Gay marriages are here and this is what I’m celebrating

Equal Marriage CouplesThe big day is here. Marriage has become equal marriage and my gay friends now have the chance to join the club, should they choose to do so.

It is still quite remarkable that it was less than two and a half years ago that government ministers announced that a consultation would be held on how to introduce same-sex marriage before 2015. This timing more or less coincided with the formation of this blog and for the duration of Equal Marriage’s passage through parliament I’ve been following it and commenting along the way. Today’s piece will be my 34th on the subject. That accounts for 8 per cent of all my posts which probably means I’ve been writing about it too much. We’ve come a long way in a short period of time, especially by political standards and it’s been helpful for me to go back over some of my old posts and mull over what’s been achieved along the way.

It’s not too difficult to find media articles like this one telling us why everyone should be celebrating that gay marriage is now part of our society’s make-up. Of course not everyone will be celebrating this move and some have been and will continue to oppose the very nature of marriage between two people of the same sex. I’ve made it clear through previous posts that I have been critical of the way the equal marriage legislation has passed through parliament, but I am in agreement with the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday when he said “I think the church has reacted [to the introduction of equal marriage] by fully accepting that it’s the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.”

Even though I hold what would be described by many as an evangelical position on marriage, I don’t see the point in this case of fighting what has come to pass.  Instead I’d like to focus on some points I would rather celebrate that have resulted from the Equal Marriage Bill.

  • Despite some very heated exchanges between the opposing sides, I don’t get the impression that the somewhat artificial Christians vs Gays strains have become worse over the last two years. In fact I’m inclined to believe that things are now better than they have been previously. There has been a concerted effort by a number of Christian leaders to apologise for the Church’s attitudes towards gay people in the past. I am sure there were a great number of Christians who agreed with Justin Welby when he stood up in the House of Lords and said, “Although the majority of Bishops who voted during the whole passage of the Civil Partnerships Act through your Lordships’ House were in favour of civil partnerships a few years ago, it is also absolutely true that the church has often not served the LGBT communities in the way it should. I must express my sadness and sorrow for that considerable failure.” The invite of gay-rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell to Lambeth Palace was a significant move and having Pink News publishing an article by the Bishop of Buckingham yesterday is an example that the lines of communication have been far from severed.
  • This process has caused Christians and churches to reflect on their attitudes towards gay people. It has been a platform for the liberal and inclusive wings of the church to openly reach out to gay people, but other churches to have stopped to consider how welcoming they are too. There has been a lot more obvious debate within the church on a Biblical understanding of sexuality than I was aware of when civil partnerships were introduced. And this has been as much at a pastoral level as a theological and academic one. Gay Christians have had chances (although maybe not enough) to tell their side of the story too. I’ve witnessed walls coming down rather than being built up and an acknowledgment that this is far from a black-and-white issue.
  • Those who opposed the Equal Marriage Bill have by-and-large been gracious in defeat. There has not been a backlash since the legislation became law. Churches have been reminded of how little influence they now exert on society and that if it chooses to go in a particular direction, they need to live with it and adapt accordingly, even if they do not agree or approve. If it blows away any remaining illusion that this is an inherently Christian country and that the Church can take its position for granted, then that is no bad thing.
  • On a personal note it has been a revealing journey. I have had to grapple with my theological beliefs and go back to basics and reconsider some of the assumptions I have had. I’ve been challenged repeatedly over my views and realised that some have been unhelpfully hard-hearted. Through this blog I’ve been able to get to know some wonderful people from across the spectrum, who have helped me to appreciate the frustrations and difficulties that gay Christians in particular face. It’s forced me to make an effort to listen and try to be less judgemental towards those I disagree with. My faith in God and the Bible has become stronger as I’ve wrestled and prayed. I still don’t feel that I have all the answers – I think I would be arrogant if I did, but I now find a lot of issues relating to sexuality and relationships are clearer in my mind and that I am able to live more easily with the unresolved tensions. Most of all it has stirred up my desire to see a Church which is overwhelmingly welcoming whilst at the same time remains consciously faithful to God, even if that means going against the flow. I hope and pray this will be the same for others too.

The 29th of March 2014 will be remembered as an eventful day in the history of this country. There will be more to come. The Church has plenty still to work through when it comes to its dealings with same-sex marriage and there will be pain along the way. But today is one where we need to remember, no matter what our views, that our society still cares about marriage, and that surely is a good thing.

 



Categories: Archbishop of Canterbury, Church, Homosexuality, Marriage

Tags: , , , ,

70 replies

  1. Great article my friend. Once again you show why this is your thing to do.

  2. A great piece Gillan. Thanks for putting out your thoughts.

  3. Rebellion against God rarely goes well, and never well in the end.

    • …and yet here we are. Seems to me if we got through several centuries of Christians burning each other for differences in theology, we can probably get through this.

  4. Thanks for this. It is comforting to know that others are also grappling with the issue and the theological tensions within it. I too don’t feel like I have all the answers or know where I will end up but like you I’m continuing to search for them, hopefully with a compassionate attitude to all sides.

    • If it was straightforward then we’d have sorted all of this out by now! There are still legal challenges to the ‘quadruple lock’ protecting churches to expect and we don’t really know what impact, if any, this new definition of marriage will have. I’m not going to compromise my beliefs to fit what society says I should accept, but at the same time if I don’t care about the implications my beliefs have on others, I’m letting them and myself down.

      • Actually, we do. A number of countries have had legal gay marriage for many years and they saw no substantive difference in statistics for anything at all.
        As for further insight into the superiority of your particular faith, my question is whether you’re Catholic or Protestant?
        Whichever the answer there are serious implications.

      • The reason we haven’t “sorted all of this out by now” is cos apostate and false Christians, of which there are many in the Church of England refuse to obey the bible’s clear teaching, and insist on pretending that marriage is something other than one man + one woman! WHY are 21st century people so arrogant, that they think THEY interpret the bible correctly, when for 2000 years, the bible understanding was properly understood?
        If only the conservative bible-believers in the C of E would rise up and excommunicate the liberals! So glad I left the C of E…

    • May you be blessed in you journey. May God be with you. May you travel together all the days of your life.

    • In reply to pinkagendist – I’m an Anglican, so I’m both Catholic and Protestant all at the same time.

  5. Woe to you who call good evil and evil good.

    • IOndeed. Those who fought to deny the Imago-Dei-made-LGBT, including the same-sex marriages God called them to, will have much to answer for come Judgement Day.

  6. Do you think you’re so enlightened that you can determine what is and what is not sin. Do you also think you’re so enlightened that you know better than the 2000 years of great Christians who have over the centuries. Your arrogance is amazing. Homosexual behavior is a sin. God makes it abundantly clear in the Bible. You make the mistake of assuming homosexual behavior is an inborn trait and is not a choice. It is a choice and it is a sin.

    • I take it after posting this you went out to stone a few women. god loves a bigot!!

    • If the tone of this piece seems arrogant to you, then you have misread it, and you know nothing of the character of the writer.

      • Misread it?? Im sorry but there is nothing to misread, this is possibly the most ignorant thing I have ever had the misfortune to read. Homosexuality a choice? Try telling that to the hundreds of young people who kill themselves because they are unable to cope with the fact that they are born gay and will have to deal with the ignorant religious rubbish like that posted above. While these attitudes to fellow human beings persist then I am afraid that your religion will wither and die.

      • Tone…writer…arrogant…not

    • Not wearing a veil is also a sin. So I hope you pick up the first stone when people start calling your wife or mother a slut and aim at their foreheads because of their inerrant sinning.

    • Please clarify what you mean by ‘homosexual behavior’. Do they push old ladies down escalators or open their boiled eggs at the fat end, for example?

      I don’t like cheese. Is that inborn trait, or is it a choice?

    • Considering 2000 years ago (and for a long time afterwards), Christians believed the Earth was flat, that the sun and moon were fixed objects in the sky and believed that snakes and burning bushes had the ability to talk, I would say “yes, I do know better than those 2000 years of great Christians”.

  7. This is the darkest hour of English history when they can no longer distinguish right from wrong simply because of so called equal rights. Gay people are humans. What they have achieved is to force the society to accept their sexual behaviour is “normal”. The society cannot force them to accept their practice is abnormal. So where is the equality? In a free society gays should be be able to say straights are wrong and vice versa without any repercussions. But not in England, the law falls squarely on the side of GAYS. Bravo gays and lesbians, you have won.

    • Andrew, as wrong as you might believe this to be, this is not a blanket bombing campaign of German Cities, nor the normalisation of slavery, it is not the sending of children up chimneys, it is not the support of tyrants such as Osama Bin Laden, various Czars, Sadam Hussein, it is not the massacre at Amritsar, many atrocities in Ireland, just to mention a few.

    • Should Protestants be called equals with their provisions for divorce? Or should Catholics be ahead because of the lack of divorce in their religion?

    • I’m not gay, but I support gay marriage. So in a sense, I too have won. So that’s gays, lesbians (are they not gay?) and heterosexuals who have won.

    • This is the darkest hour of English history? Gay marriage is worse than the Black Death, the English Civil War, two world wars and the Blitz? Really?

  8. I agree with Hazel, God doesn’t changed his mind or his word.
    Everyone does what is right in their own eyes, and have no regard for what God
    Says. Very frightening days we are living in.

    • Yes. I think in the traditional sense, women weren’t really allowed to give out their opinions. They should be cooking or pregnant, any thoughts, or should you not have thoughts?

    • “what God Says”

      What’s that? Your interpretation of a *few* Scripture passages, that you’ve turned into the “Clobber Verses”?

      More and more, those discerning via Scripture (ALL of it, not homophobe-selected prooftexts), Tradition (again, ALL of it—including the FACT that it said ***nothing*** about “homosexuality*** for 1850+ years) and Reason (the stool-leg that Fundies forgot) are coming to the conclusion that “what God says” is “BLESS my gay children, IN their same-sex couples”.

      No, God doesn’t change—but people do. They can do better (equal marriage) OR they can do worse (see re Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, etc). Which will Anglicans choose?

      • I think that the transgendered are freaks but gay marriage is what Chris Hedges calls “boutique activism”-something that people with money and time care about that really doesn’t threaten them or their status or money but they feel really good doing.
        And religion is so full of gays and lesbians that this was bound to affect the churches more to begin with-why not just out all the bishops who are against this?

    • If God doesn’t change his mind or his word, what’s the point of praying?

      • “If God doesn’t change his mind or his word, what’s the point of praying?”

        “”For I, the LORD, do not change” — Malachi chapter 3 verse 6

        Jesus said,

        “Pray, then, in this way:

        Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” — Matthew 6 verse 10

        Do you believe the truth of God’s word or not?

        “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”

  9. Although i cannot equate both types of relationship as marriage, Society through the democratic process has spoken whatever our feelings about it and we are called to love and serve Gay people just the same as everyone else. The practical outworking of our faith is not to judge or condemn but to explain the living waters that can only be experienced through Jesus by which we are transformed in spirit for a kingdom purpose. Homosexuality is mentioned so little in the bible. Jesus does not mention it let alone condemn it but he does use marriage in the traditional sense as a symbol of the spiritual life we are to have with him. Much more important than our sexuality

    • If only all christians were like you, churches might be a bit fuller!!!

      • Yes, thank you Graham for putting this so well. There are plenty of Christians I’ve met who have the same attitude. Sadly their voices tend to get drowned out by those on the extremes. It also gives the impression that churches are not welcoming, when many actually are – far more than we might be led to believe.

    • Actually, it wasn’t really democratic. The government was asked for a referendum to see how the public really felt about the issue, and they refused to even consider it. Or even discuss it in Parliament. So where is the democratic process in this?

      • That’s a very fair point Neil, and this is a blog about God and Politics. Whatever ones view about same sex marriage, this Government like many before have introduced controversial legislation without consulting or proposing the changes in manifestos or even in direct contravention with manifesto promises. I am sure the same will be true re coalition governments that technically had no manifesto to stick to. No top down reorganisation of the Health Service is clearly one such promise broken by this Government. Sadly too few within the church currently seem inclined to challenge this sort of undemocratic behaviour when it happens over things we are not motivated to get upset about, which makes it much harder to really marshall the arguments over things that do bother us. That said many within the Church support this change and clearly a great many more within society so its quite likely that same sex marriage would pass the popularity test. However perhaps next time your Conservative candidate is using the promise of a referendum on Europe as their moral high ground, we should point out that that they are only willing to grant referenda on things that suit them as a party!

    • Jesus doesn’t mention rape, incest either; but he hardly approves! He DID say “a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his WIFE” ………….

  10. Thank you Gillan and Sarky. its one of the biggest myths about Christians. Many in our congregation have Gay Children or friends.They all talk about the importance of unconditional love I routinely sit near to a bi sexual ( Dont like these labels much ) Gay people in the church generally don’t talk about it because their identity is found like everybody else in Jesus and their sexuality is less important. I became a Christian in 2007 and have never heard a derogatory comment about Gay people in the three churches i regularly worship in, nor the seminars and conferences i have attended. At spring harvest last year the subject ( because it is news ) was handled incredibly sensitively because of course there were gay people in the room and who on earth would want to be offensive. Its generally not people from the local church who shout derogatory comments at gay people in the street. True Homophobia is a much bigger problem outside the church but the Church can be a convenient scapegoat. By the way Sarky our church was crammed full with families celebrating our mums on mothers day this morning. It was a great atmoshere

    • Perhaps what is missing in conservative churches are positive public roles for gay people? Outside of the church (or in affirming churches) gay men and women can have their public status as a ‘gay person’ validated through the acceptance of their relationships or marriages. As you say, gay people inside (conservative) churches generally don’t talk about their situation but is that because their options are framed more negatively – usually in terms of something that is considered a very personal or sensitive subject or a perpetual ‘struggle’?

      I know a lot of True Freedom Trust members who look forward to the TFT annual conference because it’s their only opportunity to speak freely about their situation in a light-hearted way ie. they can let their hair down as gay people. Occasionally a straight couple (usually the parents of a gay person) will overhear this ‘banter’ and react negatively/suspiciously because it can be misread as affirming. When they return to their home churches many of these TFT members slip back into speaking more cautiously about all things gay because a too relaxed or jokey approach is received more awkwardly or suspiciously by the rest of the congregation.

      Having said all that – I don’t know how sustainable a more positive but non-affirming approach to openly gay people in the church would be in the long run! It is a crazy predicament 🙂

  11. Fascinating! I am not sure what the evangelical position in the UK of sex outside of marriage between a man and women is but to me it is sin. I can’t celebrate sin, heterosexual or homosexual sin. If the govt, had passed a law saying that they had decriminalised rape to a misdemeanour because it is so difficult to navigate sexual permission in these days, I bet you would say that is an injustice. I would agree with you.

    So I can’t celebrate with you. I think it is tragic that homosexuals are allowed to adopt children. The natural design to truly imprint on a child the reflection of God is the masculine and feminine. By placing a child in a homosexual union is to intentionally by design deny a child to potential experience what our Father has laid down as His context for a human to flourish.

    Please read: http://www.markregnerus.com/uploads/4/0/6/5/4065759/regnerus_july_2012_ssr.pdf

    It is a longitudinal study of the outcomes of children parented in a wide variety of family environments.

    Usually I really enjoy your blog, but on this one we diverge.

    Blessings

    Tim

    • My understanding of sin is that, because of that fruit-eating incident, we are all sinners. Are you then morally opposed to the whole human race?

      You also claim that is tragic that homosexuals are allowed to adopt children. Is it preferable that they be brought up without knowing what it like to be as part of a family?

      • Homosexual couples are not a family, they are a legal construct by the govt. As an evangelical believer, Christ says I am His brother, His Father cals me a son. My identity is not a sinner, while I do sin. We are living in a time when society calls evil good and good evil.

        As to what society thinks of Christians, why do I care. It’s like asking a blind art critic what he thinks of your painting. Jesus said in 1john 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

        Jesus was the most loving person and they killed him. He said we should expect the same. No matter how graciously you say to a homosexual that sex is only for a man and women in a context of a marriage. Some will respond with such anger and accuse you of whatever fills their mind and heart.

        The Regenerus study has not been discredited.

        In time, in this country we will have polyamory. The church, the true church, not the fawning, apologetic, please like us and validate us church will always proclaim, that the design of marriage is the one proscribe in scripture.

        Peace.

        Tim

      • “The design of marriage is the one proscribe in scripture. ”

        I think you’ll find, Timothy White, that the concept of marriage predates the writing of scripture and has been long practiced by billions who have never been Christians.

    • If you google around a bit, you’ll quickly find that the Regenerus study is discredited and rather crucially for an academic, he and his funders had made up their minds before they went looking for evidence.

      Gillan’s sensible dissent here makes me realise just how knee jerk alarmist so much of the opposition has been – how it has relied religiously on very selective stats (in contrast to the rigorous clear headedness of someone like Linda Woodhead who hasn’t cherry picked from her findings even though her instincts are plainly liberal. The result is a picture which is complex and honest).

      Ultimately alarmism has done conservatives few favours – as Peter Ould has also pointed out, people look at the gay people they actually know and just don’t see the train wreck families and situations prophesied – or at least not more than the messes that people generally get themselves into.

      Today pinknews is covering a US poll in which evangelicals are 10% more unpopular than gay people with the general population. Yes, yes – I know you don’t conform to the ways of the world and so forth – but conservative Christians have sought to make a case for their position to a world which, after all, mostly consists of heterosexuals with no vested interest. It’s worth exploring why that was so very unconvincing. I’m inclined to think that if more conservatives sounded like Gillan does in this blog – not hysterical, not dehumanising – then your camp would get a much more respectful hearing.

    • Thanks Tim for your honest feedback. I too am of the opinion that a child is most likely to benefit from being brought up with a father and a mother, if for no other reason that they get to experience close contact with both sexes and therefore will hopefully have a better understanding and appreciation of them as they grow older. Too many boys suffer in single parent families because they have no father as a role model leading to various behavioural issues further down the line.

      I hope that even though you haven’t agreed with me on this, you will return again in future. I’m glad that you usually enjoy it.

      • Hey Gillian, thanks for your response. I will stick around, I am not in the habit of leaving the neighbourhood just cause I may not agree with my neighbours. I do believe this issue will be the main dividing issue in the church. Churches will be known as those that will accept homosexuality as a normal behaviour and there will be those that don’t accept homosexual sex as biblical. I work with men coming out of homosexuality and as this group becomes more vocal, people will realise that while no one chooses their sexual orientation, we do choose what to do with our bodies.

        Tim

  12. I really appreciate your thoughtful approach. Thank you.

  13. This is a really honest piece, unafraid to be self-critical in public. Well done, Gillan.

  14. It’s good to see a Christian website making positive comments about this subject. I remember years ago there were objections to people being forced to wear seatbelts while driving, or crash helmets when riding a motorbike. In a generation or two, ‘gay marriage’ will just be the norm, and our society will be all the better for it.

    • Nothing like the same. Wearing seatbelts is a law to protect us from harm. How can same – sex marriage be on the same level? We either believe the teachings of the Bible or we don’t.

      I will never accept same- sex unions and the same is true of many Christians. Jesus said the world would hate us because it hated Him first and that’s the way it is. As the world believes acts of sodomy are ok it will still not be right. I hope and pray I can keep to God’s statutes.

      • Its funny, I am not a christian and have been married 15 years and have three children. I have always taught my kids to treat others asyou would wish to be treated yourself. Isnt it ironic that as more and more views like those posted above come from christians, people like Dawkins and Hitchins make more headway. The average non christian cannot get their head round the fact that you can preach that god loves everyone and at the same time hold such bigoted and ignorant views. Please dont reply with the old ‘god loves the sinner’ line as this is the biggest cop out since ‘its gods will’. As ghandi said ” I likeyour jesus, I dont like your christians, they are so unlike your jesus”.

      • Hazel, what good would it do to force Christian values on non-Christians? The small number of gay couples who self-identify as Christians and want to get married probably don’t attend evangelical churches. Why not just let both of these groups get on with it and make the case for biblical values to those who have “ears to hear”?

      • Well said, Hazel.

  15. I don’t agree with your first point, that the Christian vs. Gay strains haven’t become worse since the whole equal marriage debate started.

    Here in France we had mass demonstrations of Christians screaming about how equal marriage would be the end of the world. The homophobia on display was palpable, but of course strenuously denied by the demonstrators. They all loved gays, they just didn’t think we deserved the same rights as normal people, that’s all. You try walking along a street where 200,000 people are screaming about how your rights should be curtailed and how you want to destroy families and harm children. I now know how the Jews felt in Germany in the early 1930s. It’s not a nice feeling.

    My opinion of Christians was neutral to slightly negative before the equal marriage debate. Now it’s deeply, deeply negative. I would have attended a church wedding or a baptism before, but now I won’t set foot in a church under any pretext.

    I won’t go so far as to say I cross the street whenever I see a priest or a nun, but I certainly give them a wide berth as the inciters of mass hatred against people like me. I turn down dinner invitations when I know a member of the clergy or a committed Christian will be present. I don’t want to be anywhere near these people and their beliefs. The best I can do is engage in limited online discussion on the subject of religion, more because I understand that no matter how much I may dislike the fact, the world is full of Christians and I can’t entirely avoid them.

    So speak for yourself when you say that the equal marriage debate didn’t worsen relations between Christians and gays. How on earth can you know how we feel?

    • Hi,

      We are not responsible for what you feel and you are not responsible for what we feel. Your feelings are your responsibility. In a civil society I think it is important for people to be able to disagree. You want Christians to tolerate you and you don’t even want to be around us. Whats going on with your tolerance? It has to work both ways.

      You may think Christians are homophobic, pray that Muslims don’t run the country or we will have Sharia law where Homosexuals will be killed. We are way more tolerant and believe Homosexuals, like everyone has limited rights in society. Homosexuals or Heterosexuals, etc….. should not be afraid of physical violence in declaring their sexual preference, disagreement yes, violence no.

      • OK, so someone who threatens you in the street is not responsible for how you feel? Tell that to a young gay man being beaten up by homophobic thugs. They’re not responsible for his pain and humiliation at all, are they?

        Christians need to take responsibility for how their beliefs affect others. I felt threatened during that demonstration. I still feel threatened by Christians now because I know that if they ever gain any political influence then they’ll legislate to reduce me to second class status once more.

        Of course it’s unlikely that Christians will ever gain political influence because France is a secular state and the only (sort of) prominent Christian politician, Christine Boutin, is a figure of fun widely seen as a total nut job. She’s a Catholic who condemns gay marriage but is herself married to her first cousin in direct contravention of Catholic beliefs about incest and prohibited degrees of affinity! The incarnation of hypocrisy and holier-than-thou-ism, she’s regularly lampooned in the press of all shades. Her status as a minor species of national clown means the religion she so fervently champions is associated in the national consciousness with the craziness, fanaticism and obscurantism of her and her vanishingly tiny number of ultra-Catholic Versaillais supporters. Her antics really do us a favor in the long run, although in the here and now they can be very irritating.

        More dangerous is the openly anti-gay and anti-Semitic Front National. They don’t realistically have a chance of forming a government, but they may be capable of influencing the policies of the French version of the Conservatives and dragging them more to the right than their current position. In which case there’s a chance they’ll try to abrogate the equal marriage law if they win the next parliamentary elections. They probably won’t succeed because of the principle of French law that makes it next to impossible to take away rights once they’re granted, but they’ll certainly try. And Christians led by Mme Boutin (qui couche avec son cousin) will be behind them every step of they way, egging them on and urging them to oppress the LGBT community in any way possible.

        And these are the people you want me to tolerate? You might as well ask an African American to invite a few KKK members around for dinner. I can tolerate their existence in the sense that in a diverse society, I accept that many different shades of belief will exist. But that doesn’t mean I have to invite them around for tea and conversation.

        • Hi Stephen,

          Rationally follow your line of thinking, what if you pro-gay stance makes me feel threatened and fearful, are you responsible for what I feel and think. I don’t think so, I am overweight and if someone in the street made a comment about my weight which I feel they have every right to, I am responsible for what I feel not the other person who said what they said. They are my feelings, not his feelings.

          “Christians need to take responsibility for how their beliefs affect others.” Does this statement apply to you? I hope not. As I said, I would never advocate violence on any person. People may get in heated debates and may say things that offend someone else, but how do we as a society arbitrate these possible infringements that are at a feeling level.

          No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

          Eleanor Roosevelt

          Cheers and Blessings on your life!

          Tim

    • Hi Stephen, I hope that you will appreciate that the many people who marched in France and those that have raised similar voices in the UK are only a small part of a very diverse group that calls itself the Church and claim to be Christians. In the same way there are some Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people who seem intolerant of others. I hope that in time most of us will find a way of speaking and understanding one another that respects our various views and identities. In the meantime clearly there is a journey ahead.

      • If you want to persuade me that you understand me and respect my view and identity, stop advocating the legal repression of my basic human rights. I admit your right to believe what you believe. I do not admit your right to impose it on me.

      • Stephen, I have no advocated the repression of anyone’s human rights, and I am not wanting to impose any beliefs on you.

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