Sunday, 13 February 2011

Gay Marriage: Promises Promises

The Sunday Times have quite a scoop splashed on its front page - that's if it's true;
'Gays will get right to marry - Church of England to come under pressure as new marriage law reforms give homosexual couples the same right to marry as heterosexuals'
"Gay men and lesbians are to be given the same right to marry as heterosexual couples under marriage law reforms expected to be announced this week.
"The historic change will end the legal definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. A gay man would be entitled to call his spouse his husband, while married lesbians would be able to describe themselves as wives."
But they only back this up with a quote from an anonymous "Whitehall source" - who's actually a bit more vague.
"This is not just about gay rights but about religious freedom. Quakers and liberal Judaism want to do this. Attitudes have changed to gay marriage. We are going to look at what legislative steps we could begin to make gay marriage possible.”
So the government are just "going to look at" it?
Big deal - and various key Tories and Lib Dems have already said they're prepared to "think about it".
A pledge the Conservatives also made
in their Equalities Manifesto launched during the election campaign; "We will also consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage."
Other papers, like The Observer today, are only saying that civil partnership ceremonies are likely to be allowed to be conducted in churches.
"The Coalition government is considering a change in the law to allow gay people to have marriage-style ceremonies in places of worship.
"Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone is expected to announce later this week that a ban on civil partnerships being conducted in religious venues is to be lifted."
The Observer adds; "It was not clear to what extent the change in law would allow civil partnership ceremonies to be brought into line with traditional weddings between heterosexual partners, or whether the term "marriage" would be officially used."
The Sunday Telegraph are also writing of (warning about?); 'Same-Sex Church Weddings', which they've put as the lead story on today's frot page, and have bizarrely called it an "exclusive".*
As the exact same headline 'Churches 'could host civil unions' appears in countless local papers websites, Fagburn assumes this is the official line/press release from The Equalities Office (It's not on their website, though).
The Independent On Sunday take a different angle; 'Resistance Mounts To Gay Couples Being Allowed To Marry In Church'.
But the IOS actually mean, not gay marriage but; "allowing same-sex couples to have their civil partnership ceremonies in religious buildings".
Interesting to note how common it is becoming to call civil partnerships "marriage", something that Fagburn believes is bringing gay marriage ever closer.
The government's Equalities Office is expected to make their announcement in a week or so.

* Note The Telegraph uses the word "Same-sex" not "gay" in its headline. Because of the economy of page layouts headlines normally use as short words as possible, and often invent abbreviations.
The Telegraph is the only UK newspaper that in its style guide advises journalists to use the word "homosexual".
The Daily Telegraph Style Books states; "gay: permissible in headlines if essential but use homosexual in text."
So Fagburn presumes in this instance they decided they didn't want the dreaded g-word screaming out on the front page...


  1. The Sunday Mirror only mentions the right to marry in church - but adds that straight people may be allowed to apply for civil partnerships...

  2. Lots more nonsense about this in Monday's paper - so lots to say.
    Will be blogging later...