Government should butt out of marriage and churches – Eamonn Butler (Adam Smith Insitute)
“UK Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone want to legalise gay marriage. Fine by me: I don’t see why gay couples should not be able to sign up for the same obligations, rights and benefits that heterosexual couples observe and enjoy.
She also wants gay couples to be allowed to marry in church, like heterosexual ones. Again, I have no problem with that, if the church is willing to do it.
All good libertarian stuff.
But Ms Featherstone wants to go further, and force churches to officiate in gay marriages, whether they like it or not.
Likewise, Ms Featherstone should keep her nose out of what the churches choose to do. They too may have their own minimum standards for marriage, which couples have to sign up to before they can expect to be married on the premises. Fine. Churches are private clubs, let them get on with it. Personally, I would be campaigning for them to accept gay couples, but I wouldn’t force church officials to betray their consciences. These are deeply held ethical positions. Churches have been thinking about the morality of lifetime partnerships a good deal longer than Ms Featherstoe has.”