Gay marriage - Churches to face problems?

in News · 20-09-2003 00:00:00 · 0 Comments

Lawyers are considering the impact that a recent EU ruling legalising gay marriages will have on religions that refuse to recognise such partnerships. The question being asked is what takes precedence, church law or EU legislation?

Recent events in Russia have also thrown the spotlight onto same sex marriages. Last week the Russian Orthodox Church, which has thousands of followers in Europe, defrocked one of its priests for carrying out a marriage ceremony between two gays. Denis Gogolev and Mikhail Morozov went through a wedding ceremony conducted by Father Vladimir in the Nizhay Novogorod Diocese.
In a statement addressed to its followers worldwide the church authorities said: “This blasphemous act cannot be considered a marriage under any circumstances. The Russian Orthodox Church is against homosexual marriages and, guided by the Holy Scriptures and church traditions, is condemning homosexual relations as a deadly sin”.
Last year a group of Russian deputies in the State Duma (parliament) tried unsuccessfully to overthrow legislation passed in 1993 recognising gay marriages. They called for the reintroduction of prison sentences for gay sex as part of a campaign to restore ‘traditional moral values’ in Russia.
Opinion in Europe is divided over whether or not the Christian and non Christian religions will be obliged to go along with the new law and recognise same sex marriages. In Holland the situation is very much a fait accompli with gay and lesbian church marriages gaining in popularity all the time. It has even been suggested that the Dutch Catholic Church is turning a blind eye to many of its priests who are officiating at homosexual and lesbian marriage ceremonies. Some sections of British TV are calling for an end to “archaic church marriage laws”. Legal experts are arguing that to deny gays the opportunity of marrying in church is a denial of their human rights under EU law.
An English legal adviser operating in the Algarve, who asked not to be named, told The Portugal News that the defining line between EU and Church law was becoming
“blurred”. He said that while some religions had already accepted the rights of gays to marry in church, others were exercising more restraint. In his opinion all Christian denominations, including Russian Orthodox and Catholic dioceses based in Europe, will eventually be forced into accepting EU law or face the prospects of challenges in the European Court of Human Rights. Already in America church pastors have been arrested for proclaiming that Christianity is the only true religion - a proclamation deemed by law enforcement agencies to be in breach of the United Nations 1948 declaration on human rights.


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