It was a long old weekend for me as I embarked upon celebrating the nuptials of my dear friends Benjamin and Sam. They met in modern times - online on a dating websites and fell in love almost immediately. Certainly, they are one of my favourite couples: zero drama, lots of fun and they give me faith that true love really does exist. I was flattered to be chosen as one of the lucky one hundred people invited along to their wedding in South Devon, and the joviality of an amalgamation is something I find to be totally beautiful.
I returned to read the news that the Church of England have delivered a letter in which are threatening to split from the state in response to the Government's consultation on legalising same-sex marriage, which will close this week. This is the world's shittest threat, if you ask me. It's about time there was clear separation. Let's hope this does it. "You can't legalise gay marriage! If you do, we shall separate from the state!" Cue shrugs all round the country. This is an organisation that few people care about making a threat that most would welcome.
The Church of England heads claim that a law to allow same-sex weddings will destroy the institution of marriage for future generations. They claim it will lead to a constitutional crisis, arguing that human rights legislation will force churches to treat gay couples asking for a wedding in the same way they treat heterosexual couples. How does allowing more people to get married undermine marriage? Why have the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and co not been arrested for being so blatantly homophobic with their comments? In fact, they're obsessively homophobic, given the fact that there is no evidence that the recognition of long-term same-sex relationships has any impact on the institution of marriage for heterosexuals.
There are currently three million children in Britain who are living in single-parent households, yet the Church of England think that a few thousand gay couples are going to ruin the institution of marriage? Well, having spent the weekend in the company of couples of all ages; married, engaged or simply dating, I can tell you that the introduction of civil partnerships has not rocked their boat at all. This weekend's ceremony was a Humanist Ceremony. This means that it didn't hold any religious connotations. Instead of reading out your vows out loud to God, you instead announce your solemn intentions to your loved ones and closest friends. Sound familiar? They celebrate their commitment to each other exactly where they like, when they like, with who they like and how they like - just like Civil Partnerships should be allowed to. Marriage is not solely a religious institution. For most it isn't at all.
It is not a good look for our country to still have the Church as legislators. I can't think of a less religiously-minded nation in Europe than England. We just don't give a toss about being told what to do by people in silly hats. So to write such a letter to the Government opposing same-sex marriage is ridiculous. Considering David Cameron has promised they won't even have to perform same sex marriages (although this is a bit of a fib he's told them), why the fuck have they got such sandy vaginas about it?
I have no problem with religious people. I have no reason to and I do believe in God (or a higher being that created us) but I do resent the influence organised religion has. Especially when they try to force their views on others and preach intolerance. Live and let live. It's not gay marriage, it's marriage. Or it should be. The essence of Christianity is to love thy neighbour and if you believe marriage to be one of the bedrocks of society and you accept that gay people exist and aren't going to go away - which they do and aren't - then why wouldn't you support gay marriage? Every time some church or other bangs on about 'destroying the institution of marriage' it just raises questions and proves they're ill equipped to answer without resorting to "something something, God something".
Heterosexuals have been driving marriage into the ground for decades anyway. Marriage is becoming less and less of a religious ceremony. We could one day be down to one percent of marriages taking place in a religious setting and the Church would still see fit to talk about it as though it was their personal property. I find it very amusing that an organisation so concerned with the sanctity of marriage was in fact founded because a King wanted a divorce. This is a Church who is saying gay marriage would redefine what marriage is, when redefining marriage was the sole reason the CE was created.
It has always left me confused how the modern Church Of England's position on homosexuality is a benign acceptance. Marriage as a concept predates Christianity, if not all religions. The idea that gay couples should be happy with civil partnerships and that asking for gay marriage is somehow taking liberties is totally insulting. Ironically, I'm sure that the church would happily marry gay people if it was a gay man marrying a gay woman. . We have gay priests and even gay men being nominated as Bishops in this country so it's perfectly understandable to imagine two gay Christian's wanting to marry in a church. There isn't a single argument against gay marriage at all that stands up to even the slightest scrutiny.
The thing that amazes me is the people opposing it not realising just how laughably stupid they'll look in years to come. This will be for our children a subject no different at all to looking back and saying there should be no mixed race relationships. Unreal to ever think it was an issue. There are plenty of gay Christians, why should they not be allowed to marry in a church - even if that church will condemn them to hell should they want? That's because - unlike the out-of-date Church - to the modern-day Christian, religion is a pick and mix, where you decide which bits you'll follow and which you'll ignore as it would be impossible to follow all the rules set in a book written thousands of years ago
I am certain that future generations will look at the year homosexual marriage was allowed and be unable to understand why it was ever banned. Thankfully the Church has become such a small minority that it does now hold little influence in a Government body that usually does extremely well at being sensible and reasonably modern. There's a lingering stench of the Church in Britain's legislature, but it is all but powerless to influence even minor issues. Let us hope that by the Government still including it, that it actually lessens its grip because it has more of a platform from which it never ceases to alienate itself further from common sense.