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Furore as gay marriage debate stifled at Cotswold District Council meeting

By GlosEchonews  |  Posted: July 10, 2012

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UPROAR broke out in Cotswold District Council's chamber as ruling Conservatives refused to debate the issue of same-sex marriage.

Heckling and jeering erupted from the public as council leader Lynden Stowe squashed discussion - sparking accusations he had 'whipped' his party over a matter which should be up to individuals' "conscience".

Councillor Joe Harris (Lib-Dem, Cirencester-Park), proposed a motion to 'support the removal of the ban on same-sex couples being able to have a marriage through a civil ceremony'.

He also called on the authority to 'write to Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP asking him to support the Government's proposals for equal marriage'.

But a stoney-faced councillor Stowe said: "We will be offering no view on the subject."

This prompted calls of "that's disgusting" and "disgraceful" from the public and irate Cirencester resident Ian Hamilton - who caused the meeting to be temporarily adjourned.

Councillor Stowe continued: "The subject matter clearly falls outside this council's remit.

"This is a council where we have clear mandates to deliver services to the people of the Cotswolds - we're not charged with determining the moral codes of this nation."

Pointing at the Conservatives, councillor Harris said: "You've crushed my faith in humanity. It's an issue of basic human birthrights, morality and fairness."

Struggling with his emotions, Lib-Dem leader Paul Hodgkinson spoke personally and said: "Who are you councillor Stowe to say we will not be in engaging in this?

"I will celebrate this September, with my partner, 25 years together. We became civil partners in 2006.

"It's about me and everyone like me and millions in this country having the same rights as everyone else.

"This is a moment for this council to live and breathe its stated equality policy."

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  • Kay_Powell  |  July 11 2012, 5:04PM

    It is not a district council's job to debate same-sex marriage, any more than it is their job to debate milk prices, abortion, jail sentences or anything else that doesn't come within their remit.

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  • tykelip  |  July 11 2012, 12:12PM

    This thread demonstrates admirably why a local councils shouldn't get embroiled (I nearly said engaged!) in endless discussions about things that don't fall within their remit.

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  • JeremyBentham  |  July 11 2012, 11:39AM

    @Craigthatsme Well said @TIMONLINE2010 Tim non-religious people have the right to get married!. Throughout history there has been many different forms of marriage. Not all involve religion. Public ceremonies where two people tell others that they are in a relationship pre-date religion. Also marriage has been constantly changing: For example group marriage used to be more common, but is now illegal in most countries. In Ancient Greece, no specific civil ceremony was required for the creation of a marriage – only mutual agreement. From the early Christian era (30 to 325 CE), marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter, with no uniform religious or other ceremony being required. Until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent. Marriage does not belong to any RELIGION. If people want to get married they can. Regardless of what some idiot in a robe says. People have been getting married long before the modern annoying religions popped up, and people will continue to get married when these religions eventually die out. As usual RELIGION attempts to hijack everything for its own purposes.

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  • Bartonite  |  July 11 2012, 11:34AM

    A Civil Partnership is technically a marriage. But its silly that a same-sex couple cant say "were married" or "will you marry me?" To which the answer would be, 'I'm sorry, but I can never marry you, for the church doesn't sanction marriage between members of the same sex. Farewell, forever!!' "Either way the government will probably push this law through. And about time as well!. If god is that bothered about same-sex couples getting "married" he/she/it can come down and speak for itself." Blasphemy!!! }:-(

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  July 11 2012, 11:31AM

    What do you mean by 'As religious peoples have seen their communities crash and burn lately'? Christianity has been on the decline in the west in terms of numbers but that's largely because less people are just cllaing themselves Christians now and the true Christians (ie those who follow God) are left. Christians are not disciminatory - they merely uphold those standards that God set for us, most of which have been diluated by society.

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  • Craigthatsme  |  July 11 2012, 11:14AM

    As religious peoples have seen their communities crash and burn lately they have been infiltrating councils to try and stem their decline. We saw it lately with the praying before council meetings of which most people were surprised that praying was going on in what should be secular council meetings. The problem is now the religions are getting more and more desperate to hang onto their discriminatory powers and what should we do? Nothing! Let them go the same way as the dinosaur's because that's what they are old dinosaur's.

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  July 11 2012, 11:00AM

    There is every differemce Jeremy - God created one and man created the other. You can't take something that was defined thousands of years ago and suddenly decide based on the will of a minority that its definition should be changed! If homosexuals want to pretend to be married then they can use the civil invention of civil partnerships.

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  • JeremyBentham  |  July 11 2012, 10:44AM

    @Bonkim2003 http://tinyurl.com/c65rwj9 "So, what's the difference? There is, essentially, very little difference legally between a marriage and a civil partnership. The difference exists principally due to protests from religious groups about recognising same-sex couples and heterosexual couples in the same way. Therefore, the main difference between a marriage and a civil partnership is religion. During the civil partnership ceremony there will tend not be any reference to religion or church as there are still sectors of religious society strongly opposed to same-sex marriage." Religious views SHOULD NOT get preference over equality. Yes. A Civil Partnership is technically a marriage. But its silly that a same-sex couple cant say "were married" or "will you marry me?". The state is suppose to be secular. (Even though 26 unelected bishops sit in the House of Lords) http://tinyurl.com/cz67rcf "A secular government is the only way of ensuring that every citizen is treated equally". Either way the government will probably push this law through. And about time as well!. If god is that bothered about same-sex couples getting "married" he/she/it can come down and speak for itself. Most people I speak to define marriage as "a social contract/legal contract between two or more people that love each other" I say two or more, as me and most of friends think polygamy should be made legal. Again if three people love each other, they should also be able to get married. If religious people are offended, that's their problem.

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  • Bartonite  |  July 11 2012, 10:37AM

    I've covered this before, which is why there hardly seems to be any point in doing much more than questioning the motives of a wet behind the ears councillor in raising this issue at a council level... http://tinyurl.com/bqfszz2 But just as abortion tends not to be an issue which gay couples have much involvement with, marriage is historically something undertaken, with the blessing of their church, by people who intend to have children in the customary fashion. If we start stretching the definition of 'marriage', we might as well extend it to bestial 'relationships', and other imaginative couplings. Find a church which is prepared to countenance such ceremonies (as opposed to the occasional maverick priest), based on scripture, and we can talk about it. Vince Cable is agin it as well, apparently... http://tinyurl.com/buke6zu

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  • reader1299  |  July 11 2012, 10:29AM

    They won't be satisfied until the Church only have openly Lesbian Bishops. Not clear how that shows equal treatment.

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