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 Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill

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PostSubject: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:19 am

spillercork wrote:
3. Senator David Norris: He has consistently held the banner for Gay
Rights (and other minority rights) over the last number of years. He
has never backed down and is not afraid of taking anyone on on Civil
Unions including the Catholic Church!

Why would he? He is a member of the Church of Ireland so I wouldn't think he would give a fiddle what the Catholic Church thinks anyway. I don't think he really cares what the COI thinks either but he certainly wouldn't be too bothered by the opinion of another denomination - particularly in this day and age.


Last edited by johnfás on Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:28 am

johnfás wrote:
spillercork wrote:
He has never backed down and is not afraid of taking anyone on on Civil Unions including the Catholic Church!

Why would he? He is a member of the Church of Ireland so I wouldn't think he would give a fiddle what the Catholic Church thinks anyway. I don't think he really cares what the COI thinks either but he certainly wouldn't be too bothered by the opinion of another denomination - particularly in this day and age.

well the Church thinks it still has a lot of power going so far as to threaten top take the state to Court if it passes the Civil Union bill (info: my blog and indo). The Church does have moral power in this area and he stands up to them by Cardinal's attitude to gays to that of Zimbabwe despot Robert Mugabe.

He is also very funny, even in the seanad where earlier this year he had this exchange back in April
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:33 am

The Church can't sue David Norris and David Norris isn't in Government so I don't think he is too bothered by the moral outrage of the Catholic hierarchy, to be quite honest.

I don't doubt his moral fibre or his ability to stand up for what he believes in. His cases against Ireland before the ECtHR are testimony to that. I also know the man and he is a great guy. But I don't think his standing up to the Catholic Church in this day and age and when he is not even a subscriber, is that noble a position, that is all. More a technicality than anything Very Happy.

Anyway, probably need another thread on this. I will establish one now and split the thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:43 am

never said they would sue norris, i said the state. th eoriginal bill was written by norris and was withdrawn when the gov't promised to intiate their own.

He is outraged as per his comments in the indo. He has fought long and hard with many others on this issue.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:02 am

If the Catholic Church disagrees with it they are perfectly entitled to oppose it as any interest group is entitled to oppose any legislation. Why have so little faith in the Irish people that they would blindly follow the hierarchy of the Church in this apparent post celtic tiger period of englightenment?

If they successful demonstrate before the Supreme Court that it is unconstitutional we should not accept the legislation. We need legislation which is in line with the constitution or we open up a whole barrel of worms that we do not want. That is not to say that I do not support such legislation, I have not given an opinion in this post, it is merely my point that we need constitutional legislation or if that is not possible then we need a constitutional amendment.


Last edited by johnfás on Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:03 am

Okay, so I don't live in Ireland anymore, but am I wrong in being stunned at the Cardinal's reported comments? Is he being serious or just trying to rattle the govt's cage?

Always 2 steps forward, 1 step back ...

http://election2008.advocate.com/2008/11/calif-may-still.html
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:05 am

I will note, Johnfas, that in all honesty, I haven't read the govt's proposed legislation - something I'll rectify at the weekend (realistically not beforehand).

I read this story at some point this morning and was just struck by a certain lack of consistency on the part of the Cardinal. Am open to correction, as always.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:15 am

Absolutely, but the Cardinal isn't an integral part of the Irish State. He is an influential person with alot of people, yes, but he holds no actual political power. He holds the same nominal influence as any other influential actor in the process can. Why should one lambast the Cardinal for having an opinion and seek the progress it - is that not the point of politics? If you disagree with him argue him on the issues, but lets not bang the table. The period of the Church controlling this State are gone and are hopefully not coming back. That is not to say that they are not a powerful actor - and why should they not be a powerful actor? They have an awful lot of subscribers.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:21 am

johnfás wrote:
If the Catholic Church disagrees with it they are perfectly entitled to oppose it as any interest group is entitled to oppose any legislation. Why have so little faith in the Irish people that they would blindly follow the hierarchy of the Church in this apparent post celtic tiger period of englightenment?

If they successful demonstrate before the Supreme Court that it is unconstitutional we should not accept the legislation. We need legislation which is in line with the constitution or we open up a whole barrel of worms that we do not want. That is not to say that I do not support such legislation, I have not given an opinion in this post, it is merely my point that we need constitutional legislation or if that is not possible then we need a constitutional amendment.

As far as I am aware the bill is not unconstitutional. Its not the peopel I don't have faith in its the hypocrasy of the church. The owuldnt take a position on lisbon as it would gets peoples backs up and showing contempt for voters but they will on this despite all the major parties backing it for which most people voted for in the GE.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:26 am

All legislation has a presumption of constitutionality unless and until it is successful demonstrated to be unconstitutional before the Supreme Court. You may feel that is a hypocritical position but why does the Catholic Church not have the right to lobby on an issue if it feels strongly about it and why does it not have the right to challenge the constitutionality of legislation? If the legislation is deemed unconstitutional it should not have been passed in the first place and if it is deemed constitutional then the Catholic Church does not have a leg to stand on and will lose. Why are people afraid of this?

I am no tremendous fan on the social policy of the Catholic Church. I am not a member of the Catholic Church and in fact I sit on the senior committee which considers these matters within another Christian denomination on this island. However, we cannot have democracy when we want it and then not have it when we disagree.

If the legislation is proved water tight it would just make the Church look silly and further erode its, already fairly poor, public image.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:28 am

the heads of the bill are here in pdf if anyone wants to view it.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:33 am

johnfás wrote:
All legislation has a presumption of constitutionality unless and until it is successful demonstrated to be unconstitutional before the Supreme Court. You may feel that is a hypocritical position but why does the Catholic Church not have the right to lobby on an issue if it feels strongly about it and why does it not have the right to challenge the constitutionality of legislation? If the legislation is deemed unconstitutional it should not have been passed in the first place and if it is deemed constitutional then the Catholic Church does not have a leg to stand on and will lose. Why are people afraid of this?

I am no tremendous fan on the social policy of the Catholic Church. I am not a member of the Catholic Church and in fact I sit on the senior committee which considers these matters within another Christian denomination on this island. However, we cannot have democracy when we want it and then not have it when we disagree.

If the legislation is proved water tight it would just make the Church look silly and further erode its, already fairly poor, public image.

I am not a member of the Catholic Church either and while i appreciate a democracy I dont think the Catholic Church stands up as a bastion of democracy. I agree with your points on the constitutionality, I just cannot stand the church at times. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:37 am

I find their position on alot of things annoying and I certainly heavily disgree with the manner in which, the hierarchy in particular, handled itself previously. However, I also disagree strongly with Libertas, for instance, and the way that they go about things and I don't think they particularly represent my understanding of the democratic process. That said, unless it can be proven that either have broken the law, I have no choice but to accept their right to expression, to lobby and to pressure. If I do not, how can I expect someone to respect my opinion?
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:42 am

johnfás wrote:
I find their position on alot of things annoying and I certainly heavily disgree with the manner in which, the hierarchy in particular, handled itself previously. However, I also disagree strongly with Libertas, for instance, and the way that they go about things and I don't think they particularly represent my understanding of the democratic process. That said, unless it can be proven that either have broken the law, I have no choice but to accept their right to expression, to lobby and to pressure. If I do not, how can I expect someone to respect my opinion?

I suppose your right.... stupid democracy.... Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:45 am

Cheer up, to joy of democracy is all you have to do is have a better argument and your side will win. Who would have thought America of all places would elect a black man with the name Hussein as their president. Stop doubting the Irish people - I really don't think they blindly follow the teachings of the Church anymore.

The Catholic Church kicking up a fuss could be alot more bother for themselves in the long run than it is for the State. You might take some solace in that, given your apparent opinion of the Church.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:53 am

yes, you are right. i am just really tired and cannot argue properly tonight so logging off to give myself a chance to make some sense in my head!
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:55 am

bounce
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:03 am

johnfás, do you mind me asking if your religious beliefs inform your thinking on this issue?
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:09 am

My religious beliefs don't inform my thinking on the issue of whether or not an interest group, legally formed, is entitled to petition or lobby Government or the bodypolitik on an issue which concerns them. That is the essence of democracy provided that it is done legally. I dislike the message of Libertas but I support their right to seek their point of view as I support the right of the nutcases who stand outside the GPO thinking that it is still 1916. I suppose you could say my religious beliefs inform such thinking insofar as I believe in the right of freedom to choose one's own destiny, but I don't think that is what you meant.

Is that the question you are asking or do you mean my opinions on civil unions? The thread thus far has been more about the right to seek one's opinion on civil unions than the unions themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:17 am

I was referring to your opinions on the unions themselves but perhaps that is an overly intrusive question. Your reply was interesting anyway. Does the COI have a different viewpoint from the Catholic Church on the issue?
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:21 am

unaligned wrote:
I was referring to your opinions on the unions themselves but perhaps that is an overly intrusive question. Your reply was interesting anyway. Does the COI have a different viewpoint from the Catholic Church on the issue?

I believe johnfás is a Methodist, as he has reminded me on quite a few occasions! I'd say the Protestant Churches would have a slightly more liberal attitude to the issue than the Catholic Church, but I am of course open to correction on that.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:23 am

I, personally, wouldn't have a problem with gay marriages, but civil unions would go some way towards redressing the balance and creating the ground for a parity of esteem between same-sex and different-sex relationships in legal and statutory terms.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:31 am

I am not a member of the COI so I wouldn't like to speak on their behalf. However, the Archbishop of Armagh did recently state that whilst homosexual marriage was incompatible with current Christian thinking, if it were to be proven that homosexuality had a genetic origin the position would have to be reconsidered. The issue of homosexuality is of course one which is currently tearing the Anglican Church worldwide into shreds, ostensibly anyway.

I am a member of the Methodist Church and I sit on the committee of the Methodist Church in Ireland which considers such issues, on that basis I would not like to pre-empt the position of the committee, given that it has yet to reach a conclusion on the work with which it is charged, I can only speak in a personal capacity.

My personal opinion is to seek to make the Church as accessible to all as possible as I believe is the message of the gospel. For that reason, I don't think that the issue should be of central concern to the Churches. It is of course a pressing issue both for the Churches and for society but there are far more issues which perhaps giving their ongoing presence seem to lose meaning for many within the Churches. I refer to issues such as the relief of poverty, the spreading of the gospel through the love of Christ and so on.

However, despite the above, which I believe is important to state, you are clearly asking my opinion on civil unions and it is that which you want to hear about, regardless of my thinking the above is more important Razz. My opinion is that in the first instance it is the role of the Church to love. I base this both on the gospel and on a central teaching of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, who aptly put it "Though we may not all think alike, can we not all love alike?". All and any are welcome at my Church regardless of their background, personal status, sexuality or the status of their relationship. However, what is perhaps more of a complicated issue is what criteria the Churches should require in order to hold leadership within them or what sort of relationship the Churches should give blessing to. Unlike many, I think the bible is not that clear on these issues, though the obvious leanings are that homosexual practice is not in keeping with the bible. That said, my opinion stated above does not in any way mean that I do not support a full range of civil liberties being granted to all persons. I would fully support civil partnership with the same civil rights as marriage but I would not necessarily (by that, I mean without further thought, reflection and consideration on my part) support marriage in the Church sense. One such conclusion I can come up with is to dichotomise civil and Church marriage. Why not have a system like France where everyone has to go down to the registry office and sign their civil marriage certificate and thereafter what they do at the Church is their business. However, if this were to work I think the Government would have to get out of the business of allowing civil marriage at hotels. The State's only role would be in signing a register, not a ceremonial one. If the state were to arrive at such an arrangement, what difference would the opinion of the various churches matter except to those that are members. That is just one such option which floats about my head, not a reasoned or concrete opinion. Most of my opinions are fluid anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:35 am

johnfás wrote:
I am not a member of the COI so I wouldn't like to speak on their behalf. However, the Archbishop of Armagh did recently state that whilst homosexual marriage was incompatible with current Christian thinking, if it were to be proven that homosexuality had a genetic origin the position would have to be reconsidered. The issue of homosexuality is of course one which is currently tearing the Anglican Church worldwide into shreds, ostensibly anyway.

I am a member of the Methodist Church and I sit on the committee of the Methodist Church in Ireland which considers such issues, on that basis I would not like to pre-empt the position of the committee, given that it has yet to reach a conclusion on the work with which it is charged, I can only speak in a personal capacity.

My personal opinion is to seek to make the Church as accessible to all as possible as I believe is the message of the gospel. For that reason, I don't think that the issue should be of central concern to the Churches. It is of course a pressing issue both for the Churches and for society but there are far more issues which perhaps giving their ongoing presence seem to lose meaning for many within the Churches. I refer to issues such as the relief of poverty, the spreading of the gospel through the love of Christ and so on.

However, despite the above, which I believe is important to state, you are clearly asking my opinion on civil unions and it is that which you want to hear about, regardless of my thinking the above is more important Razz. My opinion is that in the first instance it is the role of the Church to love. I base this both on the gospel and on a central teaching of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, who aptly put it "Though we may not all think alike, can we not all love alike?". All and any are welcome at my Church regardless of their background, personal status, sexuality or the status of their relationship. However, what is perhaps more of a complicated issue is what criteria the Churches should require in order to hold leadership within them or what sort of relationship the Churches should give blessing to. Unlike many, I think the bible is not that clear on these issues, though the obvious leanings are that homosexual practice is not in keeping with the bible. That said, my opinion stated above does not in any way mean that I do not support a full range of civil liberties being granted to all persons. I would fully support civil partnership with the same civil rights as marriage but I would not necessarily (by that, I mean without further thought, reflection and consideration on my part) support marriage in the Church sense. One such conclusion I can come up with is to dichotomise civil and Church marriage. Why not have a system like France where everyone has to go down to the registry office and sign their civil marriage certificate and thereafter what they do at the Church is their business. However, if this were to work I think the Government would have to get out of the business of allowing civil marriage at hotels. The State's only role would be in signing a register, not a ceremonial one. If the state were to arrive at such an arrangement, what difference would the opinion of the various churches matter except to those that are members. That is just one such option which floats about my head, not a reasoned or concrete opinion. Most of my opinions are fluid anyway.



Answer the question, johnfás! Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Civil Unions and the Civil Partnership Bill   Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:42 am

I've given my opinion on the merits of same sex unions within the context of the Church as best I can above.

However, I think it is irrelevant in the context of the debate on same sex unions as I don't necessarily believe that what the Church considers to be marriage need be in line with what the State permits. The Church does not allow its leaders to be adulterers, yet there is nothing illegal about it. The Church does not allow its leaders to be alcoholics or at least it should not, yet equally this is not illegal in the context of the State.
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