Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come!


Politics and marriage
December 8, 2012, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Opinion

I have recently sent the following letter to my MP, Charlotte Leslie:

Dear Charlotte,
I understand from yesterday’s news bulletins that the Prime Minister intends to introduce a Bill to re-define marriage so as to include same-sex couples. May I make it absolutely clear that if such a Bill were to succeed I would certainly not support the Conservative Party in future. Furthermore, I would use my influence as a clergyman in the Church of England to advise others to the same effect. If you, or the Prime Minister, believe as a matter of conscience that you must support this change, then I respect and even admire your political courage, but I shall still not vote for you or your Party.
Marriage, as Christians understand it, is not about two persons expressing their love and commitment to one another, it is about two persons forming an exclusive union for the procreation and upbringing of children. It exists to protect the interests of children, not to express the sentiments of those who may not wish to be parents at all. That is why “non-consummation” is a ground for annulment. What might be the equivalent in a same-sex union? Or if a same-sex couple sought to become parents, how could they do this without involving a third party, and so violating the “exclusive” nature of their union? What would constitute the equivalent of adultery? What would become of the terms “husband” and “wife”, legally? Merely by asking these questions, it should be clear what a fundamental change to a natural, not merely legal, institution is envisaged.
If this proposal is followed through, I believe it will become for David Cameron’s reputation what Iraq has been for Tony Blair’s, or the Council Tax for Mrs Thatcher’s. Much as I disgaree profoundly with its approach to Europe, I might have no alternative to support a party like UKIP on this matter.
Please think very carefully about the consequences for you as an MP, and for the Party you represent.
(end of letter)
I would like to add the following practical proposal. Since the terms “husband” and “wife” are obviously inappropriate for same-sex couples, and to secure uniformity for everyone, the obvious replacement term is “partner”. Further, since it is clear that the relationship is a matter of civil law, and has no intrinsic religious character, the obvious way to refer to it is “civil partnership”. If the Government simply extended the present civil partnership legislation to cover any couples, and removed the duty laid on ministers of religion (in particular of the Established Church) to act as civil registrars, a great deal of the problem would be solved. Religious ceremonies could be held according to the beliefs of the various religious bodies, which would have no civil effect, and there need be no conflict between such beliefs and the civil law.
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