Thursday, 13 June 2013

After the Lords is there still hope? Vive La France!

It is some ten days after the Lords vote and I must confess that following it  I felt defeated. I kept thinking to myself 'Is this how they felt when they voted for abortion?' It can all too often feel like those of us who oppose same sex marriage are like Cassandra, predicting the future but not believed by her contemporaries.

Will the Bill lead to Equality? 

Same sex marriage legislation has been promoted as being necessary as a result of issues of equality. This is not an issue of practical equality however as civil partnerships allow those engaged in a same sex relationship to gain the benefits given to a married, heterosexual couple. It is the right to be called married, as I heard one gay rights campaigner put it on the radio, as marriage has more respectability than civil partnerships. 

I have argued previously how a marriage, with its links to the family, has far reaching consequences for society and therefore the faithfulness of the couple is of a societal importance whereas same sex partnerships actually have a far more limited impact. This impact upon wider society accounts for the higher respect that marriage is, or should be, given.

However, let's look a little more closely at the claims for equality within this legislation.  Maria Miller, the government's culture secretary, has sated that the Bill was being put forward to make marriage 'equal and fair'. However, due to the fact that MP's who drafted the Bill do not feel able to define what consummation is in a same sex partnership, it is being put through without this and therefore with adultery, due to its close connection to consummation, being seen as committed only by those of the same sex. The result is those involved in a same sex 'marriage' will only have committed adultery if they have sex with someone of the opposite sex. This is not equal nor is it fair as there are different standards being applied here.

Could adultery, one of the ten Commandments,
be removed completely from marital law?
There has been a strong suggestion that, due to the push for equality and fairness, adultery may well become replaced for ALL with the catch all title of unreasonable grounds. However adultery has always been a grounds for divorce because of the potential impact it has on others i.e. children. Although unreasonable behaviour will impact on them, adultery is more likely to lead to the resulting child's separation from the family unit (if the 3rd party is pregnant out of wedlock), to not being known to or recognized by their natural father or their termination through abortion. It is therefore in the interests of children that this particular aspect of marriage be kept as separate due to this.

Where are we now?

The House of Lords voted to allow the government's same-sex marriage bill to receive a second reading by 390 votes to 148. However, Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media:
"A significant number of Lords who support same-sex marriage said that the bill does not have their unqualified support. Also, some Lords with objections to same-sex marriage did not vote against the bill this evening because of disputed parliamentary conventions restricting voting rights. 

Several Lords were wary of rejecting the bill at second reading because of fears that the government would subject the bill to the Parliament Act – overriding the Lords entirely and forcing the bill through without any scope for amending any aspects of it.

These factors, plus the large number of Lords who voted against the bill, suggests strongly that the bill could be in trouble in the forthcoming parliamentary stages. We therefore call upon all those seeking to defend the child-centred true nature of marriage to increase their activity to stop the bill.

Redefining marriage in law as a genderless institution unconnected with child-bearing will strip marriage of its identity. Whatever the fate of the government's bill, we must continue to fight to preserve the protection real marriage gives to children, both born and unborn.”

Is there hope if we take action now?

One of the favourite arguments of those in favour of same sex marriage is that it is popular and that this popularity will continue to grow. However, this can be challenged. 

Firstly, as Nazism, slavery, abortion etc have shown us,  just because something is popular doesn't mean it's ethically right. In fact this is called an ethical fallacy.

As the posters show the SSM debate
has been linked far more
clearly with the rights of the child.
However, this assertion that same sex marriage itself is popular can also be challenged. Polls that support same sex marriage depend upon the question asked. Also the government's failure to include this, or any party for that matter, in their manifesto demonstrates a lack of belief in its popularity. Particularly as the Conservative party did have in its manifesto support of marriage in tax benefits (understood at that time as traditional marriage) which was later abandoned suggesting they knee what their voters wanted and it wasn't SSM.

Furthermore France as a country has shown that, when the implications of same sex marriage are communicated, support for it is withdrawn. France, on the whole receptive of civil partnerships, supported same sex marriage in some polls up to 60% in Autumn 2012. However, that support has fallen to as little as 38%.

This support falls dramatically because of the impact that same sex marriage has on adoption and fertility laws which I will go into in further detail in my next post.

In spite of this I have some reticence in using France as an area of hope; they have not moved as far ahead with adoption laws, surrogacy and sperm donation for same sex couples as in the UK so the implications for these are a good source of heated public debate. France is of course notorious for debating, whereas  in this country similar parenting laws were met with more 'meh' with a few 'of course you're not allowed to say but....'s. Nevertheless their continued public resistance to these laws and the use of force to quell it is significant because it undermines the arguement of the laws popularity and the bigotry of its opponents (france being such a secular country is able to counter act the religious bigotry demonstrated in the debate). If a law is so popular why the need to push it through?

Additionally France is a key player in the EU with none of the UK's Eurosceptism. As these laws seem to be emerging as an EU directive France is an important ali in challenging them morally and at their source. 

There is even hope that if the law is passed their will be opportunities for it to be changed. It is far too easy to see our experience of history as definitive, the Church being eternal does not. More importantly, as the Bible says, God's ways are not our ways and He is on a different time zone. The Nuremberg laws we overturned and, due to their increasing lack of support in the states and hopefully elsewhere, maybe one day the laws supporting abortion will be as well. I pray they will be overturned because, despite their supporters assertion that these laws are just, they are not. They dehumanise, God's justice will reign.

However God wants us to take our part in human redemption. He continually calls on us to not be afraid and to do His will. I said at the beginning of the post that I felt defeated. But it's moments like this, when we are most empty, that God can fill us up. We can do two things; pray and fight.


Pray for the conversion of England back to Catholicism. For many years Christianity has held a significant place in our society enshrined as it is within the monarchy. However the supposed pressure put on those bishops voting and the amount of them who voted leads me to assume that this is more destructive to Christianity in this country, and that is before the enthronement of Charles. 

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our own most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. Through thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our Hope was given unto the world; and he hath given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated English brethren, that they may be united with us in the one true Fold. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works, we may all deserve to see and praise God together with thee in our heavenly home. Amen


Secondly join in the fight.

People wishing to lobby Members of the House of Lords should contact SPUC on 020 7091 7091 or by email to