“The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together
in the delight and tenderness of sexual union.” How delightful. Having read through the wedding service from the Church of England’s Common Worship, it is strikingly exclusive and blatant in its perception of marriage. Marriage is about procreation. It is about conceiving and bringing children into the world.
And what of those married couples who are unable to conceive? It seems that the Church of England sees them as second class because they are unable to fulfil God’s will. I could understand such sanctimonious rubbish from the Roman Catholics because, as “celibate” men they have no understanding of women and married life. The C of E service is downright offensive.
And of course it’s offensive to me as a gay man. I don’t form part of their society or community. I am excluded from the “sign of unity and loyalty which all should uphold and honour” as Common Worship continues. Ultimately of course, the registration of marriages is a civil right delegated to faith groups, which could cause problems if marriage suddenly means something else. There’s a gay placard I’ve seen somewhere which says “Jesus hung around with twelve men and a prostitute. I have more in common with him than you”.
Marriage as we know it today is a Georgian social construct. Indeed if you read the bible you’ll see that many relationships are polygamous, not the conventional family model of today. You cannot populate a land with just one wife.
Marriage has evolved with society and it is now time for a further evolution. Marriage equality is about ensuring nobody is a second class citizen and that all loving committed relationships are valued. Once again the political campaign is years ahead of the faith groups that claim to represent communities.
Having attended a wedding a while ago I left the service feeling very small indeed. I didn’t expect to be greeted with open arms by the faith, but likewise to be told that I wasn’t even a second class citizen, I was a nobody, was deeply distressing. At one point in the ceremony you are asked to give assurance that you will support the couple in their marriage, knowing that, officially, such support is denied you.
The joyful thing is knowing that the couple do not accept that Church’s dogma and too have to suffer the inadequacies of a church belonging to a different era.