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There has been no debate on gay marriage – that’s why people are so angry about it

The Government has handled this issue extraordinarily badly

By on Monday, 10 December 2012

Opinion poll

When news broke last week that, according to Christian Concern, the Government was expected “to announce legislation for “Equal Civil Marriage” this week, I thought the timing quite deliberate. The run-up to Christmas would seem a good time, not exactly to “bury bad news” from the Government’s perspective, but to push this highly controversial piece of legislation past the public consciousness when most people’s minds are on the coming festivities.

Surely any debate on an “Equal Civil Marriage” Bill is too important to attempt to slide under the radar in this way? A cartoon by Adams in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday, 9th December, summed up the mood surrounding it in graphic fashion: on the left was a caricature of David Cameron in the House of Commons intoning the words, “If any of you here know of cause or just impediment…”.On the right was a series of bubbles deafening him with their adversarial fury.

In the same newspaper came news that some senior Conservatives, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Alastair Burt and Patrick McLoughlin (a Catholic), have set up a group, called “Freedom to Marry”, “to campaign for same-sex couples to be allowed to get married in church.” This runs counter to what David Cameron originally proposed. I have before me a letter from my MP, John Bercow of 1 May 2012, in response to a letter I had sent him on the subject, which states “I strongly support the Government’s intention to legalise gay marriage, believing it to be right in principle and in practice.” He enclosed a letter sent to him by David Cameron, dated 26th March 2012, in which Cameron had written, “As you are aware, the proposal the Government is consulting on, which I personally support, is to lift the ban on same-sex couples marrying in a civil ceremony.” There is no mention or suggestion here of a church wedding.

But the issue runs much deeper than disputes as to where same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The argument is not about venues (though the Churches have a legitimate concern that their authority to ban such events will be compromised); it is about the very nature of marriage. Former minister Nick Herbert, who is organising “Freedom to Marry”, shows some acknowledgment of this in his article in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, when he writes, “I appreciate that there are some who take a different view, including many who are not homophobic but have a profound religious conviction about the nature of marriage. We must conduct this debate in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, and with regard to the special value for religious institutions.”

Those who oppose the proposed new legislation would say that there has been no real “debate” on the subject at all and that the Government is determined (with the tacitly approved help of a Labour and Lib Dem three-line whip) to get a majority vote in the Commons when the issue is raised early in the new year. They seem not to realise the gravity of what is likely to be forced on the country. Anne Widdecombe has pointed out, in her very courageous speech at the last Conservative Party Conference, that the word “marriage” “appears over 3,000 times in UK legislation, the word “husband” 1,000 times, “wife” about 900 times and the phrase “husband and wife” 350 times. “ She comments, “So any change is unlikely to be a simple matter.” She also points out that legislation will not give “a single extra right to anybody.”

Charles Moore, in an article in the Telegraph on Saturday, 8th December which discusses the Prime Minister’s determination to be “modern”, reinforces Anne Widdecombe’s speech with his own argument: “Gay marriage may sound like an extension of general modern niceness, but roughly 98% of the population are straight: how, in hard times, does the Government support their marriages? How does gay marriage sound to the ethnic groups?…Indeed, is “modernity” a sort of code-word for being quite southern, quite posh and quite little affected by recession?” He adds, “Being modern is essentially a matter of style rather than content, so it does not provide detailed answers to difficult questions. The latest, on gay marriage, are “What counts as consummation in gay relationships?” (This has to be established in order to make it the grounds for gay divorce, as it is for straight) and “Should gay people be allowed to marry in church?”…Yesterday he decreed that churches should, indeed, go gay.”

Today’s Telegraph reports that former premier Sir John Major is also “modern”; he has told Conservative critics and Church leaders that “they must move on” because “we live in the 21st century.”

Would it be possible to organise mass rallies in this country as occurred in France on November 17th? Sandro Magister of chiesa.expressonline.it, describes what happened in France as a result of their government’s similar proposed legislation: “In Paris and in a dozen other cities, hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets.” The demonstrations were organised by Frigide Barjot, pseudonym for the spokeswoman of the “Collectif pour l’humanite durable”, the socialist Laurence Tcheng of the association “La gauche pour le marriage republicaine” and Xavier Bongibault, an atheist and homosexual founder of “Plus gay sans marriage.” Only Barjot is a Catholic and “no Church association hoisted its banners.” This was a civil and secular demonstration in defence of an ancient and natural institution.

Is it possible to mobilise the same kind of peaceful protest over here?

  • scary goat

     So when exactly DOES the fertilized ovum become a person? 6 weeks? 6 months? At birth? at age 2?  There have been many arguments about this…..which have led to abortion laws that are disgusting.  That’s the problem with trying to define when a “potential” person actually becomes a person.  The safest thing is to apply the dignity of human personship from the moment of conception because it is a potential person in the making.  That ends all arguments about whether its ok to abort at 6 weeks, 6 months etc. 

  • scary goat

     Without referring to any theologians, just thinking naturally and logically, I would have thought it’s all tied in and inseparable. Which arrives at the same conclusion as you state (unitive and procreative).  That is how God made our nature.  Emotions, physical responses, reproduction, family.  Tampering with any aspect of our God given nature throws the whole thing off balance.  Sex without possible procreation, procreation without sex, (meena and her petri dishes) it will always be missing something.  I don’t think you can really separate it out.  It’s all part of the same natural process.  In simple cold factual terms, sex makes babies.  It’s the natural human reproductive system.  So in that sense the ultimate purpose of sex is to make babies.  But we don’t think like that.  We don’t do it in cold blood to make a baby like a production line. I suppose something like means and end where it is all so delicately, inextricably linked that means and end are not easily defined.  I find it all a huge miracle….the miracle of life, love, intertwined emotions, hormones, brain chemicals, wooooow what a work of design engineering.  When you take the whole natural process naturally, it just seems…..well….natural….and obvious. I think sometimes we struggle to define with words the complexity of it.  Trying to decide what is the primary purpose can be a bit like trying to decide whether the chicken or the egg came first. 

  • NewMeena

    i^i = e^ i* “pi”/ 2 = e^”-pi”/ 2
    This is correct. Do you know the proof of this, or did you find it somewhere?

    (1)  pertains to set theory. Maths for me is the theory and manipulation of sets according to deductive logical methods. Does a non-empty set of reals (“real” numbers) bounded above have a limit (Lt or Lim)?

    Well  X^n + Y^n  = Z^n (the Diophantine equation) where X,Y,Z and n are integers, has no none-zero solutions for  n>2 (Fermat’s “famous” Last…….).
     is needed since there’s a number of simple formulae for producing an infinite number of Pythagorean triples  satisfying the equation for  (the equation type which you cite).

    PS: the set of reals defined in (1) above does have a limit.

    PPS: I graduated B.Sc, Ph D some time ago and have had a very varied career, so far.
    It was the “iff”, with you, that caught my eye. 

  • NewMeena

    Sorry. I left out a letter making one bit meaningless. Here it is again:

    Well  X^n + Y^n  = Z^n (the Diophantine equation) where X,Y,Z and n are integers, has no none-zero solutions for  n>2 (Fermat’s “famous” Last…….). is needed since there’s a number of simple formulae for producing an infinite number of Pythagorean triples  satisfying the equation for n=2  (the equation type which you cite).

  • karlf

    “deviant behaviour” explains nothing.

  • 12Maria34

    Dear NewMeena,

    As a Catholic, I do not have the urge to be in any blog of the agnostics nor of the
    atheists to listen, to read and to see their sides. I cannot even study the
    entire catholic church history.  How can
    I even dwell on other “beliefs”.

    As I read more conversion stories, atheists or agnostics who hates the Catholics so
    much, they end up being Catholic and becomes ardent faith defenders.

    A good person always searches for truth. As a Catholic, we believe that we are the
    image and likeness of God. Thus, we yearn for God, the Truth. You will not be
    in this blog if you are not yearning for it, for God, for The Truth.

    John 14:6 – I am the way and the truth and the life.

    Psalms 42:1 – As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.

    St Augustine: You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless
    until it rests in you.

    In terms of belief, you can read John  20:26-29.

    In terms of miracles, you can read Mark9:23-24.

    For me it is a miracle in itself that these bible passages are still very valid today.

    I think you should read St Augustine’s Confession as he might appeal to you. You can also read The Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, and The Dark Night of the Soul
    by St John of the Cross. You can also get a copy of the Catechism of Catholic
    Church. This way you will have copy of what we believe without debating any people here if you want to learn as an open minded person.

    God’s blessings of peace & joy!

    Maria

  • 12Maria34

    First – Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your hear, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

    Second – Mark 12:31 - You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

    You are absolutely correct!  But love the Lord our God first second our neighbor.  This is the point of reference.  As Catholics, love the sinner but not the sin.  Homosexual acts are considered disordered, thus, a sin.  As Catholic, we consider abortion a mortal sin but we show outmost love for the women committing abortion.  As you can see, we respect civil unions as this is the law of the land but marriage is a sacrament for us.

    Galileo’s case was not a moral issue.  The church at that time does not have a teaching on it as it was scientific.  You have compared a moral issue to a scientific issue.  Thus, not debatable.

  • mark startin

     The point about Galileo was that he was brought before the Inquisition for heresy; the Church’s doctrine at the time was that the Earth was the centre of the Universe, and the Sun and planets revolved around it.  Thus we can see beyond doubt that the Church can move as well as the Earth.  There is no reason to distinguish between authority in doctrine and in morality.

    I agree that sacramental marriage is Church is sacred; I see no reason why anyone should proscribe the use of the word to only that precise circumstance.  Already the state conducts marriages outside Church; these are acknowledged as valid.

    I cannot accept that it is loving to say ‘love the sinner but not the sin.’  It is a cop out; I do not accept that anyone truly loves the sinner who can say, ‘We think you’re a nice person; but no sex for you, ever.’  As for homosexual acts; outside Leviticus it is just about impossible to find any direct condemnations once one fully considers the exegesis of the words used and the context in which they are used.  Any one line from an Epistle, taken in isolation, fails this test.

    If we truly love the sinner we should rejoice that they have found love and are willing to create their own family for the rest of their lives.

  • mark startin

     Well said; too many people are smuggling prejusice under the cover of a concern for morality.

  • 12Maria34

    It was believed but not a doctrine.  Our teaching is on faith and morals.

    You do not need to accept what we accept.  You do need to become catholic.  To be catholic is tough becuase it is tough to believe its teaching.  Even in heterosexual relations, sex before marriage is sin.  Do you believe this or not it is up to you but this is part of the our teaching.  We do not rejoice in sin.

    Already the state conducts marriages outside Church; these are acknowledged as valid. -  so why redefine marriage?  Even protestant churches conducts it.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    You sound like you are dispensing favours to us.  No thanks….I’d rather fight for Catholic rights rather than crawl for favours.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    Hmmm….very telling!  No answer to the conundrum of our Catholic shop assistant. 

  • NewMeena

    “What then?!  Is she prosecuted and loses her job?!”

    Excuse my delay – although I do not intend to reply to all your questions and postings!

    As regards your above comment: it all depends on the situation, I would guess. Clearly one must always use common sense. We all break the criminal law from time to time by driving at 30.5 mph.

    But Catholics on street corner preaching hatred of “sinful sodomists”, and using expressions similar to this, should certainly be prosecuted.(As should people preaching hatred of Catholicism and using colourful language). 

  • NewMeena

    No. Catholics ARE, and SHOULD BE, free to hold their beliefs.

  • NewMeena

    Please put in:
    “n>2″ is needed…..etc
    after the bracket with Fermat, and a full-stop after the first n>2.

    “i” by the way is not a complex number.

  • NewMeena

    It is an expression Rizzo.  There is a “smiley” showing this.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    Catholics have and want the right to always stand for our Faith and doctrine.  We don’t want Soviet style tactics…..and we won’t stand for intolerance hate and bigotry against us…even on street corners.  Try it and see.   

    You still didn’t answer my question concerning our young Catholic shop assistant!  It’s crucial that everybody in the land knows what this bill means for Catholics and other practising Christians.  No hiding nasty things please.  Or there will be trouble.

  • NewMeena

    “why the age limit?”

    Why indeed. It’s a (fairly modern) social convention and something designed to protect young girls, now written into law (although the age varies between different countries).

  • JabbaPapa

    I don’t want to fight Catholics

    What I DO strongly object to are their attempts

    Oh *please* …

    Can you at least TRY and avoid these blatant self-contradictions ?

  • JabbaPapa

    … amongst which, “gay marriage” is non-existent.

  • NewMeena

    Yes, that is the problem.

    Christians wish to keep their views imposed on others who are not Christians and who do not share their beliefs.

  • karlf

    I can’t really see what you are on about. But if you are are right, then surely every scientist worth their salt would be agreeing with you. ?
    But even if what you say is cause to believe in some kind of supernatural entity, it’s hardly a good reason to believe in a god who gets angry if you masturbate or covet someone’s wife.

  • whytheworldisending

    If ordinary decent people who oppose so-called gay marriage staged a walk out on the same day, this would bring the toffs to their senses. It would be a general strike not only by Christians, Jews, Muslims and all thinking people who want to be free to live their lives and bring up their children as they see fit, but by everybody who is sick of this unelected dictatorship we call the coalition. Faith leaders could meet with the Coalition for Marriage to agree the date and announce the call to action. Strikes can continue until Cameron stops listening to Clegg and starts listening to his party and to the British people.

  • Nick

    JabbaJabba jabber jabbering away as usual…..

  • Nick

    But you are trying to impose your ignorance, prejudice and bigotry on everyone else.

  • RuariJM

    “…What I DO strongly object to are their attempts (and that of some others) to impose their opinions on others who do not share them…”

    But you’re OK with imposing your beliefs on others, it would appear.
    Or have I missed something?

    Or, more likely, have you missed something – i.e., the implications of this proposed legislation, which you think is so wonderfully liberal but is, in fact, dictatorial. As well as being outdated – just a washed-up relic of the early 1970s.

    “Catholics are free (and should be free) to do what they want, among themselves and with others who share their opinions…”

    Ah, yes. Freedom of conscience in private. That familiar old cop-out of the dictatorial.