As from Friday same sex couples can marry in England and Wales.

  Forum Editor 17:10 26 Mar 2014

It's a landmark piece of legislation, and of course it's long overdue, but there is still a considerable amount of opposition in the population.

If you are a dissenter I'm interested to hear your views - and if possible your reasons for holding them.

  john bunyan 17:19 26 Mar 2014

I am only a mild dissenter. Whilst not being a staunch Christian, the meaning of marriage in the past, has always been the union of a man and a woman for the procreation of children. I have no problem at all with same sex couples having a ceremony, with the same legal rights as heterosexual couples - pensions etc. I suppose I will get used to it but the change in the meaning of the word "Marriage" will take a little time to get used to. Somewhat illogically, I admit, I would have preferred a different word to have been coined. I wish all those who find comfort in the new law every happiness.

  wiz-king 17:20 26 Mar 2014

Not a dissenter -- but -- I hope the media does not go over the top with its reporting of the events. If they are treated as any other wedding that will be suitable.

  Forum Editor 17:31 26 Mar 2014

john bunyan

That seems to me to be a pretty sensible attitude to adopt. I gather that the use of the word 'marriage' is a common sticking point for dissenters, and it might be interesting to consider what Edmund leach had to say on the purpoise of a marriage. (for those who aren't familiar with Leach, it has been said of him that "It is no exaggeration to say that in sheer versatility, originality, and range of writing he was and still is difficult to match among the anthropologists of the English speaking world").

Leach said that there could be no one definition of marriage that would apply to all cultures, but he enumerated ten 'rights' which he thought probably applied to almost all, if not all marriages. He said that marriage exists:-

*To establish a legal father of a woman's children. To establish a legal mother of a man's children. To give the husband a monopoly in the wife's sexuality. To give the wife a monopoly in the husband's sexuality. To give the husband partial or monopolistic rights to the wife's domestic and other labour services. To give the wife partial or monopolistic rights to the husband's domestic and other labour services. To give the husband partial or total rights over property belonging or potentially accruing to the wife. To give the wife partial or total rights over property belonging or potentially accruing to the husband. To establish a joint fund of property – a partnership – for the benefit of the children of the marriage. To establish a socially significant 'relationship of affinity' between the husband and his wife's brothers and sisters, and between the wife and her husband's brothers and sisters.*

It seems to me that with very minor changes in terminology those 'rights' might equally well apply to same-sex marriages.

  Aitchbee 17:57 26 Mar 2014

" ... I would have preferred a different word to have been coined. "

May I suggest Garriage ... a combination of being Gay and also being married.

  Woolwell 18:13 26 Mar 2014

I am a dissenter but can understand why same-sex couples want to be "married". It seems that many of them want the ceremony and the right to call themselves married. But marriage comes with responsibilities too not just rights.

I support john bunyan's view about the terminology and also wiz-king's about the media. I do hope that we are not bombarded by the media. Why should a same-sex couple have more attention than a heterosexual couple apart from the novelty value? I hope that novelty value soon wears off.

I fear that there is more trouble to come with church marriages.

  Forum Editor 18:39 26 Mar 2014


The whole point of the legislation is to ensure that Gay people are not discriminated against when it comes to legalising their relationship - they now have as much right to marry as anyone else in the eyes of the law. Give the union a different name and you immediately create the discrimination you were trying to avoid in the first place.

  Woolwell 19:25 26 Mar 2014

Forum Editor - I know that this point has been made in the past in this forum and debated, at great length, here and in Parliament and elsewhere but marriage has up to now meant a union between one man and one woman ie male and female. Marriage now does not mean the same. Please note I am not against recognising a loving relationship between same-sex partners but marriage now means something different from that which was always understood. I now have to recognise that I am out of date and will have to come to terms with it but the problem was the civil partnerships were never considered to be marriages and some, not all, same-sex partners wanted to declare that they were married. So now what has happened to husband and wife?

  Mr Mistoffelees 19:48 26 Mar 2014

I, like the FE, think this is long overdue. As an atheist I have no religious objection and just believe gay couples should be treated like and have the same rights as heterosexual couples, which should include marriage. I also believe they should be able to marry in church, if they want to. Organised religion should not be the last bastion of legal anti-gay policies.

  Aitchbee 19:53 26 Mar 2014

Ok, FE; point taken. But, The 'eyes of the law' are not quite the same as the eyes of the 'dissenters', a poor choice of word, may I say, on your part, to describe anyone who disagrees with the whole idea of Gay Marriage. There are many laws I do not agree with ... and this is one that I or anybody else can do anything about. C'est la vie!

  Woolwell 20:03 26 Mar 2014

Mr Mistoffelees - Not all religions are anti-gay (Islam certainly is btw) but if they have beliefs, sincere ones which are against "marriage" between same-sex are those beliefs not also worth protecting even if you think that they are misguided and deluded? Those who go to church should be able to decide if they wish to conduct same-sex marriages there not an atheist or militant secularist deciding for them.

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