Gay Marriage?

It is time for gay marriage to be recognised in the UK?By Andre Langlois

AT LAST  year’s Conservative party conference Prime Minister David Cameron announced that gay marriage would be legalised in the UK before the buy now viagra next general election. A consultation will assess only how it should be implemented. Dismissed by some as a shallow and i recommend unwarranted bid to appeal to a younger electorate, and by others as a fudge, not permitting weddings in religious establishments. Whatever your opinion, with pressures mounting on the government it is a political gamble. Opinion polls vary but the click here public appears to lean in favour of gay marriage and even if opposition is in the minority it will be a fervent and vocal one. Is it the state’s role to redefine such an institution? Is it time for true equality of sexuality? Or is this move an assault on freedom of religion? >>


1. Commitment

“I DON’T support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative”. So said David Cameron in a striking turn of phrase at last year’s Tory Party conference when announcing a consultation on legalising gay marriage, “Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment”. In an era when the fleeting nature of relationships is oft bemoaned by conservative commentators, a move to we like it encourage stronger commitment within relationships should surely be applauded. The new Dean of St Paul’s, Dr David Ison, certainly thinks so: “I’m encouraged that a good number of enter site gay people want to take on the virtues of marriage. For Christian gay people to model that kind of faithfulness, in a culture which, historically, has often been about promiscuity, is a very good thing to do.”

2. Human Right

IN A pronouncement, sure to be contested, the European Court of Human Rights ruled: “The European Convention on soft gel levitra Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage”. Staunch opponent of gay marriage Cardinal Keith O’Brien had earlier written: “In Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, marriage is defined as a relationship between men and women”. This is not correct. It actually says: “Men and women of full age…have the right to online cialis uk marry and to found a family”. A man and a woman is not specified. Cardinal O’Brien continued: “Their proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. But the right, as he defines it, is not “universally accepted”. Gay couples should have the right to marry. And this would in no way impact heterosexual couples’ right to marry.

3. Equality in Love

IN ANNOUNCING the consultation David Cameron recognised the equality in members of we recommend society. His equalities minister, the Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone, stressed the equality of love between two people: “It’s about celebrating love. We believe marriage is a good thing, we believe it should be extended to anyone – whatever their gender”. It could be argued that it is not the government’s place to legislate on matters of the heart, matters of love, but the fact is levitra pfizer it does. It does not just recognise property rights, at least since the Church of England separated from Rome it has recognised that the canadian generic cialis online relevance of the loss of love.

4. Think of the children

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien said: “All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father; the evidence in favour of the stability and well-being which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal. It cannot be provided by a same-sex couple, however well-intentioned they may be”. But he is wrong. In an enlightened society we have come to realise that there are many ways to live and that the well being of children is not dependent on the family unit that conservative Britain recognises. Many single parents do terrific jobs and some don’t. The same can be said of husband and wife parents. But this is beside the point. When looking at the wellbeing of children it is not the statistics that matter, but the particular circumstances. Stability in a relationship can be a great help; sharing the load and providing mutual support for parents. Encouraging gay couples can only be a good thing for children in their care.

5. It is about equality

AT PRESENT homosexual couples can join in civil partnership but can’t get married. Heterosexual couples can get married but cannot choose a civil partnership, despite the religious connotations inherent in marriage. The government’s plans at present mean that homosexual couples will be able to just try! get a civil marriage if they wish. However they will not be able to have a religious wedding, even if the religious institution in question is happy to embrace gay marriage. Confusing? Surely equality suggests that the government should recognise all marriages equally and allow organised religion to choose which particular ceremonies they perform.


1. There is no need

CIVIL partnerships already give gay couples equal rights in the eyes of the law. In a letter read out at masses throughout England the archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, and Peter Smith, the archbishop of Southwark said: “Neither the church nor the state has the visit web site power to change this fundamental understanding of marriage itself. The reasons given by our government for wanting to change the definition of marriage are those of generic levitra pill equality and discrimination but our present law does not discriminate unjustly when it requires both a man and a woman for marriage. It simply recognises and protects the distinctive nature of marriage.”

2. It is an assault on religion

MARRIAGE as a concept is inherently religious and so tinkering with it diminishes freedom of religion. Lord Singh, head of the Network of Sikh Organisations, said: “It’s being changed and for no real gain because the law rightly gives every respect to a civil partnership. It is more of a sideways assault on religion, that ‘we can dilute your beliefs and values’, and I find that concerning”. Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, who advises the Chief Rabbi on family issues, has similar concerns: “Ultimately, of course, it’s not for me to dictate to government and start telling them what to do, I can just simply decry what is going on the basis of what I consider to be, from a religious biblical perspective, an assault on religious values”.

3. What next? Polygamy?

ALTHOUGH the more fear-mongering voices conjuring the prospect of marriage to children or animals are easily refuted, there is a real fear that the arguments in favour of gay marriage could be fielded to support legalised polygamy, and for most of the western world this would be unacceptable. Cardinal O’Brien said: “If marriage is simply about adults who love each other, on what basis can three adults who love each other be prevented from marrying?”. For some liberal writers this is not an argument that needs refuting. Writing on the Guardian website, science writer Martin Robbins said: “What’s wrong with polygamy? It seems to be that a child brought up by three loving parents would have some quite big economic advantages, and humans have cooperated in child-rearing since the year dot”.

4. Social engineering

BY MEDDLING with our use of buy cheap levitra language the government is stepping into the arena of social engineering. Brendan O’Neill in The Times wrote that when the Civil Marriage Act 2005 was passed in Canada it resulted in official documents being rewritten to remove gender terms such as ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘mother’ and ‘father’. He said “Because this is not simply about elevating gay relationships, as we are so often told. More importantly, it is about demoting and devaluing traditional relationships, as built on marriage as it was once understood. Who in their right mind introduces their husband or wife as their “spouse”? What normal woman describes herself as “Parent 1″ to her children rather than ‘mother’?”. Outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams argued that the issues at stake should not be dealt with through legislation: “I believe, that issues like stigma and marginalisation have to be addressed at the level of culture rather than law, the gradual evolving of fresh attitudes in a spirit of what has been called ‘strategic patience’ by some legal thinkers.”

5. Church is part of the state

IN ENGLAND there is not a clear separation of it's cool powers between church and state. The archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has pointed out: “They have got a problem because the definition of marriage is in the 1662 prayer book and article 30 of the Church of England, which both are acts of parliament”. Although Lynne Featherstone has said “My understanding is that Parliament can legislate to do buy cialis soft what it wishes”, it may not prove to be that simple.