The Mothers’ Union and Marriage

One of the most interesting submissions to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Same-Sex Marriage is surely going to be the one from the Mothers’ Union.

I’m not going to rehearse the articles that I’ve put up on this blog about the MU and its attitude to all things gay in the past, but suffice it to say that one of the search terms that seems consistently to drive traffic to this blog is “Mothers’ Union, Homophobia”. For better or for worse (to misappropriate a phrase from the marriage service), this is one of the places that people look to work out what the MU think about these issues.

One of the things that my friends in the MU have always said when I’ve appeared to be mildly critical of the organisation, is that the MU is passionate about supporting all kinds of families and has a special concern that marriage offers something holy and good to the world to strengthen family life.

It seems to me that the current consultation is quite a significant moment for the MU. Does the MU in Scotland actually support all kinds of families. Locally, MU leaders have always been insistent to me that they support stable gay couples and believe that the values they stand for are not just for straight people.

Well, it will soon be time to find out whether what they’ve been telling me is true. I’m quite hopeful. The MU has supported many a radical campaign in the past and they are an amazing bunch of people when they get behind something.

I’m fascinated to know whether the Scottish MU is going to get behind the equal marriage campaign. It seems absolutely designed for them doesn’t it? They say they support marriage. They say to me that they support gay couples. It will be great news for the church if that turns out to be true and they support the moves towards equal marriage and help the rest of the church towards acceptance. It could well happen – never underestimate the MU, is a motto of mine.

One of the things which might be a determining factor is whether MU High Command in London gets involved. In the past when I’ve gently chided the MU, Mary Sumner House in London has been on the phone complaining to my bishop very quickly indeed. (They don’t like their brand being commented on negatively. They actually call it their brand too). My impression, which might be right or might be wrong is that MU leaders that I know in Scotland have been reasonably supportive of gay clergy and several times such individuals have insisted to me that the MU round here is supportive of gay couples in relationships and gay families in particular. Whether that support exists in Mary Sumner House, I have my doubts. My fear would be that it is dominated by appeasers of less reasonable parts of the Anglican Communion. However, one often hopes to be proved wrong.

Well, we shall see very soon what values the MU in Scotland actually have in these areas. I can’t see how they could not respond the government consultation. It is right up their alley.

Here’s hoping that what they’ve always said to me in private round here turns out to be true in public in Scotland.

Scottish Government Consultation

Just to note with rejoicing that the Scottish Government has published its initial consultation on changes that are proposed to marriage law and civil partnership law in Scotland.

I’m sorry that the consultation makes repeated use of the phrase “same-sex marriage”. What I’m hoping for is opening marriage to same-sex couples. We need there to be one institution that is equally open to straight couples and gay couples.

Fortunately, the consultation does ask for comments on changes to the law that would achieve that. There are some proposals in it that would not achieve that, so careful responses are necessary.

The document is available here.

I now find myself wondering whether there needs to be some information meetings organised to help people to make informed responses.