The Same Sex Marriage Bill is to be debated and voted on in the Houses of Parliament today. If called to speak in the House, I will deliver the following:
“Thank you Mr. Speaker
Throughout all the debates and controversy surrounding the same sex marriage proposals, recognition of the purpose and values of marriage has been assumed rather than discussed. No real debate has taken place on the nature of marriage itself.
Every email and letter that I have received in support of this bill has mentioned the word ‘Equal’.
It is interesting to note that the word “EQUAL” has been dropped from the title of this bill by the government.
This is probably because it is not equal.
A bill which keeps the traditional meaning of marriage for some sections of society that says, ‘Marriage is between a man and a woman for the procreation of children’, then gives others in society a different meaning of marriage which says, ‘Marriage of same sex couples is lawful’ – How is that equal
A Bill which does not change the meaning of ‘Adultery’. If a person in a same sex marriage has an affair with someone from the opposite sex then it is deemed as ‘Adultery’. If however they have an affair with someone of the same sex, then it is not classed as Adultery and therefore not grounds for divorce. – How is that equal?
A Bill which takes away the meaning of the purpose of marriage whose intention is traditionally child centred and tailors it to become a partnership model, changes the basic building block of society and makes it Adult centred. – How is that equal for children?
A Bill which gives more options to official state recognition of partnerships to the minority than it does the majority of people is not equal. Why isn’t this bill offering civil partnerships for heterosexual couples as well as same sex couples? It does not.
Marriage is clearly a foundational and progressive institution. It is both traditional and radical: it secures well-being and manifest advantage for children born under its auspices and stability for men and women. However traditional marriage is under threat and has been for so many years. The steady erosion of marriage over the last few decades is a grave social and economic ill. Why then does the State want to undermine it even further. Surely with around 50% of children in our society being born out of wed lock, shouldn’t the state be looking at ways to strengthen the institution of marriage for the sake of children rather than erode the true purpose of marriage even further? There is a plethora of evidence out there that says that the best platform to tackle poverty, acceptance, socialisation and a place in society already prepared for children is born about by parental sacrifice and the love of their children of their union.
Basically, the traditional family unit, sealed by traditional marriage.
No matter how wonderful we are or how hard we try as Parents there is no substitute for the traditional family unit. I know this from being a single Dad for many years and I can tell you I tried my absolute best, as all parents do from whatever diverse family unit they are involved with, but I know that as hard as I tried, I was never a substitute for a Mother in their lives.
Those who advocate the extension of marriage to same sex couples have been very strong on the value of equality but at the same time almost silent on the specific nature of marriage they want equal access to.
Rather than erode the traditional meaning of marriage for the majority, there is a simple solution to this bill which as it currently stands is incredibly divisive rather than being inclusive.
Why don’t the government have a serious look at opening up civil partnerships to heterosexual couples and simply change the name to something like ‘State Marriage’?
That way those who want marriage so they can be called married, get their way.
That way those who want to maintain traditional marriage for its true intended purpose can keep it.
That way those who do not want a traditional option of marriage can have marriage under a civil partnership or State marriage where they currently can not
That way those who believe the church should decide on who they want to marry can allow them to do so – Let the Churches themselves decide not the State and in a fashion where they do not fear reprisals for doing so.
Everyone should then be happy and the Government can get on at bringing forward plans to help strengthen the family unit so everyone benefits.
Mr. Speaker, in the mean time I will not be supporting this bill and I would urge any of my colleagues who are currently wavering or undecided to do the same.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.”
It is wrong to say that Gay marriage is the next Civil Rights battle. To do so would make marriage adult centred instead of Child centred as it currently is.
It is important to say that I want to be as objective as I can with what I think is an incredibly important issue and I am basing my decision not on information or beliefs from faith groups, whether my own or others, but on what the unintended consequences of re-defining marriage may bring.
If one looks back over time to only 45 years ago in England and Wales, 32 years ago in Scotland and 30 years ago in Northern Ireland when homosexuality was decriminalised, could politicians of the day ever imagine that their successors would be looking at changing the law and re-defining marriage at some point in the future? I doubt that very much and feel that they changed the law on grounds of what we would call today ‘equality’. Legal equality, taken forward and rightfully strengthened in many avenues over those years culminating in legal civil partnerships.
My overriding concern is that if we do indeed as a Parliament change legislation to allow same sex marriage now, then what will our successors be discussing and have to legislate for in the future?; Polygamy?; Three-way relationships?; Who knows what else?
To show my concerns, let me highlight evidence from those countries from around the world that have already changed legislation to treat marriage with a flexible definition.
In Holland, same-sex marriage was introduced in 2001. Since then, three way relationships have been given legal recognition through a ‘cohabitation agreement’
Mexico City introduced same-sex marriage in 2009 and now two year fixed marriages have been proposed. Instead of divorce the two year marriage is not renewed
In Spain same-sex marriage was legalised in 2005. The following year it was announced that birth certificates would read ‘Progenitor A’ and ‘Progenitor B’ instead of ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’.
In Massachusetts a court in 2003 said that same-sex marriage had to be legalised and gave six months for it to be introduced. In response the state department of Public Health changed the standard marriage certificate to read ‘Party A’ and ‘Party B’ instead of ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’
In Canada, same-sex marriage legislation in 2005 replaced the term ‘Natural Parent’ with ’Legal Parent’ in Canadian Law. In January 2007, an Ontario appeal court ruled that a child can legally have three parents. In British Columbia there are major attempts to legalise polygamy through the courts using the precedent of same-sex marriage.
Marriage has a unique place in our society. It is a bedrock institution and the most stable environment for raising children. Redefining marriage would make marriage adult-centred rather than child-centred.
Marriage also has a place in our history. The oldest recorded English law referencing marriage between husband and wife goes back 800 years – and part of that legislation is still in force today. Marriage is yet older than that. It predates the English language and our nation, and it predates the Christian church. It is as old as the hills, not a recent invention of society to be refashioned on a political whim.
Civil partnerships already provide all the legal benefits of marriage so there’s no need to redefine marriage. It’s not discriminatory to support traditional marriage. Same-sex couples may choose to have a civil partnership but I feel that no-one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of society.
It is for these reasons that I feel that I am unable to support Government proposals on same-sex marriage and will be voting against the Government on this issue if indeed it comes to a vote.