My own response to the government

Phew, just finished writing my own response to the current round of consultation on changes to marriage law in Scotland.

This one is not about the principle of introducing marriage for same-sex couples but about how such proposals will be implemented.

It is more complex than you think because marriage law is more complex than you think!

Anyway, here is my response, if anyone is interested:

Consultation response Kelvin Holdsworth – March 2013

To save you time wading through it, here’s the most interesting thing I’ve said:

I believe that if someone is authorised to conduct a straight couple’s marriage then they should automatically be authorised to conduct marriages of same-sex couples. The law should apply equally to people and what has been proposed is not equality. For these reasons, I do not support the current proposals for determining who can and who can not conduct the marriage of a same-sex couple.

If churches wish to limit the ability of a celebrant to conduct a marriage then they should continue to be able to do that through their own internal disciplinary procedure.

I look forward to being able to celebrate marriages for same-sex couples one day in my congregation (St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow). I note with interest that once the state licenses marriages for same-sex couples, my own denomination (The Scottish Episcopal Church) will automatically have an authorised liturgy for blessing such couples – the service of Benediction, which is explicitly authorised in Canon Law for use with couples whose marriage is legal but which has not been performed according to the rites of the church.

The consultation closes on Wednesday. More details here:

Hold the Front Page

The Herald has a helpful story today (page 3, actually) about the movement that is building in Scotland for Equal Marriage. Equal Marriage means opening up marriage to same-sex couples on the same basis as opposite-sex couples. It also means that anyone who can currently conduct weddings should be able to conduct weddings on the same basis for same-sex couples as opposite sex couples and in the same locations. In short it means no discrimination in law between gay couples and straight couples wanting to get married. (Anything else ain’t Equal Marriage).

Anyway, the article can be found here. There’s a pic of me taken yesterday in St Mary’s. (No, that’s not a crown I’m wearing, its just the altarpiece behind me!)

There is an interesting allusion to a poll conducted by the Scottish Green Party:

A poll of 1000 Scottish adults conducted on behalf of the Scottish Green Party in April found that 58% agreed that same sex couples should have the right to marry, while 19% disagreed.

The bits quoting me are as follows:

The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, said he was strongly supportive of the idea. He said: “Anyone who can marry a couple currently should be able to marry same sex-couples.

“This is about justice for everyone. Civil partnerships have been a wonderful thing, but they are not equal; being separate isn’t being equal and the Government would be wise to move towards equality as soon as possible.”

He said the argument that allowing gay marriage could threaten the institution of marriage, was “a silly idea”. “I don’t think any gay couple have ever made a married couple feel less married,” he said.

There is also an editorial

Equality of treatment under the law is a much-vaunted bedrock of British society. So is marriage. Those who argue that the concept of marriage is weakened by extending it to gay and lesbian couples should consider whether the opposite might be true and that allowing same-sex couples to marry would be a public statement of support for the values they rightly cherish.