UK: MP pushes to force Church to have contrary-to-nature “marriages” or no marriages at all

English MartyrsFrom the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, comes this portentous (I’m serious this time) article:

Tory MP urges Cameron to crack down on churches that refuse to hold same-sex ceremonies

By Simon Caldwell on Thursday, 8 September 2011

Christian churches must be banned from performing any marriages if they refuse to hold civil partnerships ceremonies for gay couples, a Conservative MP has demanded.

Mike Weatherley has urged the Prime Minister to show no toleration to churches which turn away gays and lesbians who seek to marry in their premises. [Is he mad?  What’s his game?]

The Hove and Portslade MP has in turn been criticised by Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton for “over-stepping the mark”[I should think so!]

In a letter to David Cameron the south coast MP had said that the proposed Coalition amendment to the 2010 Equality Act to allow religious bodies or individual places of worship to register the controversial ceremonies would remain “unfair” as long as heterosexuals could marry in the churches of their choice.  [Perhaps the MP doesn’t understand that “fair” is a description of the weather, not of life.  What isn’t “fair”, however, is the attempt to force this on the Catholic Church.  Would he like to force it on Muslims?]

The law must instead be changed to compel churches to register civil partnerships, said Mr Weatherley, whose constituency near Brighton which has one of the highest numbers of gay couples in civil partnerships in the country.  [Hmmm… could this be a matter of.. how to say it… pandering?]

He told Mr Cameron to follow a precedent he suggested had been set by laws compelling 11 Catholic adoption agencies to assess gay couples as potential adopters and foster parents, although most of them have either since closed or left the control of the church.

Mr Weatherley said that the alternative would be to surrender to a “messy compromise” in which gays would remain the victims of inequality.

“I am becoming increasingly concerned about the inequality which exists between the unions of same-sex couples and those of opposite-sex couples in this country,” he said in his letter.

“As long as religious groups can refuse to preside over ceremonies for same-sex couples, there will be inequality,” he said.

Such behaviour is not be tolerated in other areas, such as adoption, after all.”

Mr Weatherley described the 2004 Civil Partnership Act, which permitted legal recognition of same-sex unions, as an “uneasy truce” between campaigners for equality and people who sought to uphold the religious significance of marriage.

He added that until “we untangle” marriage from religion “we will struggle to find a fair arrangement”[“untangle” marriage from religion… which is tantamount to tearing to shreds the bonds of society.  Once religious is entirely expunged from the public square, the riots of the past month will be remembered as mere trial runs.]

Bishop Conry, whose diocese encompasses Mr Weatherley’s constituency, said that the churches had a right to operate by “their own practices and behaviour”. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

“The Church is a voluntary organisation and if you belong to it then you abide by its rules,” [and doctrines] Bishop Conry said.

The law in this country recognises that there is no parity between civil partnerships and marriage,” the bishop added. “What he [Mr Weatherley] wants is a change in the law because he is not in a position to tell the Catholic Church what to do.”  [But, apparently, he would like to be.  And he is not alone.]

At present civil partnerships can be held in register offices and non-religious venues such as hotels. During the ceremonies there can be no manifestation of religious belief, such as icons or other imagery.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition [?!?] wants to create an “opt-in” system whereby places of worship can choose to register gay ceremonies alongside the existing venues.

The Government has admitted in its public consultation document, however, that the proposals could lead to litigation against churches that do not opt in.

In response to the public consultation, Fr Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, stated clearly that “the Catholic Church in England and Wales will not allow civil partnerships to be registered on its premises”.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

He said: “Religious premises exist to meet the needs of the religion concerned. The activities that take place within them must be in accordance with the beliefs and practices of that religion, as determined by its proper authorities.

No other body can have the right to decide that activities contrary to the religion’s teaching may take place on its premises – to do so would be a flagrant breach of the right to freedom of religion under the European Convention on Human Rights.”  [But… that will soon make no difference.]

Brighton priest Fr Ray Blake also accused Mr Weatherley of ignoring the convictions of not only nearly all of the Christians of his constituency but also of the many Jews and Muslims who lived there.  [Has the MP said that synagogues must permit contrary-to-nature same-sex “marriage”?]

He said the MP appeared to want to push all who held a “traditional notion” of marriage “to the margins of society”.

The Rev Nick Donnelly, a Catholic deacon from Lancaster, said on his Protect the Pope blog that the MP’s demands revealed that the churches “have every reason to fear that the next phase of the campaign to establish pseudo-gay marriages will be to coerce them to accept homosexuals or be banned from holding marriages”.

He said: “They’ve banned the Catholic Church from placing children for adoption, now the stage is being set to ban us from holding marriages.”

But gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell supports the rights of churches to decide the matter for themselves on the grounds that it was the “democratic and decent thing to do”.

WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Conry, Fr. Blake and the other clerics who have spoken up.

The UK is some years ahead of the USA in certain aspects of the culture war.  But it is coming.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to UK: MP pushes to force Church to have contrary-to-nature “marriages” or no marriages at all

  1. frjim4321 says:

    Question: I was told once that in Italy the couple must have two ceremonies, first civil at the courthouse and then the church ceremony. Is that the case? Or, are there such places where the priest/deacon is NOT the civil official of marriage?

    Then, with the UK question are they saying that the priest/deacon can no longer serve as the civil official of marriage? It would seem impossible legally to ban a church service of any type, but perhaps within the law to restrict who can serve as a civil official of marriage.

  2. Finarfin says:

    This is a terrible idea that Mr. Weatherley has, though it is not surprising considering the deteriorating circumstances in England. This is just another step, but it could turn out to be a big step.
    What will the government do when the Catholic Church does not comply? Will they be fined? Will certain members of the Church heirarchy be imprisoned?
    This is very serious and if the Church is to survive in that country it will have to have strong and courageous leadership, like Bishop Conry. People need (and are already doing so) to put on the armor of God, and be willing to sacrifice their lives for the Faith. It takes time to strengthen themselves to that level.
    As Fr. Z says, the USA is still behind the UK in the development of the battle of our times. It could turn out however, the chastisement of the US and the UK could come at the same time. The land of Judah had only sinned for 40 years before the Babylonian Captivity, even though Israel had been sinning for 190 years.
    I pray for the conversion of the US and the western world, but I am preparing myself for a time when the punishment comes, and just hope it does not go down the way Sodom did.

  3. chcrix says:

    ” He added that until “we untangle” marriage from religion “we will struggle to find a fair arrangement”. ”

    He’s almost right. The correct formulation is: “Until we untangle marriage from the state we will struggle to find a fair arrangement.”

    Supporters of marriage should now be on notice that the almighty state brooks no insubordination. Hold marriages, help in the adoption of children – independent of the state. Learn self-reliance as the early Christians did. Caesar is not your friend.

  4. FrAWeidner says:

    My understanding, Fr. Jim, was that the United States was the only nation in the world in which religious marriage ceremonies were also civil marriage ceremonies (i.e. bring the license and have all witnesses sign). I hope to goodness in reading this article that I am wrong and that the civil recognition of religious rites is what MP Cameron is talking about. If civil and religious marriage are already distinct in the UK, then what he is referencing is forcing the Catholic Church either to simulate marriage ceremonies with people of the same gender or else desist from offering the sacrament altogether, which when you think about it would definitely be crushing end-times-level persecution. I believe that I am wrong and he’s just saying that the state should no longer recognize the Catholic sacrament as a civil marriage service if the Church won’t “marry” gays. While that’s obnoxious and not a good development, I have to admit a certain indifference to the suggestion, since that’s how it is in much of the rest of the world and that’s how I thought things were in the UK anyway. If Cameron gets his way, Catholic couples can hit the courthouse and then cross the street for the sacrament, just as people have to do in many other countries.

  5. Andreas says:

    Yes, as noted in earlier messages regarding Europe, here in Austria one is first ‘married’ in a civil ceremony, held in the local Mayor’s office. A special room is set aside for this ceremony in which a government representative oversees the civil aspects of the legal bond between man and woman. This signifies that in the eyes of local and national government, the man and woman are now a married couple and entitled to the benefits of the State granted thereby. It should be noted that a beautiful crucifix in prominently displayed on the wall or table where the papers of civil marriage are signed. Once completed, the couple may or may not wish to then have a sacramental wedding which is normally conducted in one’s parish Church, Chapel or Cathedral. Most here do indeed, for the majority wish to signify their spiritual bond in the Eyes of Our Lord. The ceremonies are treated as separate entities, but in most hearts here, they are but two parts comprising a singular event.

  6. It’s not the first time Caesar has forbidden the Church to get couples married.

    St. Valentine, pray for us!

  7. MissOH says:

    There are countries where the civil marriage is all that he state recognizes and the priest is not the civil official of marriage. I read an article recently by a man who grew up in Poland during communism and who was discussing that though he and his wife had to have the civil marriage by the state official to be married per the state, they did not take that seriously. It was their church wedding the next day, the sacrament, that was their focus. I believe it might still be the case in France and French influenced countries. I recall seeing that when the Prince of Monaco married this summer, they had to have a civil ceremony the day before their church marriage.

    When I read or hear those working to redefine marriage dismiss the fears and concerns of people of faith that this will result in discrimination against Christians and others, I just look across the Atlantic. It is happening. I believe priests are the civil marriage officials currently in Great Britain, so my take on the comments of the MP is he thinks that churches who will not agree to the redefinition of marriage should have their ability to be civil marriage officials removed.

  8. Legisperitus says:

    An edifice of lies is vulnerable to the smallest chink of truth. It is the Church’s witness to the truth that they cannot tolerate.

  9. pfreddys says:

    I find it very interesting that this is a Conservative MP. I know that refers to his party affiliation but it does illustrate how the term “conservative” has become meaningless. The “conservative” Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck both endorse Same Sex Attraction Disorder (SSAD, not gay) “marriages”; the “conservative” Sean Hannity found it necessary to publicly dissent from the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control; the Tea Partiers do not think it necessary to address social issues. Just what do these “conservatives” wish to conserve?

  10. Alice says:

    FrAWeidner,
    As far as I know, the UK recognizes religious ceremonies in much the same way that the US does, provided that they are public and indoors. (This means that Mormons and Orthodox Jews have to have a civil ceremony as well as a religious one if they wish to be married both civilly and according to their religious traditions.) What I’m trying to figure out is why this seems directed at the Catholic Church since, unless things have changed in the past few days, even the Church of England does not bless civil unions.

  11. Random Friar says:

    Good luck to the MP in enforcing THAT in “Londonistan” and the other shariah neighborhoods.

    My own pastoral reply to the MP: Make me.

  12. Kypapist says:

    I wish I could claim to be the originator of this: “Fair is a place where they judge fat cows.”

  13. Brad says:

    Alice: because the demon attacks the epicentral Church founded upon Peter, the vicar of Christ. I know you know this, so please forgive me for stating the obvious. :-)

    But as a general comment, this reminds me of a certain heterosexual celebrity couple who seem to take scandalous glee in publicly flaunting their non-married, multiple children, state. When asked a few years ago if they would marry, the man replied that “when all people can marry, then we will”, alluding to pending, federal (USA) homosexual marriage “rights”.

    No fear of the Lord and his laws.

    Lord, have mercy upon us when you judge us. Or shall I say, in your mercy keep us from turning away from you in shame and self-loathing at that meeting. I included.

  14. Brooklyn says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that that the Church is going to come under major persecution because of the same sex marriage laws, and they will threaten to take away tax exempt status and ultimately to jail those who refuse to comply with the law. Maybe Archbishop Dolan and others will then stop apologizing to the “gay community”. Maybe, too, Archbishop Dolan will have wished he stayed in New York and fought against the same sex marriage bill when it was voted on.

  15. mrose says:

    How far gone is our society now that the Church, in secularized and “free” countries, must hide out in the unseemly back-alley of religious freedom in order to defend itself from the state’s imposition upon officially witnessing mockeries of the solemnization of Holy Matrimony. This isn’t even primarily a religious issue, but one of natural law. The UK and the US of A do themselves no good even by their own faulty standards by endorsing and promoting homosexual relationships and giving them the same legal status as Matrimony.

    As above commenters have said, the time is long gone in the West where the state serves the Church and God; would that churchmen recognize this and cease pandering to evil governments.

  16. DisturbedMary says:

    Stay awake New York. Those pesky “traditional notions” of marriage are here too. And next up is all that nasty “untangling” . The insiders call it “queering marriage” and “engaging tradition”. How long before we start digging priest holes instead of subway tunnels?

    http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2011/05/19/time-to-queer-marriage-lets-start-with-til-death-do-us-part/
    http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2011/06/01/enter-for-gender-sexuality-law-receives-major-grant-for-engaging-tradition-project/

  17. APX says:

    How exactly are they going to “ban” the church from holding marriages??? Wouldn’t they being infringing upon religious freedom rights? What are they referring to here? The actual ceremony, or the legality of church weddings?

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Alice et al,

    No, in Great Britain, one must have a civil ceremony by law before the Church wedding. Church weddings are not automatically legally valid. I know this not only from personal experience of having been married in England, but also from being involved in the past in marriage counseling here. The Marriage Act of 1753 was truly evil in that it took the power of the legitimacy of the marriage rite out of the churches and into the hands of the civil government, on purpose, although the reasons given at the time were seemingly otherwise. The same is true in many other European countries. The upshot of all this is that governments want the right to create unions, and take this right away from the religions. This is an old battle, which is now heated because of the same-sex union idea. That a MP would bring this up is NOT unusual, as it has been brought up before in Parliament. The problem is that the Anglican Church is increasingly becoming more conservative and the MP can see this as an obstacle. Although there is a rite for same-sex unions in the Anglican Church, some Anglican ministers will not oblige the same-sex couple, which is dangerous for the minister (refuse to use the term priest with regard to Anglicans) as technically an Anglican minister cannot refuse anyone marriage: for example, marriages between baptized and un-baptized persons are very common in the Anglican Church here By picking on the Catholic Church, the most obvious bastion of Truth concerning real Marriage as a sacrament for heterosexual couples only, the MP is also aiming at conservative Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists, etc. This is a plan to undermine marriage as a religious institution and make it only, that is worth repeating, only, civil, as in Communist countries, where only civil unions were validated.

    As to this being the head of the Hydra of persecution of the Church, yes, (0r the many headed beast in Revelation and Daniel). The fact that politicians and the media have more than the normal demographic of society at large number of homosexuals is not an accident, but part of the plan to destroy Western Civilization and all religions. What the homosexual agenda includes is the normalization of civil unions, so that no one can object, and so that churches are fined, closed, etc. This is a long battle between Church and State here and we should pray to St. Thomas Beckett and St. Thomas More, who are martyrs for the cause of Pope, Church and Truth over State Power.

    Lastly, of course this will happen in America. And, in the not so distant future. Potus is for same-sex unions, as are most of his advisers. If anyone does not believe we are in the times of the Great Persecution, that person does not live on the same planet I do…..

  19. pjthom81 says:

    I have some questions regarding the party affiliation as well, though I am not quite as pessimistic as some on this country’s conservatism. The USA’s conservatism is morally conservative due to the contingent of Evangelicals and Conservative Catholics in its base. My understanding is that this is not the case in Great Britain, and although Thatcher may have held a religious vote, more religious tend to be in Labour. I also understand that there is an attempt by the current Labour minority to try to create a religious-Labour coalition. Should this be considered? I am a conservative in all of my views, so this is a bit out of character for me. Additionally, I suspect that this may be a Liberal based attempt as the party has been the most permissive on homosexuality for a long time. Perhaps they need to return to a nonentity in British politics.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    pjthom81,

    There is no comparison with a religious-right voting block in Great Britain at all. Such a thing does not exist and will not. The parties do not come down on the side of conservative moral issues neatly and tidily, as one sees somewhat in the USA. The history of Parliamentary procedure and the history of the different parties cannot be compared with American politics. Such a religious-right bloc will never happen here for many reasons. And, Thatcher was not in that category, either, although she was fiscally conservative, she was not as socially conservative as the religious-right in the States. Social conservatism is not a force in British politics and because of the multi-cultural aspect of British society, this will not happen. The Muslims want Sharia law, for example and not conservative, Western law. The other thing to remember is that law in the USA is based on Roman Law-which is written law. British law is based on Common Law, which is based on precedent and not spelled-out legal terms. This is a huge difference not only in perspective, but in how things come to Parliament, how things are voted upon, and how laws are actually enacted.

    There are no such things as a pro-life bloc, or a pro-family bloc based on Protestantism or Catholicism, as in America. Politics just doesn’t work like that here. And, the people involved in those areas, such as SPUC, are in such a minority, as to hardly have any power at all. The influence of the EU Court has also impacted law in Great Britain and in Ireland, for example. This is a complicated scenario and comparisons with the US are not possible or helpful. There is no grass-roots conservatism here, as in the US, and there is no Constitution which can be amended, etc. Party affiliation in Great Britain with regards to moral issues is purely pragmatic and not ideological. And, as pragmatic, can change easily. I have seen issues change sides here between Labour, Tories and all others over the thirty years I have been paying attention to British politics. Party identities are much more fluid here than in the States.

  21. abasham says:

    Le me shed some light on the “conservative-liberal democrat” part that seemed to puzzle you, Father. I am not sure how familiar you are with British politics, but by your ” [?!?] ” I’m guessing this information might be helpful. As an American working in Parliament not too long ago, this was all a part of my political “re-education.”

    In the UK whichever party holds the majority of seats in Parliament is invitied to form the government (usually…I don’t believe there has been a minority government in quite some time). In the recent general elections, no party received a majority of seats, so for the first time since World War II two partys had to come together to form a government.

    The Conservatives (more socially conservative and generally seen as pro-business and free market), won the most seats, but not enough. So the Liberal Democrats (socially liberal, and a bit more libertarian than the Labour party) had to choose between forming a coalition with the Conservatives or the Labour party (the socialist party which had been in power for over a decade).

    The prior Labour Government was wildly unpopular and so they teamed up with the Conservatives. That is why there is a “Conservative-Liberal Democrat” coalition. British Politics can make some strange bedfellows.

    Additionally, ‘pfreddys’ would do well to remember that the conventional American definitions of the liberal and conservative political labels mean nothing elsewhere.

  22. Luvadoxi says:

    Just a quick question–I was sure American jurisprudence is founded on common law too, not statutory law, except for the state of Louisiana. Please clarify or correct me if I’m wrong.

  23. Supertradmum says:

    We have Constitutional Law, that is, written, as are the laws of most states, and not based on what was done in the past or the status quo. Even though American law is partially based on Common Law, one huge difference is the Federal system. We have three branches of government, which are capable of making laws. British law does not work like that. We have codified law, and what is decided by judges, which is common law. Strictly speaking, Lousiana has a different law system than other states, but I was referring to the Federal Government and the three branches, Executive, Judicial and Legislative, which is much more complicated that English Common Law. There are, of course, no states in Britain and all law is from Parliament. Our system is, therefore, more grass roots, and having the Federal system is a great bonus the British do not have.

  24. scotus says:

    “British law is based on Common Law, which is based on precedent and not spelled-out legal terms.” Well that certainly applies to English law but it doesn’t apply to Scottish law.

    “In the UK whichever party holds the majority of seats in Parliament is invited to form the government (usually…I don’t believe there has been a minority government in quite some time). In the General Election of February 1974 no party won an overall majority of seats. In the General Election of October 1974 Labour won an overall majority of three seats but by 1976 had lost it as a result of defections and by-election losses. So from 1976 to 1979 the UK had a minority government. John Major’s Conservative majority of 21 (1992) gradually got whittled away and he ran a minority government at the end of its life.

    One other point which should be noted is that there has been a tradition in the UK whereby MPs were allowed a free vote (a vote according to their personal opinion rather than the view of the party) on ‘moral’ issues. Thus there is usually a free vote on capital punishment. However, this view is becoming less the case as votes on homosexual issues have become party votes rather than free votes. (A Conservative Party candidate was kicked out as a candidate when he said a number of things on homosexuality the party leader did not like.)

  25. scotus says:

    I should also point out that while we in the UK do not have separate states and we do not have a federal system we do have separate Parliaments and Assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Thus the laws in Scotland can be different from those in England. An example is the law on licensing which is different between the two countries. The Scottish Government has just announced that it intends to put a Bill before the Scottish Parliament to introduce minimum pricing for alcoholic drinks. As he Scottish National Party (SNP) has a majority of the seats in the Scottish Parliament the Bill is very likely to be passed. This will make the law in Scotland quite different from that in England. The same applies to so-called gay ‘marriage’. The Scottish Parliament will decide the matter for Scotland the Westminster (London) Parliament will decide the matter for England.

  26. Marianna says:

    Just to clarify the UK situation:

    In the UK, Church of England Ministers are also Registrars, who register the weddings at which they preside with the state. For all other Christian denominations and all other faiths, a Registrar must attend the church/synagogue etc to hear the couple exchange their vows and supervise the signing of the Register. I remember the priest at our wedding telling us to be sure to speak clearly, because he had had trouble with a Registrar claiming not to have heard the vows properly, and refusing to register the marriage.

    In France and most other European countries, couples marry at the town hall or other official venue first, and can then have a religious ceremony if they wish. As others have said, if this MP’s wishes were enforced, I don’t see how the state could stop couples having a church ceremony, even if the state did not recognise it. We would presumably be in the same situation as France or Italy.

  27. bookworm says:

    “Louisiana has a different law system than other states”

    I believe their laws were originally derived from the Napoleonic Code — a remnant of when they were under French rule. You may also have noticed that the political subdivisions known as “counties” in all other states are called “parishes” there.

    If Marianna is correct, then what this MP is suggesting is (more likely than not) that civil registrars no longer attend or recognize weddings in churches that do not also perform same-sex unions. If he got his way then Catholic couples would simply have to start having separate civil ceremonies apart from their Church weddings.

  28. John Nolan says:

    In England the exchange of vows (which in the OF occurs in the nuptial Mass after the Gospel) is the legal part of the ceremony and must therefore be done in English, even if you elect to have everything else in Latin. The same would apply to an EF Mass. In larger Catholic churches the priest registers the marriage without the need for a registrar to be present. All Anglican parish churches (though not chapels-of-ease, and strangely enough not St Paul’s Cathedral) are registered for marriages and although Parliament could theoretically pass an Act revoking this, it has now become a constitutional convention that Parliament does not interfere in the internal affairs of the Established Church. So Mr Weatherley is talking through his hat.

  29. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m here to tell you that Louisiana civil law is different – just finished up a case involving the LA Code Civil and LA Law Civil (they are distinct bodies of law) governing property settlements after divorce (I wish the unhappy couple had just stayed in Louisiana instead of moving here!) And years ago I litigated a case in Louisiana involving the Civil Code and Law on “servitudes” — what the rest of the country calls “easements” — the Tensas Basin Levee Board, the City of Monroe, Louisiana, a local cotton seed warehouse, a flood wall, and a very large fire (did you know that once cotton seed catches fire, you cannot put it out? It will burn until it burns itself out.)

    The LA Code is based upon the French Code Civil (popularly, the Code Napoléon) as well as (possibly) Spanish code law. The rules of interpretation are completely different from those used in the common law states, and you’re still supposed to look to the 1808 version in French as the controlling law if there’s any variation. As the wonderfully named Judge Jolly said (and he’s often quoted, most recently in the Georgia decision) “under the Louisiana Law Civil, the past is not dead . . . the past will not die; and. . ., indeed, the past is not even past.”

    Supertradmum,
    Fortunately Constitutional Law very rarely comes and bothers most of us — at this point, of course, it is not the Constitution per se but the case law interpreting (or perverting) it that you have to keep track of. And the federal system is not really separate from the state law system, because in quite a few (maybe most) cases the feds wind up applying state law. Fortunately if the state law is not clear, the 11th circuit and its underlying districts are happy to send over a certified question to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
    And while the Executive and Judicial branches like to believe they can “make” law — they really aren’t supposed to. A strict constructionist judge will tell you that it’s up to the legislature to make the laws and for the court to interpret them, while the executive is supposed to carry them out. Good luck with that on the federal level!!!!!

  30. Luvadoxi says:

    Thank you for all the very thorough information! I studied law briefly, and worked in law offices, but my knowledge is rusty. I also find divorce law interesting; I don’t know how it works in other countries, but the fact that we have two systems, the community property states, like Texas and California; and the common law states (everybody else…..except maybe Louisiana??)–the states that were founded by Catholic countries arguably have a fairer distribution of property to women (50-50) than common law states. The big, bad patriarchal Church! 50 states, a federal system, and all those “rules” of the agencies that are part of the executive branch….the American system is complex!

  31. pjthom81 says:

    Thanks for the comments. I want to clarify mine. When I referred to Thatcherism as being morally conservative I was referring to Thatcher’s self-description as a Victorian and her general stance against what she termed “permissive society”. So far as I can tell Thatcher herself was fairly on board with a broadly conservative platform, however the difference appears to be that moral conservatism generally won its battle for control of the right-wing party in the US, but the same can not be said for the UK. There appears to be no appetite for undoing the various liberalizations of the 1960’s.

    I’m an attorney here…and I can tell you that, outside of Louisiana, we are based upon common law and precedent.

    I am pleased to hear that there are conventions that would make it difficult for the MP to go through with his plans. I suppose a good follow up would be to inquire as to whether the Church of England can be counted on not to permit homosexual unions. Clearly the national Church cannot…but will they dare go down that road without the consent of the rest of the Lambeth conference?