THE RHETORIC OF RIGHTS IN THE UK CHRISTIAN CHURCHES REGARDING NON-HETEROSEXUAL CITIZENSHIP
One of the major deliberations, indeed source of conflict, within and between Christian churches across the globe is what might be termed the ‘gay debate’. This debate is not merely related to the legitimacy of civil marriages, gay clergy, alongside the broader issue of the citizenship and well-being of gay people within the churches, but has expanded to embrace other forms of non-heterosexuality, including bi-sexuality and transgenderism/sexuality and issues regarding their natures. The debate has also been impacted by matters of secular civil rights and the human rights upon which they are contingent. Christian churches, alongside additional faith communities, are now forced to confront legislation that increasingly sanctions matters of citizenship and equality for non-heterosexual people in the wider social context. This paper considers the major Christian debates in the UK and how both those sympathetic to the cause of gay rights and those opposed are forced to integrate the rhetoric of rights into their respective platforms. Analysis includes examination of the contestation between those advancing such rights on the one hand, and those who oppose them on the basis of religious morality and conscience, in short, religious rights, on the other.
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