting vacation pics and the like. I block all apps and hide lots of crap.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:40 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
Ah... what? We do halal slaughter in this country with the exact same electric bolt that's used for normal slaughter.

I think your Muslims are taking you for a ride.
I thought full kosher/halal required a knife?
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Old 18th November 2012, 07:44 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
As an American, I side with the employer because the content of the speech is irrelevant. Every citizen enjoys the right to say his mind. As this guy did. Nobody pulled down his post or shot him. But having had his say he has no power to force anyone else to accept it, or act on it, or not act on it. You want to call your boss a dork? Go ahead, you have that right. And he has the right to fire you for it.

American ethos is against the notion of having your cake and eating it also. The right to free speech does not come with the right to immunity from reaction to your speech.
...from other private citizens. Government silencing you, on the other hand, also happens.
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Old 18th November 2012, 11:08 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post

......

And the problem in many cases is what the employer has documented. Especially with the term 'breach of contract', in the US that can mean something very serious.

"The father-of-two's Facebook comments were not visible to the general public, and were posted outside work time, but the trust argued he broke its code of conduct by expressing religious or political views which might upset co-workers."

.......
That does not work for me as he may be attending a certain church which regards homosexuality as deviant behavouir. So would he now have to keep his religion a secret or else risk the sack? What would happen if a co worker saw him going into his church and then told others? Would he get the sack for attending the church? Or should the co-worker who saw and told be the one to get the sack?
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