I think that marriage is a sign pointing to something bigger - Christ and the church and so I think that gay and lesbian partnerships have to be called something else.
Love is something that cannot be controlled or contained, she says, but the sacrifice that is in love can only take place the greatest when you face the 'other'.
...there is less of this mystical 'otherness' in a same-sex relationship. It is different to marriage.
What do you think?
Well, by this logic I should have married my dog.
I also have another view of the other. See, I'm heterosexual and I get longings and the like when some compatible females come into my orbit. I have some very longstanding and very important male friendships that have very long roots. I have never felt the urge even to cuddle these friends. But I have felt plenty of urges to do considerably more with those women who have shown me more than friendship and sometimes even before so. The engines of passion still work, and even work after long periods of inactivity.
For me, I cannot get more 'other' than those men who actually fancy other men, and women fancying women, and who get into their own relationships and grow with one another. And for this reason, I am not going to prescribe or limit what they can and cannot do. In fact, given that recognising relationships and bringing people together furthers both social solidarity and peace, I would support the symbolic and indeed legal recognition of the unions they experience.
Like liberal Jews and Quakers, Unitarians want the freedom to be able to marry same sex couples, and at present they cannot even conduct Civil Partnerships. Quakers have gone down a DIY protest route and started doing same sex marriages anyway: they have that strong tradition of defiance and self-management.
Unitarians actually have conducted same sex marriages for a long time. When there was no recognition, and when there were Civil Partnerships, Unitarians conducted unofficial ceremonies that the marriage partners regarded as the 'real' wedding and invited along their families and friends. But this ought to be part of wider social recognition, giving full civil and social liberties and obligations. The difference is that Quakers are registering them, in full defiance of the State.
What is wanted is the right to conduct marriages and partnerships in churches legally and sanctioned by the State. Those churches and religions that cannot do this ought to be allowed to opt out. Denominations will have their own policies. Dissidents within denominations will have to plan their own campaigns.
If full equality is granted soon by the government, then this will have some odd effects. The question arises whether Civil Partnerships, only available to gay couples and the best equivalent of marriage they can get, will get an automatic upgrade to marriage. The danger is that gay couples that thought they were getting 'married' will find that they didn't, as the Civil Partnership open to all becomes something less than that 'marriage'.
Otherwise it will be like an Anglican priest who joins the ordinariate, and has to get ordained again. A gay couple, who had a Civil Partnership, now has to go through another ceremony.
Another odd effect is that the obligation on the State Church to marry anyone in its parish without restriction will go; the State Church will be out of sync with the State because it will have the right to refuse gay marriage. Now I think equality legislation here will have to allow it the right to refuse all marriage, otherwise the State will still be sanctioning difference not equality.
Such are the difficulties of building in special interest group compromises that are found to be just inadequate. Let's get on with sorting the law out and making matters equal and liberal.
Those who think marriage relies on some God restricted mystical otherness can carry on providing their restrictive view, and others will ignore them.