The government says it will 'permit' the marriage of same sex couples in churches and synagogues etc except for the established Church of England and for some reason the Church of Wales which was disestablished in 1920. Apparently those two bodies are against the idea so they are going to be forbidden to do it. Strange logic don't you think?
If the CofE are against the idea why do they need to be forbidden? Why forbod the Church of Wales when it isn't even an established church? More to the point though, is this really an equality issue or is it about freedom? Chris Dillow suggests the latter:
Think of it this way. Over a very wide domain, the state already takes no interest in my choice of marriage partners. It is indifferent to their age (subject only to age of consent laws), ethnicity, psychological compatibility or appearance. Why, then, should it care about the contents of their trousers? Viewed in this frame, permitting gay marriage merely expands the range of characteristics of my marriage partners about which the state doesn't care. It's a small step to greater freedom. We could rename "equal marriage" as "free marriage."
I think he's right. Making this an issue of equal rights allows all the old nonsense about 'political correctness' to be trotted out by the right wing dinosaurs of the right. The left by accepting this framing of the issue have lost the chance to re-attach themselves to the idea of freedom and so handed yet another stick to the right with which they can be beaten. Chris Dillow again:
So, why is the issue so often framed as one of equality rather than freedom? I suspect conservatives have an instinctive aversion to gay marriage, and prefer to rationalize this as a big issue of equality rather a small issue of freedom, because they feel more comfortable opposing equality than opposing freedom. Conversely, campaigners for legalizing gay marriage - being mostly on the left - feel more comfortable with talk of equality.
Much opposition to the idea of gay marriages is based on the false premise that 'allowing' it gives the state the right to enforce it. They are wrong - it isn't for the state to force, allow or even enable gay marriage in churches. It should simply be something in which they take no interest - which should of course also apply to the CofE itself. Disestablishment would itself be a step towards greater freedom.