Northern Ireland’s first civil partnership ceremony

Thirty protesters turned up outside the City Hall to protest Northern Ireland’s first civil partnership ceremony at the City Hall this morning (sound file from Angelique Christafis). For once, Northern Ireland is somewhat ahead of the curve, since most ceremonies in England and Wales won’t take place until Wednesday.

Slugger photos here, from Charlotte!!The Civil Partnership Act 2004 gives gay and lesbian partners the legal means to be recognised should anything happen to the other, in terms of property and financial rights. It is becoming increasingly common across the world. According to Wikipedia the difference with hetrosexual marriage is slight:

* A civil partnership becomes legal on the signing of a register, rather than on the speaking of certain words as with marriage.

* It will not be possible to dissolve a civil partnership on the grounds of non-consummation or adultery, although both non-consummation and adultery can be grounds for dissolution of the partnership as they fall under the provision for unreasonable behavior.

* The legal definition of a traditional marriage is “life long” whereas the wording of civil partnerships is “long term” and “intended to be permanent”.

There are about 700 ceremonies due to take place throughout the UK, although the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in the west of Scotland has banned any such ceremonies taking place, which has led to an interesting stand off.

There’s no sign yet of such provisions coming into force in the Republic. The Taoiseach is favour, as is the Minister of Justice. But as it stands, anything that even indirectly challenged the status of marriage would require a constitutional amendment.

It’s been mooted that a compromise deal that would allow two individuals in any relationship (eg elderly mother and carer daughter) to tie their financial and property affairs together, ie that could not be construed as an alternative to marriage, could be put through without such an amendment.

Adds: a reasoned Anglican argument against CPs.

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  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    “Maca, why do you quote random bits of the bible?”

    Eh?

    “If you actually took the time to read some more of the bible then you would know that post-Christ we are no longer under the law hence no-one was calling for the death penalty.”

    Isn’t it written in Matthew 5:17:
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”
    Seems like Jesus is saying the law still applies.

    “It’s a pity you just want to stir things.”
    Surely it’s fair to ask why people seem to be selective in what they believe in the bible?
    Does the old testament still stand or not? Many christians claim it does.

  • TAFKABO

    John.

    I don’t have a moral code, or indeed morals.These are products of religion, designed to keep the masses in line.

    I refute your suggestion that I am guilty of arrogance, since I am not the person insisting that you and others live your lives according to my beliefs.It is you and others who are being arrogant by assuming that you know better than me what is acceptable in my life.

    If you have a view on what is best, then follow those rules,then but don’t tell me that I have to do the same.

    As for quoting the bible, I shall quote as much or as little as I feel like Quoting.I don’t need your permission, or indeed to fulfill some requirement laid down by you on when it is appropriate for me to do so.

    It’s about time you folks woke up to the fact that you don’t have a monoploy on the correct opinions.
    Your opinion is worth no more or no less than mine.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    Baluba, thanks for pointing out to me that I am sad. It’s nice to see you resort to name-calling – it is a sure sign you are wining the arguement. Please debate the stats. You won’t because you know what they say!

    TAFKABO You want stats for lesbian couples here you go:

    – The prevalence of domestic violence among Gay and Lesbian couples is approximately 25 – 33%.
    Barnes, It’s Just a Quarrel’, American Bar Association Journal, February 1998, p. 25

    – Battering among Lesbians crosses age, race, class, lifestyle and socio-economic lines.
    Lobel, ed., Naming the Violence: Speaking Out About Lesbian Battering, 183 (1986).

    At the end of the day no-one can stop two consenting adults that want to be gay. However you can NEVER say that gay relationships are something that is benificial to the individual or society, that is why I oppose them.

  • TAFKABO

    Can I ave a link to those statistics?

    And would you mind addressing the question about lesbians having less likelyhood of contracting STDs than heterosexuals?

    At the end of the day no-one can stop two consenting adults that want to be gay.

    I beg to differ, left to their own devices the fundamentalists would have them criminalised, as it is they are settling for demonising them instead,and creating the type of society in which homophobic attcks are rampant.

    However you can NEVER say that gay relationships are something that is benificial to the individual or society, that is why I oppose them.

    yes I can,and I do.

    Loving relationshipis are always beneficial to society as a whole.The more love we can encourage, the better for all of us.
    Accepting that difference exists, and legislating to accomodate the difference in society will benefit society as a whole.
    Exploring and celebrating difference will benefit society as a whole.
    creating a society where people are free from persecution will benefit society as a whole.
    Educating people that difference is a normal aspect of the human condition will benefit society as a whole.
    Discouraging hate will benefit society as a whole.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    Maca, again if you read the bible you would know what Christ meant by that statement. The moral law (contained in the OT) still stands (10 commandments etc). Of course the cerimonial and civil law has passed away (again some people here post random bits of the old testament without any knowledge of what they are quoting). Christ died for our sins so that the punishment of the law is fulfilled by him. None of us can keep all the law – if we broke one law we were guilty of breaking the entire law. So Christ’s death satisfies the law.

    TAFKABO, if you don’t have morals I fail to see why you would quote a moral book. I have never once demanded that you follow what I believe – after all salvation from Christ is a voluntary choice. If fact society today welcomes queers more than Christians so I would say it is equally as difficult to live as a Christian today as a homo.
    What I say to you and others are here are the facts – the gay lifestyle is harmfull.

  • TAFKABO

    TAFKABO, if you don’t have morals I fail to see why you would quote a moral book.

    To point out the inherrant contradicitions within that book,and the lack of consistency in those who claim to follow that book.

    I have never once demanded that you follow what I believe – after all salvation from Christ is a voluntary choice.

    This brings to mind another inconsistancy.According to the bible, all sins are of equal worth, and yet we see christians focussing upon some “sinners” more than others.
    Surely their are far greater numbers of hellbound heterosexuals leading promiscuous lifestyles than homosexuals.Where are the protests outside condom vending machines?

    If fact society today welcomes queers more than Christians so I would say it is equally as difficult to live as a Christian today as a homo.

    Give us the statistics for the latest christian bashing incidents and I might be prepared to accept you have a point.

    What I say to you and others are here are the facts – the gay lifestyle is harmfull.

    No more harmful than the heterosexual lifestyle, but let’s say that what you say is true.
    So is smoking, and again I ask, why are there no sourfaced old men with placards standing outside tobacconists?

  • Baluba

    Apologies for ‘name-calling’, although I thought I was using adjectives not nouns. Ah well.

    The statistics do not require debating. If there is indeed a higher rate of abuse etc in homosexual relationships (of which I am not convinced) that does still not justify any assertion that they should be illegal. A certain member of my family was used and abused for years by their spouse and I know many, many others in the same situation, but the abuse does not occur because of the person’s sexuality.

    If there is a higher rate of abuse etc, perhaps that’s because of the pressures and demonisation the experience in society which translates into a strained relationship at home just as unemployment, alcoholism, depression etc can cause abuse in heterosexual relationships.

    None of your statistics say to me that the relationships are damaging to society.

    As for std’s, they are on the increase above the board and tell me that people need better sexual education; not that homosexual marriages are somehow going to cause societal meltdown.

    Also, just because I have no religion does not mean that I have no morals – that is an insult. (One that you levelled at TAFKABO but I’m sure you would similarly level it at me). I have very broadly the same value system as most people of whatever religion: respect and love others as you would wish in return. I think your bible contains a passage similar to that does it not?

    The gay lifestyle is not remotely harmful, I’m afraid you’re just deluded there.

  • Corinthians
    “The prevalence of domestic violence among Gay and Lesbian couples is approximately 25 – 33%.”

    Nearly 1 in 3 adult women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.
    Same source I believe, and it ain’t all lesbians doing the assaulting.

    “90 – 95% of domestic violence victims are women.” & “as many as 95% of domestic violence perpetrators are male.”

    “again if you read the bible you would know what Christ meant by that statement. The moral law (contained in the OT) still stands (10 commandments etc). Of course the cerimonial and civil law has passed away (again some people here post random bits of the old testament without any knowledge of what they are quoting).”

    Funnily enough the quote and argument was taken directly from a christian website. Are you suggesting these christians just post random bits of the bible without actually reading or understanding it? Interesting.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    Baluba, when I said TAFKABO had no morals I was quoting from their above post. You probably have high morals – something I am not in a position to judge.

    TAFKABO, I respect that you stand up for what you believe in. I disagree, but then you disagree with my beliefs. The only thing that will change your opinion will be your own freewill determination (same applies to me as well). I truely do not want to upset you with my views. I am conscious that the ‘anti-homosexual’ point of view nearly always comes across as ‘holier than thou’. I assure you I don’t view things like that.
    From my point of view all I can do is point out that I do not want to promote the gay lifestyle due to a) Religious implications b) harmfull attributes of the lifestyle to the individual.
    You are right that some Christians are more pre-occupied with certain ‘sins’ than others.

    Maca what I am saying is that you are quoting random bits of the Bible. The debate about the law of God is off topic anyhow. If you truely want to debate it start another thread. Let me reassure you and save you some reading the Bible could not be more clear in it’s opposition to homosexuality.

  • the real gay guy

    Maca have a look at this:

    A U.S. Justice Department study found an annual average of 13,740 male victims of violence by homosexual partners and 16,900 victims by lesbian partners. (U.S. Department of Justice, “Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99,” Bureau of Justice Selected Findings.) By contrast, the 1999 statistics for hate crimes based on sexual orientation totaled 1,558 victims (U.S. Department of Justice Statistics, Uniform Crime Reports 1999).

  • Dr Snuggles

    Can anyone explain why fundamentalist christians get themselves so worked up over this issue? I don’t recall seeing too many Free Presbyterians standing outside courts after some loyalist thug has been sentenced for murder.

    I don’t recall seeing any fundamentalists protesting outside loyalist bars preaching against drug dealing.

    Just maybe that’s because they don’t have the balls to take on those who are really doing something wrong. They’re much happier targeting a peaceable and put-upon section of society. That’s bullying in my book.

  • the really wild gay guy

    Snuggles,
    I think they are protesting at something which they see is being passed off as ‘legal’ and ‘ok to do’. I don’t think you will find too many ‘loyalists’ in bars believing that what they are doing is ok.
    BTW the PUP hate the DUP; didn’t you know that?

  • John Pentland

    maca

    “Surely it’s fair to ask why people seem to be selective in what they believe in the bible?”

    There are a lot of very read people here on Slugger and I am surprised that they do not approach the Bible with the same rigour they would approach a classic novel or poetry. As I said it is very lazy and does not do the Bible justice.

    TAFKABO

    “I don’t have a moral code, or indeed morals.These are products of religion, designed to keep the masses in line.”

    Unless you are the Marquis de Sade everyone has morals.

    For instance do you believe the strong should help the weak and the rich should help the poor ? If you do then why do you ?

    In my opinion anarchists are people who are too lazy to think about life and its complexities and responsibilities.

    Once you start to and realise you are not some little island then you become aware of your requirements to your fellow human beings – surely those are morals ?

  • Young Fogey

    Can anyone explain why fundamentalist christians get themselves so worked up over this issue?

    Because we have much better sex lives than they do.

  • Dr Snuggles

    “I think they are protesting at something which they see is being passed off as ‘legal’ and ‘ok to do’. I don’t think you will find too many ‘loyalists’ in bars believing that what they are doing is ok.
    BTW the PUP hate the DUP; didn’t you know that?”

    That’s pretty specious reasoning. If fundamentalists only protest against things that are both “sinful” and legal, then perhaps we can look forward to a few protests outside weddings in which one (or both) of the partners are divorced. I look forward to seeing what happens to them. At least no one saw any threat of violence against the protesters at the civil partnership ceremonies. The point being that they pick on soft targets.

    I only used the example of loyalists because they are coreligionists of the Free Ps. There are plenty of loyalists, republicans and others who peddle drugs, extort, rob etc and don’t care whether what they are doing is “OK”.

    The point about antipathy between the DUP and the PUP isn’t relevant. If anything, it underlines the point that religious nuts won’t cross those whose reprisals about which they might pee their pants at night.

  • Metro

    Christian gay haters are harnessing the hatred of secularised straights in their diabolical campaign againt homosexuals. If they had their way, they would criminalise and medicalise gays, having them sectioned under mental health legislation, as in ‘the good old days’.

    All these medical horror statistics are irrelevant, since lesbians are the least likely sexual group to catch sexual diseases. Does this mean God approves of lesbians more than anyone else? Jesus did not blame sickness on sin as He healed a blind man whose condition He did not attribute to sinfulness (John 9:3). He also said that God ‘ sends rain on the just and on the unjust.’ (Matt 5 :45). Shit happens!

    Christian hostility to gays centres on the work of one person – Paul the apostle, a complicated man, who had many wonderful insights, but some strange ideas about sex. Since he believed in the imminent Second Coming, he recommended giving it up altogether, but was content to put up with Christians getting married if they felt they must. Although he warned against getting angry, he fought with other Christian leaders, including Peter and Barnabas, and even temporarily blinded a magician (Acts 13: 11). Although he recommended giving up circumcision in order to convert Gentiles, he circumcised Timothy because he wanted to convert Jews! (Acts 16:3). So he was not averse to stretching his own rules when it suited him.

    Paul’s other ideas include: veiling women in church (1 Cor 11:6 – Muslims take note!); keeping them silent in church, and letting them ask their husbands what they need to know at home (1 Cor 14: 34-35); reminding men that to have long hair is ‘degrading’ (1 Cor 11:14); bidding slaves to be submissive to their masters and everyone to be submissive to rulers and authorities (Titus 2: 9, 3: 1). By the way, God is a man, as a man need not cover his head in church ‘since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man’(1 Cor 11: 7).

    As with other aspects of the Bible, many Christians are selective, allowing their hatred of homosexuals to emphasise certain texts. Yet Paul himself acknowledged his fallabilities and recommended that scripture ‘is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction’ (Tim 3:16). Well, given 2,000 years of human civilisation and science, what a good idea! Let’s get back to basics and read what JESUS actually said!

    As for Christian traditions, other early Christian writers held that all sex for non-creative purposes was sinful (every sperm is sacred), but what if a couple could not have children? Should all potential spouses have fertility tests and, in addition, be asked if they have fornicated before they take their vows? Another reason for marriage is to avoid promiscuity. Isn’t Elton John happy with his handsome husband? He needn’t go to a gay bar again!

    The Church of Ireland Book of Common Prayer includes as a reason for marriage ‘mutual society, help, and comfort’. This is a good enough reason for anyone to marry, gay or straight!

  • TAFKABO

    John Pentland.

    I understand the point you make, but I reiterate, I don’t have “morals”.
    For me, morals are the product of some higher power implanting a strict code within my person, and since i don’t accept the existance of a higher power, it follows that I don’t adhere to any “moral code” laid down by the same.

    I am a secular humanist, and I do believe in ethics, which are rules we human can set ourselves to live by, in the interest of the greater good, both for society and mankind as a whole.

  • I break the Sabbath on a regular basis, can I expect a demonstration outside my house when I do a bit of vaccuuming?

    Sex sells but in purchasing and in focusing the mind for a bit of a protest. It is a testimony to the enduring facination that sex has for us all. You would think that the novelty would be wearing off at this stage in human evolution.

    Much as I do not agree with the protests, there is part of me that can’t help admiring the fact that these people are that interested in the welfare of people not acting under duress. I am far to selfish to put myself out in this way. If these couplkes were being forced into these partnerships I may feel moved to stand there with a placard but otherwise, there are so many onter ways to pass my time.

    Thinking about it, I would love for people to protest outside my house about me doing housework on a Sunday. It would be a great reason to bunk off.

  • Brian Boru

    A return to the traditions of ancient Ireland where sam-sex couples could also marry. A welcome development. Hopefully other traditions like unification will follow, and the revival of the Irish language. And those ppl protesting against this need to drag their ostrich-like necks out of archaic and profoundly inconsistent texts.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    If this ‘gay marriage’ had been put to a democratic vote the Northern Ireland public would have rejected it. The vast majority of decent people are opposed to the gay lifestyle and the disease and illness it brings.

    Metro, Lesbians are not the least likely group to avoid sexual disease. Normal men and women who have one sexual partner are – just as promoted in the bible. That is what God promotes. Please don’t try and suggest the bible condones homosexuality. Yes illness falls on the good and the bad of course it does.
    I can give you a lecture on ‘feeling angry’ and ‘being angry’ if you want. So what, Paul is wrong for arguing his point? Since when did Paul make up any rules? Circumcision was only meant for the jews. Timothy was half-jew, but then you know this already – you are just stiring.

    Show me where there is hatred of gays in the bible? Show me one example of evangelicals physically attacking gays.

  • Baluba

    ‘If this ‘gay marriage’ had been put to a democratic vote the Northern Ireland public would have rejected it. The vast majority of decent people are opposed to the gay lifestyle and the disease and illness it brings.’

    On what evidence do you base this assertion? What is the ‘gay lifestyle’? Is it uniform? Who are these ‘decent’ people who are in the majority and what makes them ‘decent’?

  • Metro

    Corinthians,

    Christians are told to hate the sin but love the sinner, but many find this distinction difficult. For example, a friend of mine was beaten severely by his very orthodox father when he found out he was gay. In Scotland the furore over Clause 28 a few years ago led to a media charge against homosexuality led by the Catholic Church in Scotland, funded by a millionaire, and led by the ‘Daily Record’. One result was a sharp rise in attacks on gay people.

    The day-to-day experience of gay people is not of theological debate on the nature of sexuality, but beatings, sackings, and abuse by secularised and other ‘Christians’ who use the Bible to back-up their hatred. Bitter fruits indeed! If a religion provokes you to hate people, I think you should re-examine it, especially Christianity, which is distinct from other religions because of its emphasis on love.

    It is the experience of many gay people that their Christian friends do not admonish them for their sexual identity, as having got to know them ‘in the round’, they find biblical simplicities to be challenged by experience.

    My thoughts on Paul are to say that he was a man of his time, and some of his comments are now outdated, and should not be used to bring misery to millions.

    As for majoritarianism, a caveat on ‘bread and circuses’. The test of a good democracy is how it treats its minorities. For example, it seems to me to be a good idea that the partner of a dying homosexual has rights to visit him in hospital, rather than be banned by parents who threw their son out when they discovered he was gay! Is this not reasonable?

  • Colm

    metro

    Eminantly sensible comments. It is impossible to debate rationally with those who quote the bible because they are people guided not by rational argument but by dogma which they choose to obey. I find it impossible to understand why anyone would object to these partnerships or feel so negative about them. Who are these couples harming?

    On television yesterday a woman who witnessed Elton John’s ceremony spoke first about her own 43 year long happy marraige and then in the same breath spoke of how much she disliked the same-sex civil ceremonies, and all I could think was , how could someone be so willing to deny to other people that which had given her so much happiness in her own life.

    A sad and selfish attitude.

  • Dr Snuggles

    “Show me one example of evangelicals physically attacking gays.”

    Easy. One of your evangelical love-merchants punched a man in the face at Belfast Gay Pride in 2004. It was shown clearly on the evening news, both here and on national TV.

    It was rerun again this year in the run-up to the 2005 parade. I’m amazed that you haven’t seen it.

  • Re-claim the ‘Gay’

    Colm, I debate with religious conviction and statistics that are a-religious.
    The homosexual act is hidiously sick. Explain to me how God intended us to be involved in ‘rimming’?
    Just sick.

  • Dr Snuggles

    “The homosexual act is hidiously sick.”

    That is the sort of comment that drives some young people to attempt suicide because they can’t change who and what they are.

    A sense of perspective is sadly lacking here. Some people really need to think hard about what really is or is not “hideously sick”. Murder, rape, and beating up pensioners all certainly fall into that category. An act of consensual physical intimacy does not.

    “Explain to me how God intended us to be involved in ‘rimming’?”

    Explain to me how God intended us to be involved in judgmentalism, prejudice, and hysterical name-calling.

    Did God intend us to line-dance, buy Daniel O’Donnell CDs, watch Hollyoaks, or wear shell suits? People do all sorts of crazy stuff and I’m not sure God has anything to do with it…

  • Well said Dr Snuggles,

    To be honest I hadn’t really appreciated what this legislation can mean in terms of rights of next of kin beyond the financial. The notion that the parents of a gay man in the terminal stages of Aids baring his partner from his bedside is barbaric and on this count alone, anything that can prevent this is to be welcomed.

    Am I the only one who has absolutly no conception what rimming means? Everything that I can imagine already has a name. I’m not looking for anyone to explain it. If and when my curiosity gets the better of me I will google it.

    Shell suits – some people are truely disgusting 😉