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UK Religion told to halt weddings over gay rights

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Archived_Member16, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    Religion told to halt weddings over gay rights

    The future of traditional Indian weddings in Britain is in doubt because of the fallout from gay marriage passing into law, it has emerged

    This is the first example of a religious group altering its marriage practices to avoid potential litigation


    By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
    8:30AM BST 21 Jul 2013


    Sikh temples have been advised to halt all civil marriage ceremonies on their premises to protect them from possible legal challenges for refusing to conduct same-sex weddings.

    It is the first example of a religious group altering its marriage practices to avoid potential litigation based on equalities or human rights law.

    Other groups, including the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox Jewish organisation United Synagogue, also resisted the legislation, but they have not indicated that they will go as far as to surrender their marriage licences.

    The Government has given repeated assurances that legal *provisions should prevent anyone being forced to act against their religious teachings.

    The warning comes in a letter to Sikh places of worship, known as gurdwaras, from Sikhs In England, a specialist advisory body.

    It urges them to consider deregistering as a venue for civil weddings — which would leave gurdwaras performing wedding rites with no legal force.

    Couples would have to attend a separate ceremony in a register office or other venue recognised by their local council.

    Although the advice is not binding, it is understood that it is being taken seriously.

    Lord Singh, the director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, told the House of Lords that he feared opponents of same-sex marriage would be “coerced” into accepting the new legal definition of marriage.

    The network also advised members that it believes faith groups could end up being “bullied” into conducting same-sex marriages.

    The same-sex marriage Act, which received Royal Assent this week, contains provisions to prevent individuals and groups from being compelled to carry out such unions, under a so-called “quadruple lock” of legal protections.

    But Sikhs In England has told supporters that such assurances could be swept away by a challenge in Strasbourg. Harmander Singh, principal adviser to Sikhs In England, said: “We are concerned that the quadruple lock isn’t going to be worth the paper it is written on.

    “In the longer term, as soon as there is an issue and it goes to the European Court of Human Rights, no one can be sure, because the quadruple lock means nothing under subsidiarity.”

    In common with many churches, mosques and synagogues, gurdwaras are registered with councils as venues to conduct weddings.

    It enables them to combine the civil formalities of the marriage with a religious ceremony.

    If Sikh places of worship deregister, it would lead to a situation similar to that in France, where couples have a civil wedding at the town hall with a church service as an optional extra.

    “We have no authority, neither has the Government, to change our scriptures,” said Mr Singh. “We are bound by our religious teachings and we have been put in a difficult situation.”

    He added: “Civil marriage is, with respect, a paper exercise.”

    source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/rel...on-told-to-halt-weddings-over-gay-rights.html
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Who advised Sikh groups to de-register their gurdwaras? That is the opening line and it is very ambiguous.

    Why are not Orthodox Jews and Roman Catholics similarly perturbed?

    It is also unclear how any religious congregation would force its members undergo separate civil and religious ceremonies, as in France, because it refused to marry same sex couples. The earlier coverage of the law seemed to be clear that religious congregations could opt out. There was no indication that opting out would result in a congregation having to forfeit its authority to provide the civil marriage service (in actuality, signing off on a civil marriage license).

    Conversely, the Church in England and in Wales were prohibited from opting in. There the matter is moot.

    What am I missing? Or is the real issue with the EU courts?
     
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    #2 spnadmin, Jul 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Here is the same story told from a different slant by GayStarNews.

    UK Sikh temples told to stop civil weddings over gay marriage becoming law

    Advisory group is terrified Sikh temples could be forced to conduct same-sex marriages in England and Wales, despite repeated government assurances


    By Joe Morgan

    Sikh temples are stopping all civil ceremonies over same-sex marriages becoming law in England and Wales.

    Sikhs in England, a specialist advisory body, has told the places of worship gurdwaras to deregister as a venue for civil weddings.

    They are doing this out of fear they could be forced to conduct same-sex marriages, despite constant government assurances no religious body will be forced to carry them out.

    If the gurdwaras do deregister as wedding venues, they could still perform ceremonies but they would have no legal force.

    Couples would have to attend another ceremony in a registry office or other registered venue in order to have a legally binding marriage.

    Harmander Singh, principal adviser to Sikhs In England, told The Telegraph: ‘We are concerned that the quadruple lock isn’t going to be worth the paper it is written on.

    ‘In the longer term, as soon as there is an issue and it goes to the European Court of Human Rights, no one can be sure, because the quadruple lock means nothing under subsidiarity.’

    During the House of Lords debates, Lord Singh was one of the most homophobic voices in the chamber.

    He had called for a referendum on same-sex marriage and said it would also ‘dilute’ opposite-sex marriage.

    Under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, signed into law by the Queen last week, it is written any religious organization or an individual religious leader cannot be forced to bless same-sex weddings. This does not apply to registrars.

    Other groups, such as the Roman Catholic Church, the orthodox Jewish organization United Synagogue, have also opposed same-sex marriages.

    None of those groups have so far volunteered to give up their marriage license.

    - See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/...riage-becoming-law220713#sthash.nxS0FCmO.dpuf
     
  5. Archived_Member16

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    FOLLOW-UP, AS A MATTER OF INTEREST:

    Sikh clergy clamps down on gay marriages

    Published: Jan. 19, 2005 at 1:44 PM

    HARBAKSH SINGH NANDA

    NEW DELHI, Jan. 19 (UPI)
    -- The top priest of the Sikh religion has issued a directive forbidding same-sex marriages among the Sikhs, a move that has stirred a hornet's nest in lands as far as in Canada, where the Liberal government is about to introduce a bill in the parliament next month.

    Joginder Singh Vedanti, the chief of Akal Takht, the highest spiritual and temporal seat of the Sikhs, has said in the edict that same sex marriages have no place in Sikhism. The directive was issued on the eve of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's ongoing visit to India.

    Canada is home to the largest Sikh population outside India. At least six lawmakers in Canadian parliament are Sikhs, and they may be caught between religion and politics when it comes to voting on the bill.

    Vedanti's directive bars Sikh priests all over the world from solemnizing same-sex marriages in gurudwaras, or Sikh places of worship.

    The religious edict, which is binding on the Sikhs, reads that the rising trend of same-sex marriages in Western countries was a matter of concern to the Sikh religion. The moves of certain countries to give legal recognition to such unions has already initiated a worldwide debate.

    The top priest said the Sikh code of conduct did not allow same-sex marriages, saying, "Same-sex marriage originates from a sick mind."

    "The trend needs to be curbed," he said.

    Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, who is visiting India, has called off his visit to Amritsar, home to Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrine. His predecessor, Jean Chretien, had visited the Golden Temple to pay his obeisance a few days before he relinquished the office.

    While former premier of British Columbia and Canada's Federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, who was to accompany Martin to Amritsar, said that the Canadian government was committed to allowing same-sex marriages, Gurmant Grewal, three-time member of Canadian Parliament, held that in 1998 the House of Commons had said that the traditional definition of marriage, meaning that it was between a man and a woman, should be retained.

    The six Sikh Members of Parliament have taken different stands on the issue, The Tribune daily reported. While four Sikh lawmakers are Liberals, two are Conservatives. The directive calls upon the Sikhs worldwide not to support political parties or governments that support gay marriages.

    Martin told reporters in New Delhi Tuesday: "This is a question of civil marriage, not of religious marriage.

    "I would point out that we are a country of ethnic and religious minorities,'' Martin said, adding "And the purpose of the Charter of Rights is to protect minorities, to protect them against the oppression of the majority.''

    Indian Premier Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, said that same-sex legislation "would not have, I think, wide appreciation" in India.

    Canadian media reports suggested that Martin's itinerary was changed, dropping the scheduled Amritsar visit, to make time for last weekend's stopovers in tsunami-stricken regions of Thailand and Sri Lanka.

    Dosanjh said that he believed the edict would not influence the political views of Canadian Sikhs. "I mean, Prime Minister Martin and (former) Prime Minister Chretien both were Catholics. The Vatican (stand against same-sex marriage) didn't have an impact on them. And therefore no other religious institution would have an impact on anybody else."

    Gurbax Singh Malhi, a Bramalea, Ontario, Liberal MP, said he would vote against his government's bill, which is likely to be introduced in February.

    "I believe in religion. That is why I'm against same sex-marriage," Malhi told CTV News.

    "Traditionally . . . everybody works under the guidelines of the Golden Temple," Malhi added. "For the Sikhs, (Vedanti) is next to God. So I think whatever he says, the people have to follow the rules and regulations of the traditions.''

    But Brampton, Ontario, MP Ruby Dhalla said while the Sikh high priest is equivalent to the pope, she's not in Parliament to "impose my religious views or my faith on anybody."

    Sikhism is considered to be the youngest organized religion in the world, and there are nearly 20 million Sikhs all over the world, but primarily in India's northern state of Punjab. Sikhism has had 10 gurus in its history. However, today it recognizes no human guru but only the "perpetual Guru" - the Holy Book called Guru Granth Sahib.

    Sikhs strictly oppose the discrimination of women, which has been rampant in traditional Indian culture -- for example, the burning of widows (sati) and female infanticide.

    All male Sikhs have the middle or last name of Singh, meaning lion. It is a name they adopt during the initiation rite comparable to Christian baptism but celebrated at an age when they are old enough to understand their religious obligations.

    Sikh men wear a pointed turban covering the long hair and they also sport a beard. Sikhs are just 2 percent of India's one billion people but are considered an influential minority. Marriage is an integral institution of the religion, and Sikh clergy are allowed to marry and have a family.


    © 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


    source: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Se...mps-down-on-gay-marriages/UPI-72301106160279/
     
  6. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    A point of view from another country, In Mexico religious wedding ceremonies of any type have no legal standing. A couple must be married in a seperate civil ceremony for the union to recognized. Mexico City and the state of Quintan Roo allow same sex marriage and by law they are recognized in all other states of the republic.
     
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  7. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    I think I mentioned this before. No religious wedding has any legal binding, unless it is registered as a "Civil Marriage" in the respective countries to reap the benefits as a married couple.

    In the US, it depends on the state. In California and many other states, one has to get a licence to get married that gives the couple 30 days for the AIDS tests and many other things. After that one can marry in any religious places or at the court. If they do the latter, the marriage is automatically registered but if they do the former, then if they do not get registered, the marriage is not valid. We made the same mistake and got it registered after Jaskeerat was born otherwise,legally we were not married even with the certificate from the Gurdwara, which is not a civil marriage but a religious one.

    As I said on the other day, this new law changes nothing as far as the Civil Marriage in concerned in the UK which has been sanctioned since 2004. This new law only nudges the religious places to join the evolutionary understandings of life and to get rid of their dogmatic biases.

    So, this issuance of some letters by the Gurdwaras makes no sense and it is rather meaningless which is not even in sync with the law passed.

    No religious place is authorised to perform civil marriages as the Gurdwara letter/s indicate. Only the respective governmental entities can do that

    The ironic thing is that some Gurdwaras will marry, “so called Sunday Sikhs” but will refuse to marry inter-religious people.

    It seems at times that the honchos have been doing tapasyas in some caves.

    Having said this, it will take ions for the Gurdwaras to change, if they do at all.

    In order to do that, they have to be bold enough to educate themselves about the true meaning of what they parrot ever so often first, “Sabh Gobind hein, Gobind bin nahin koi”.

    This is one more proof, how parroting only inflates our ego, nothing more; whereas Gurbani teaches us to get rid of it.

    This is irony of life when dogmas creep into the wonderful pragmatic way of life.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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    #6 Tejwant Singh, Jul 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I wanted to respond to some of the issues in the 2005 article but am powerless because these ideas have me dumbfounded.



    Belief in religion and acceptance of same-sex marriage do not necessarily depend one on the other. The jathedar is not a pope but an employee of SGPC, which was instituted by the Sikh Gurdwara Act of 1925. Thus the jathedar is by extension a civil servant. If Vedanti as jathedar was next to god in 2005, how did he get fired as pope a few years later. For the sake of not confusing people, that Singh is a middle name or a last name should be clarified. Which is it? Finally, Sikh men in a "pointed turban" who "also sport a beard" makes it seem that Singhs are the bad guys in black and white cinema of the 1930's. Really ........ Bibi Ruby ji!!!!

    In other words, I am nearly speechless, can only sputter, and still have not regained my senses.
     
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    #7 spnadmin, Jul 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013

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