Sex, Religion, Humanism and The Gay Issue

Liverpool Humanist Group presents:-

Sex, Religion, Humanism and The Gay Issue

a talk by Dr. Mike Homfray

Date:     Thursday 11th July 2013
:    7.45pm
The Ship and Mitre (upstairs room), 133 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2JH
Suggested contribution of £3 (£1 students and unwaged)

Gay and Lesbian Humanists

Gay and Lesbian Humanists march with pride for equality

Liverpool Humanist Group are pleased to announce the next in our 2013 season of monthly lectures and discussions with an invited speaker.

Thursday, 11th July 2013 at 7:45pm in The Ship and Mitre, 133 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2JH.

Please note our new venue. We will meet in the upstairs room.

In the same week in which the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will go to the House of Lords for Report stage, when further amendments will be introduced, some of which will aim to derail or wreck the bill’s progress, Dr Mike Homfray of Edge Hill University will be looking at the tortured history of gay law reform in the UK and considering the role of the Church of England, the Vatican and other religious bodies and of religious belief.

The Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords have been in the vanguard of opposition to this bill and as such the Church of England now leads the voices of reaction against any advances in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in this country.

However, on Friday 5th July 2013, making his first speech to the General Synod of the Church of England as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “The cultural and political ground is changing. Anyone who listened to much of the same-sex marriage bill second reading debate in the House of Lords could not fail to be struck by the overwhelming change of cultural hinterland. Predictable attitudes were no longer there. The opposition to the bill was utterly overwhelmed, with amongst the largest attendance and participation and majority since 1945. There was noticeable hostility to the view of the churches.”

Welby added: “We may or may not like it but we must accept that there is a revolution in the area of sexuality.”

However, the archbishop stopped well short of announcing any change to the church’s line on same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis used his first encyclical published on Friday, 5th July 2013 to reaffirm the importance of sex between husband and wife and emphasise the central role of the family in society. There was no sign of any change in the Catholic Church’s hard line on homosexual unions or any other controversial issues in the encyclical entitledLumen Fidei” (“Light of Faith”).

At the same time, new research for the Westminster Faith Debates, also published on Friday, 5th July 2013, has shown that the churches are not only wildly out of step with the country at large, but also with their own members.

Mike will clearly define what he means by “the gay issue”. He will present the facts: historic; social; scientific; and legal. He will also be talking about the real life experiences of real people. He will consider what a rational, sane and humanistic attitude and ethic to love and human sexuality should be. He will consider the meanings of marriage and partnership, and open a discussion on the proposed law.  Should there be provision for both same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnership in addition to the currently available alternatives? Should Humanist wedding ceremonies be legally recognised?

We will then consider what actions we as individuals and as a group shoud take.

Mike is a sociologist whose doctoral research into the gay and lesbian community in the North-West of England was published as “Provincial Queens” in 2007. He is an associate tutor at Edge Hill University, a tutor/instructor for Laureate Online Education, and is involved with provision of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender awareness training. He is also a gay community activist with a particular interest in policing issues. He is married to David and lives in Crosby.

Dr. Mike Homfray

Dr. Mike Homfray of Edge Hill University

It will be good to see new and old friends at what promises to be a very interesting, stimulating and thought provoking evening.


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