I encountered some people last week who thought they were pretty clever playing with words asking if I was standing behind the Bishop or am I backing the Bishop.
I smiled, because clearly ignorance it still bliss.
Nonetheless, I support my Bishop 100 per cent.
And while the church does not at all support the joining of persons of the same sex in any for of matrimony, the reality is that the church can only talk and denounce such a move.
Holy matrimony is one of the seven sacraments of the church. But matrimony is more legal than it is religious.
We like to think that the priest or pastor marries the couple. I believe he or she prays with and for the couple; no priest can’t marry anyone except themselves.
If you are bold enough to go to a priest seeking to be married, chances are you are already married. With that in mind there are some who clearly should be charged with polygamy.
When you make the conscious decision that this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with you are already married. When we have sex with a person that in itself is an expression of love and commitment that should not be taken lightly.
Sex is the act that seals the deal. But there are hundreds of people out there “waiting to get married”.
Meanwhile they are “shacked up” with each other, already have three children, finish building a home, but somehow living with the misguided notion that they need to spend a large amount of money to dress up fancy, invite family and friends and have a big party that will take about two years to pay for.
A wedding ceremony is a public declaration where one individual says to the community, invited and not invited, “this is the individual I intend to spend the rest of my life with”. Moving in with that person is also a public declaration.
But we are encouraged to do the “right thing” and take the woman to the church and give her a ring.
Of note however is that not every priest or pastor can perform a wedding ceremony. Unless you are licensed as a marriage officer by the Ministry of Home Affairs the performing of wedding ceremonies is illegal.
This brings us to another point — the church is dependant on the State to perform a wedding. So as much as the church may oppose same sex unions, if the Government buys enough votes from the gay community they might be expected to give certain concessions.
The church could very well be reduced to the voice crying in the wilderness if weddings take a certain legal swing.
It is okay for the church to speak out and say we are not supportive of same sex unions or gay marriages, but what is the Government saying?
Another twist to this saga is the recognition of common law unions. Richard’s children mother who was living with him for the past seven years is now entitled to the same benefits as Mrs. Jones who was married for 23 years. Children born out of wedlock are no longer treated like and called bastards — they are not illegitimate, they are now considered to be the same as Mr. and Mrs. Brown’s boys who were born three years apart two years after they were married.
Could this be a loophole or a shortcut where the church is bypassed and marriage is dealt with solely on the basis of law?
The church cannot sanction the joining of persons of the same sex. But unless the Government shares the same vision, persons might be able to explore other option such as a magistrate or justice of the peace who does not care about the religious qualms restricting the church.
The gays could very well turn their backs on the church and just shack up and live without the fuss or the expense of walking up or down the isle.