Church gay weddings ban ‘illegal’ – media roundup

Jan 28, 2013

  • Sunday Times: Church of England gay weddings ban may be illegal
  • Daily Telegraph: PM’s wife, Samantha, real driving force behind redefining marriage
  • Daily Mail: Public sector workers face sack over marriage beliefs
  • Daily Telegraph: One million Catholics urged to lobby MPs
  • PinkNews: Redefining marriage could cost taxpayer £5m
  • Others: Gay marriage supporters say the Bill doesn’t achieve equality

The Government’s bid to protect the Church of England from hostile litigation, by effectively banning it from performing gay weddings, could be “illegal”, the Sunday Times (£) reports. Aidan O’Neill QC, an expert on EU and human rights law at Matrix Chambers, has warned that the ban is “eminently challengeable from a human rights perspective and may well not stand up to scrutiny”. Although the European Court has been reluctant to impose gay marriage on member states, once a nation chooses to have gay marriage it cannot treat gay couples differently from straight couples.

The Daily Telegraph reports that David Cameron’s wife Samantha is the one who is really pushing him to redefine marriage. An unnamed cabinet minister told the paper: “Samantha is the driving force behind the policy.” Last week, reports emerged that his mother had been asked why he is backing such a divisive and unpopular policy. She answered: “I know, but David just won’t be told.”

The Daily Mail reports that marriage registrars, teachers, and public sector chaplains could be sued unless they embrace the redefinition of marriage. It follows news from earlier in the week that an adoption charity is facing deregistration because it expects couples to be married for at least two years before adopting children.

Meanwhile, today’s Daily Telegraph reports that one million postcards against the redefinition of marriage have been sent to Catholic parishioners for them to sign and send to their local MP. The House of Commons will get its first opportunity to debate and vote on the redefining marriage bill on Tuesday 5 February.

Gay news website,, reports that redefining marriage will cost the taxpayer almost £5million, although others believe the real cost is substantially higher.

The Bill to redefine marriage has been criticised by supporters of gay marriage. Iain Dale says it doesn’t introduce genuine ‘equal marriage’, pointing out that gay marriage will have no rules of consummation or adultery. Peter Tatchell criticises the Bill for not opening civil partnerships to straight couples.