Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

United Kingdom – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on December 24, 2010

We were brought up to believe we would fall in love and get married

The Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, and her partner, Franka Strietzel, would like to get married but were refused permission by register office staff. As part of the Equal Love campaign, they plan to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

From Daily Telegraph, 24.12.10:

By Rev Sharon Ferguson

Franka and I have been together for over two years. We recently started talking about having our commitment to each other recognised.

Although I fully appreciate the benefits of civil partnerships, I don’t feel they are appropriate for us. As chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, and also a pastor in the Metropolitan Community Church, I spend my life campaigning for justice and equality.

No matter how good civil partnerships are with regard to the legal protections and rights they provide, they are still a separate system that was put together to stop gay and lesbian people from being able to marry.

Like most people in this world, we were brought up to believe that one day we’d fall in love and get married. This is what we want to do and our sexual orientation should not be an impediment.

We plan to bring a joint legal action with seven other gay and straight couples, in a bid to overturn the twin bans on gay marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.

We’re optimistic. Our legal case is winnable. Equality in civil marriage and civil partnership law is now supported by most of the public and by the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green leaders, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Caroline Lucas.

It hits hard that we’ve been denied the right to get married.

We will now focus on pursuing the Equal Love legal case to overturn the ban.

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