Category : –Civil Unions & Partnerships

(NZ Herald) Anglican Church’s Christchurch branch votes for acceptance of same-sex marriages

The Christchurch arm of the Anglican Church has voted to push national leadership to pass a blessing of same-sex marriages.

A special meeting was convened at St Christopher’s church at Avonhead on Saturday, attended by about 250 people.

The purpose was to discuss and vote on what the synod’s position was on same-sex marriage, ahead of a general synod vote in May.

The general vote will be participated in by regional synods including the Christchurch diocese following a 2016 report prepared to pave the way for same-sex marriage within the church.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Stuff) New Zealand Anglicans to debate marriage blessings for same sex couples

Same sex couples may be able to have their marriages blessed in New Zealand Anglican churches under a divisive new proposal being debated by Canterbury diocese members.

Christchurch Anglicans are meeting on Saturday to discuss whether to allow same sex blessings in a debate that could split the church. A final decision on whether to adopt the proposal will be voted on by the national Anglican Synod, the church’s governing body, at a meeting in New Plymouth in May.

The proposal would allow each Anglican bishop to decide if same sex blessings were allowed in their diocese. In 2014, the New Zealand Anglican church defined marriage as being “between a man and a woman.” The decision meant same sex couples could not marry in Anglican churches. The new proposal would allow only for blessing ceremonies for same sex couples who were married elsewhere.

The proposal would also give each diocese’s bishop and clergy immunity from complaint if they refused to conduct blessings of same sex couples.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

(NPR) Same-Sex-Marriage Flashpoint: Alabama Considers Quitting The Marriage Business

[Republican state Sen. Greg] Albritton says he’s a traditionalist who believes marriage should be between one man and one woman. But he says since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Alabama’s system hasn’t worked.

“I disagree with that opinion. However, they make the law,” says Albritton. “I’m trying to accommodate that and trying to find a way that we can accommodate as many people and hurt no one.”

But not everyone agrees that the legislation does no harm.

“I just think it cheapens the value of the most sacred relationship in the world,” says Republican Phil Williams, the lone senator to vote against the bill.

“When you take marriage and you reduce it to a mere contract, it’s almost like you’re just doing nothing more than recording the deed to your property at the courthouse,” he says. “You’re just taking the contract down there and the probate judge is just the clerk.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

(RNS) In Germany, Some in the Roman Catholic Church grapple with blessings for same-sex marriage

The country’s Protestant churches already offer gay couples at least a blessing ceremony, if not a full church marriage, and even the main association for lay Catholics supports allowing blessings. While Pope Francis has ruled out approving gay marriage, he raised expectations of some kind of reform early in his papacy by famously asking “who am I to judge?” about gay people.

“Even though ‘marriage for all’ clearly differs from the church’s understanding of marriage, it is now a political reality,” Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, the deputy chairman of the German Bishops Conference, said earlier this month.

“We have to ask ourselves how we should deal with people who tie this knot. Some of them are active in the church. So how are we going to accompany them with pastoral care and in the liturgy?” Bode asked. “We could think about giving them a blessing.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Germany, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(Independent) Definition of marriage has now ‘evolved’ to include same-sex couples, EU court says

The European Union must compel EU countries that have not yet legalised same-sex marriage to recognise gay weddings held in other nations, a landmark legal statement from the EU’s highest court has recommended.

The European Court of Justice’s advocate general said in an official legal opinion on Thursday morning that there had been “evolution” in the societies of EU countries, and that the idea that “the term marriage means a union between two persons of the opposite sex can no longer be followed”.

If the advocate general’s recommendation is followed by the ECJ, EU citizens will be allowed to bring in their same-sex spouses from non-EU countries to live with them in any EU member states under free movement rules – a right some countries only recognise for opposite-sex marriages.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(WBUR’s On Point) The Divisions In Christianity Over Sex

Five hundred years ago, Christianity was split in two by the Protestant Reformation. Today, Christians are divided again. But this time, it’s not the authority of the pope or the nature of worship in question, it’s sex. What’s moral, what’s not; what the Bible says, what it doesn’t say. What does it mean to be a Christian in the midst of a culture war? Two sides, with dueling manifestos. This hour, On Point: sex and the future of Christianity. –Tom Gjelten

Read the rest and listen to it all (a little over 47 minutes).

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Polyamory, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology: Scripture

(Sunday [London] Times) New Bill could allow unmarried men and women to enter civil partnerships

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Women

(ABC) In Australia Same-sex marriage signed into law by Governor-General, first weddings to happen from January 9

Same-sex couples who have already married overseas will have their relationships recognised in Australia from midnight tonight.

After the drama and excitement of the same-sex marriage bill passing the House of Representatives chamber yesterday, the Governor-General signed off on it this morning.

Attorney-General George Brandis said couples had to give a month’s notice of their intention to marry, so the first same-sex weddings will be able to happen from January 9.

Senator Brandis said he became quite emotional when the bill passed and the public galleries erupted with cheers and singing.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(WSJ) Luke Goodrich on the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case–Religious freedom is for Christians, too

Most strikingly, a disproportionate share of religious freedom cases are brought by non-Christian minorities. The proportion of religious-freedom cases brought by Hindus was five times their share of the population in the six states under 10th Circuit jurisdiction. The factor was 10 for Native Americans and 17 for Muslims. The most underrepresented group? Christians, who were involved in only one-fourth as many cases as their share of the population.

That means that religious freedom protections remain especially important for non-Christian minorities. But it also raises a question: Why is there so much hand-wringing about a handful of religious-liberty cases brought by Christians?

This is because the political left applies a double standard. If religious liberty is invoked by a favored minority, it is legitimate. But if it is invoked by a Christian with traditional moral views, it is seen as an excuse for hate. Progressives engage in culture-war bullying when religious liberty would stand in the way of their social views. One of the Colorado state commissioners in Masterpiece Cakeshop called the Christian baker’s religious-freedom claim “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use—to use their religion to hurt others.”

But if religious liberty means anything, it means the right to live according to your beliefs when most people think you are wrong.

So when Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, stands before the Supreme Court Tuesday, he may have some unlikely allies rooting for him: non-Christian religious minorities.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(NYT Op-ed) Robert George+Sherif Girgis: A Baker’s First Amendment Rights

You need the First Amendment precisely when your ideas offend others or flout the majority’s orthodoxies. And then it protects more than your freedom to speak your mind; it guards your freedom not to speak the mind of another.

Thus, in classic “compelled speech” rulings, the Supreme Court has protected the right not to be forced to say, do or create anything expressing a message one rejects. Most famously, in West Virginia v. Barnette (1943), it barred a state from denying Jehovah’s Witnesses the right to attend public schools if they refused to salute the flag. In Wooley v. Maynard (1977), the court prevented New Hampshire from denying people the right to drive if they refused to display on license plates the state’s libertarian-flavored motto “live free or die.”

On Tuesday, the court will consider whether Colorado may deny Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the right to sell custom wedding cakes because he cannot in conscience create them for same-sex weddings. Mr. Phillips, who has run his bakery since 1993, sells off-the-shelf items to anyone, no questions asked. But he cannot deploy his artistic skills to create cakes celebrating themes that violate his religious and moral convictions. Thus he does not design cakes for divorce parties, lewd bachelor parties, Halloween parties or same-sex weddings.

Colorado’s order that he create same-sex wedding cakes (or quit making any cakes at all) would force him to create expressive products carrying a message he rejects. That’s unconstitutional.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NR) George Will Is Wrong about The Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

Now, let’s consider the facts of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. The gay couple eventually selected a rainbow cake to celebrate their nuptials. This decision was every bit as expressive as the White House’s decision to light up its façade. Given the context and the occasion, the meaning was abundantly clear to even the most casual attendee. There is no ambiguity here.

There’s a line, moreover, in Will’s piece that demonstrates surprising ignorance about weddings despite the fact that Will has undoubtedly attended countless ceremonies in his long and illustrious career. Who has ever said that a wedding cake was primarily food? No one wants the cake to taste like trash, but is that the reason that brides, moms, and wedding planners agonize over their cake choice? (Grooms are more likely to be indifferent.) No, they want the cake to be beautiful. They want it to be — dare I say it — a work of art. Rare is the person who attends the wedding reception eager to chow down on a piece of wedding cake. The common and nearly universal experience in weddings where the bride and groom have even the smallest budget to celebrate is the gathering of guests around the cake, to proclaim how “amazing” it looks, to admire the specific aspects that make it special, the “perfect” cake for the perfect couple.

In ordinary circumstances, the artistry of cake designers is so obvious that it’s presumed — the same with photographers, calligraphers, and florists. This obvious artistry is a reason why no one bats an eye when a baker refuses to design, say, a Confederate-flag cake. The message it is sending is staring you in the face. But a message may be implicit instead, present though not obvious, even if the artistry is. For example, does anyone believe that the prohibitions against sex discrimination would compel a fashion designer to create a dress for Melania or Ivanka Trump?

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(PD) The Christian Baker’s Unanswered Legal Argument: Why the Strongest Objections Fail

…[this] week, the Supreme Court will hear one of the most important free speech cases in years, a case of special concern to libertarians and conservatives, small business-owners, artisans, and religious believers. Masterpiece Cakeshop v.Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves Jack Phillips, a baker who claims a First Amendment right not to be compelled to design and create custom wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. Many legal commentators think the case is either a very close call or a certain defeat for Phillips.

In fact, Phillips’s case is very strong. It is based on freedom-of-speech doctrines favored by conservatives and liberals alike. One argument for Phillips in particular survives the best objections leveled in briefs filed by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, by the ACLU (on behalf of the couple who sought the cake), and by several constitutional law scholars.

That argument rests on the widely acknowledged principle that freedom of speech has to include the freedom not to speak. You aren’t free to express your convictions authentically if the state can make you affirm its own orthodoxies. Thus, for more than seventy years, in cases widely seen as more American than apple pie, the Supreme Court has said government can’t force you to say, do, or make something that carries a message you reject. Applying that principle, it has held that the government can’t force Jehovah’s Witnesses to salute the flag. It can’t force newspapers to carry columns by politicians criticized in their pages. It can’t force drivers to carry license plates with a state-imposed (though utterly banal) slogan (“Live Free or Die”). It can’t force companies to include third-party messages in their billing envelopes. Political majorities are entitled to enact their beliefs into law, but not to force dissenting minorities to affirm those or anyone else’s beliefs in word or deed. That would involve “compelled speech,” which is generally unconstitutional.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NR) David French–Stop Misrepresenting the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case Heading to the US Supreme Court

To the extent that Boylan engages with Phillips’s actual argument, she waves it away with a paragraph so specious that one has to read it to believe it:

Mr. Phillips certainly makes nice-looking cakes. But I’m not sure I’d call them artistic expressions, at least not in the same sense as, say, Joyce’s “Ulysses.” That argument demands that the court get into the business of defining art itself, a door the justices open at their peril. Is a well-manicured lawn a form of art by this definition? How about a lean corned beef sandwich? What would not be art if the court rules to protect icing and buttercream?

In this case, the complaining gay couple ultimately decided on a rainbow cake. Can Boylan not see that the cake clearly and unmistakably sent a specific message? There is a substantial difference between a rainbow symbol at an event celebrating a same-sex wedding and a corned-beef sandwich. Phillips isn’t comparing himself to Joyce, he’s making the painfully obvious point that there’s a viewpoint inherent in the expression his customers asked him to create — a viewpoint that a well-manicured lawn lacks.

Here’s the problem. If a writer squarely addresses the argument that Phillips actually makes, then she will soon run head-on to a sobering constitutional reality. Sexual revolutionaries are asking the Court to overturn generations of constitutional precedent to allow the state to compel American citizens to advance ideas they find reprehensible.

Boylan claims that Phillips is seeking special religious exemptions. To the contrary, sexual revolutionaries are seeking exemptions from the Constitution. They believe that same-sex marriage is so precious that even artists can be conscripted into the ceremony — despite their deeply held beliefs. They believe that the cost of entering the marketplace is not just the loss of your distinct artistic voice but the commandeering of that voice by your ideological foes to advance their ideological interests.

Read it all (his emphasis).

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Supreme Court, Theology

(The Tablet) Outcome of Australia’s same-sex marriage plebiscite will not end fight

Fr Frank Brennan, CEO of Catholic Social Services, wrote on the Jesuit-operated Eureka Street website on 9 November that wrote that with the return rate of the survey “a very credible 78.5 per cent” (compared with Ireland, where 60.5 per cent of eligible voters turned out to vote for same-sex marriage), the Australian vote in favour of Parliament legislating for same-sex marriage was likely to be even higher than the 62 per cent of Irish voters who in 2015 supported a change to the Irish Constitution recognising same-sex marriage.

“After Wednesday’s announcement, let’s hope we hear from some of our Catholic bishops repeating the sentiments of Archbishop Dermot Martin after the 2015 Irish vote: ‘The Church needs a reality check right across the board, to look at the things we are doing well and look at the areas where we need to say, ‘Have we drifted away completely from young people?’

“Wednesday will be a day of celebration for those wanting a ‘Yes’ vote,” Fr Brennan wrote. “It should also be a day when we Australians recommit ourselves to respect for all citizens, especially those whose beliefs differ significantly from our own. Our politicians led us into this divisive campaign. Now they need to lead us out of it with considered and timely legislation and a commitment to better protection of human rights for all.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

(ABC Aus.) Same-sex marriage Yes vote threatens to cause rift in Australian Anglican Church

While the Federal Parliament continues to debate Senator Dean Smith’s bill, which is expected to legalise same-sex marriage, the Anglican Church still deems it illegal to marry a same sex couple.

The Liberal Senator’s bill was introduced to the Senate after a majority of 61.6 per cent of Australians responded Yes to the national survey on same-sex marriage.

Bishop Gary Nelson’s diocese runs from Geraldton to the Kimberley, the majority of which falls into the electorate of Durack — where 59 per cent voted Yes to change the definition of marriage.

“As has occurred in America, for example where you’ve got two Anglican churches — one who disagrees with same-sex marriage and one who agrees.

“I think that would be a more likely scenario than it getting passed.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology