Terence

Posts Tagged ‘Marriage and family’

Archbishop Nichols reminds Marriage Care to follow Church teaching

In Marriage and family on September 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

The Archbishop of Westminster has warned Marriage Care that it must conform to Catholic teaching after it emerged that the charity is offering marriage preparation services to same-sex couples.

The charity, which receives money from the Catholic Church, states: “Our counselling service is open to and welcomes everybody over the age of 16, married or not, straight or not.” It also offers marriage preparation and “welcome all couples considering a committed relationship such as marriage”.

A spokesman for Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of Marriage Care, said his role was exercised “solely on the basis that the charitable objects… are to provide relationship counselling, marriage preparation and relationship education services to ‘promote and support marriage and family life in accordance with the Church’s vision of marriage as a vocation of life and love’.”

He added: “It is the legal and fiduciary responsibility of the directors of the company to ensure that the charitable objects of Catholic Marriage Care Limited are observed and fulfilled. The provision of services in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church is also a requirement for Catholic Marriage Care Limited to maintain its continued use of the title Catholic within its designation and to retain the patronage of one of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.”

– CatholicHerald.co.uk.

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Lesbian couple to take vows in nation’s first public Buddhist same-sex union

In Marriage and family on July 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

Two devout Buddhist women are to hold the nation’s first gay Buddhist wedding next month as part of an effort to push for the legalization of same-sex marriages in Taiwan.

“We are not only doing it for ourselves, but also for other gays and lesbians,” Fish Huang said in a telephone interview.

The 30-year-old social worker at a non-governmental organization said that marriage never crossed her mind until she saw a movie last year.

The film portrayed two lesbians whose ill-fated relationship concluded after one died and the other was left heartbroken over the denial of spousal benefits.

“It’s so sad,” Huang said, who plans to wed her partner of seven years on Aug. 11 at a Buddhist altar in Taoyuan County.

Both brides are planning to wear white wedding gowns and listen to lectures given by Buddhist masters about marriage, accompanied by a series of chantings and blessings from monks and nuns.

Although homosexual marriages are not legally recognized in Taiwan, Huang insisted on tying the knot because she wants to make her relationship complete and raise awareness about the difficulties faced by sexual minorities.

Alternative sexual orientation and marriage have yet to be widely accepted by the general public, despite years of effort by activists to secure equality in Taiwan.

The first public gay marriage in Taiwan took place in 1996 between a local writer and his foreign partner. The event drew widespread media attention and inspired many gays to follow their footsteps.

Huang’s wedding, however, will be the first with a Buddhist theme.

 – more at  Taipei Times.

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Gay Marriage and Religion: What Marriage Means to Me

In Marriage and family, Uncategorized on June 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Recently married in the state of Connecticut, my partner and I spent hours with family, friends, clergy, and liturgical experts crafting a service that would express out commitment to one another and also be a holyspace of joy and celebration. We combined our cultures — Black and White — in a service of welcome to those gathered to the world we are committed to cherishing and growing as a space of Spirit and justice wrapped in love and passion. Our service, without our thinking about it consciously, did not look like a traditional wedding service. Yes, we had some of the traditional elements, but we wanted to invite those gathered into our understanding of the sacred, our values, our hopes, our sense of how justice can and must have loving and celebratory leaning. And although both of us were surprised, to varying extents, to find that the relationship we seek to acknowledge we are building is that of marriage, we could find no other name for it so we have set out to live into our vows and vision for ourselves. We are both clear that we do not to conform to the standard text of marriage, but we want to find ways to breath new air and life into what it means to be married not only by the state, but even more so in the eyes of the Holy Spirit; to be committed for a life time; and to grow old and be those kind of old ladies that we so admired when we were children — truth tellers, wise, independent, but fiercely engaged in the communities they were a part of.

Folks approach gay marriage from a variety of perspectives — moral, theological, social, political. As a Christian social ethicist with womanist leanings, I am clear that the Bible says precious little about same sex relationships, though it appears to have a bit more to say about acts but even that is muddled. I am also clear that although God judges our acts, God does so out of love and mercy and would much rather spend holy time applauding our attempts at humanity than smiting our behavior. The acceptance of gay marriage (even gays who do not believe in marriage) was evident at our ceremony — both of our families, a variety of racial ethnic groups and nationalities, differing sexualities, same sex couples who are married — some with children, others not, children, traditional nuclear families, the list went on and on. The sanctuary and the dinner and dancing that followed was one of joy and celebration — not so much for us as a same-sex couple, but because of our love for one another and trying to share that with others. Politically, it is disheartening to see out love, care, compassion and commitment to one another be made into a political football by the right and the left. The bottom line for me is not “gay marriage” but “marriage.” When folks, whoever they may be, find that the only word that expresses the commitment they make to one another is marriage — we should celebrate this and give them all the support we can for it is no small thing to live out vows that are marked by “forever.”

-full reflection by Emilie Townes at Huffington Post: What Marriage Means to Me.

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Religion and Gay Marriage: The Holiness of Loving Against the Odds

In Marriage and family on June 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I have long believed in the importance of equal marriage. I’ve preached about it, worked for it, and shown up at rallies. Last summer I spent time in the halls of the New York statehouse joining the call for the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in that state. It’s always been a matter of justice for me.

But until recently, it’s been a relatively academic one. I’d never met anyone I’d seriously considered marrying. Even as I officiated at my friends’ weddings I joked with them about being a happy, perennial bachelor. Equal marriage was great. For other people.

God has a sense of humor. I say that because five months from today, my fiancée and I will be joined in marriage. Which means that in the past few months I’ve learned a new language, spoken only by those who have been through the minor trauma of wedding planning, which comes complete with phrases like “save the date cards,” “cake tastings,” and “wedding website”.

But I’ve learned another language too. One that only same-sex couples living in the era of DOMA learn. Things like “filing married in Vermont and single on our federal taxes,” “counting my partner’s inclusion on my health insurance as earned income,” “medical power of attorney for when we travel out of state,” and “saving extra in case I die because my partner can’t receive my social security”.

Still, my partner and I are the fortunate ones. We are getting married in Massachusetts and then residing in Vermont, both of which recognize equal marriage. We are both members of the United Church of Christ, which means our denomination recognizes and blesses our marriage. And we both have our families’ full support.

-full reflection by  Rev. Emily C. Heath at Huffington Post 

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The Amazing Grace of Same-Sex Marriage

In Marriage and family on June 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

What is the strongest theological argument in favor of same-sex marriage? The answer, I contend, is that such relationships are visible signs of God’s grace — an amazing kind of one-way love that is a pure gift and cannot be earned. I’ve come to this realization based upon over 20 years of being together with my husband Michael, through our ups and downs, and for better or for worse.

Same-sex marriages are sacramental because they are a reflection of the larger grace-filled relationship between God and humanity. The classical theological definition of a sacrament — including baptism, eucharist and marriage — is that it is a visible and external sign of God’s invisible grace. Same-sex marriages are holy because they are vehicles in which we can experience and gain a deeper understanding of God’s unearned and unmerited love for us.

Michael and I have experienced a healthy dose of grace in our relationship over the last two decades. First of all, falling in love itself is an act of grace. As most of us have discovered, one simply cannot force another person to fall in love with her or him (that is, outside of the world of Shakespearean comedies and magic love potions). Love — whether same-sex or opposite-sex — is a manifestation of God’s amazing grace precisely because it cannot be planned or earned. Love is not just a matter of works, but rather of grace.

-full reflection by theologian Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D, at Huffington Post.

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Gay couple become first in Britain to hold civil partnership ceremony in a church

In Marriage and family on June 11, 2012 at 9:21 am

Gay couple become first in Britain to hold civil partnership ceremony in a church

A gay couple are thought to have become the first in the UK to hold a civil partnership ceremony in a church building.

Kieran Bohan and Warren Hartley made a commitment to each other at the Ullet Road Unitarian Church, in Liverpool, last month and are currently enjoying their honeymoon.

The couple, who described the event as a ‘milestone for equality’, only received council approval that the church could register civil partnerships a week before their big day.

Plans to allow religious buildings to host civil ceremonies were announced last February but the legislation was only implemented in December after public consultation.

Kieran, 41, who runs a youth group, said: ‘The pace of change is extraordinarily remarkable, but there is still work to be done.

-Read more Daily Mail
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Catholic Nun Challenges Church’s Stance on Gay Marriage

In Marriage and family on June 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

On the heels of the Vatican’s dispute with American nuns, one sister is taking a defiant stand against the Catholic hierarchy’s opposition to gay marriage.

Jeannine Gramick is the main speaker for a Saturday program where Catholics supporting Maryland’s marriage equality law discuss ways to prevent the legislation from being repealed on referendum during the November elections. The gathering will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at Goucher College’s Alumni Hall.

“It’s a great shame that the leaders of my church—the bishops—are all out there campaigning against marriage equality,” she said. “I want to be proud of my church and that makes me very ashamed.”

-full report at  Reisterstown, MD Patch.

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Traditional Marriage: One Man, Many Women, Some Girls, Some Slaves

In Marriage and family on May 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

Well, it’s been quite a whirlwind week for same-sex marriage, from North Carolina to Obama to Colorado—and, of course, to the many outraged conservatives concerned with preserving traditional marriage, i.e., the time-honored sacred bond between one man and one woman. Why, just last week, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said that marriage has meant just that for over five thousand years.

Huh?

Time to break out your Bible, Mr. Perkins! Abraham had two wives, Sarah and her handmaiden Hagar. King Solomon had 700 wives, plus 300 concubines and slaves. Jacob, the patriarch who gives Israel its name, had two wives and two concubines. In a humanist vein, Exodus 21:10 warns that when men take additional wives, they must still provide for their previous one. (Exodus 21:16 adds that if a man seduces a virgin and has sex with her, he has to marry her, too.)

But that’s not all. In biblical society, when you conquered another city, tribe, or nation, the victorious men would “win” their defeated foes’ wives as part of the spoils. It also commanded levirate marriage, the system wherein, if a man died, his younger brother would have to marry his widow and produce heirs with her who would be considered the older brother’s descendants. Now that’s traditional marriage!

– full post at Jay Michaelson,  Religion Dispatches.