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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, 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?

  • paulpriest

     No contradiction with what Aquinas said Lazarus

    Marriage or wedlock is said to be true by reason of its attaining its
    perfection. Now perfection of anything is twofold; first, and second.
    The first perfection of a thing consists in its very form, from which it
    receives its species; while the second perfection of a thing consists
    in its operation, by which in some way a thing attains its end. Now the
    form of matrimony consists in a certain inseparable union of souls, by
    which husband and wife are pledged by a bond of mutual affection that
    cannot be sundered. And the end of matrimony is the begetting and
    upbringing of children: the first of which is attained by conjugal
    intercourse; the second by the other duties of husband and wife, by
    which they help one another in rearing their offspring

  • NewMeena

    I DO (really!) try not to smile as I “look to Heaven” and wonder at the closed mind of the fundamentalist who “knows” that the current teaching of her/his Church is so right about matters such as this.

    I try not to smile, partly because they may be right and I may be wrong.
    Have any of them considered this idea, for themselves?

  • NewMeena

    Oh yes there is JabbaP!

  • NewMeena

    ” ….[marriage is] intended primarily by the Author of life to perpetuate His creative act and to beget children….”

    This can take place in gay marriages (gamete donation).
    And in the near future, without such donation, by cloning.

    NO marriage is being “rescinded” –  heterosexual marriage will go on as before.

  • paulpriest

     Well Leo XIII reiterated it in Rerum Novarum

  • Lazarus

    Yes, we have been around this before! I’m still not sure I understand you. (I’ve since added some citations from Thomist manuals to my comment above which might clarify the position a little.)

    Perhaps it would help me if you could just answer the following question: Do you consider an argument against same sex ‘marriage’ based on the procreative end of marriage to be illegitimate? If so why, in view of the clear use of this line of argument by Thomists? 

    (For example, when you say, “Marriage is about Love – so please do not argue ‘no its not about love – it’s about having and raising kids’”, I don’t think anyone would argue it’s not about love. But the primary end of marriage is procreation (as argued) and it is this which distinguishes it from other loving relationships. So the primary argument here against SSM is indeed that ‘it’s about having and raising kids’.)

  • Lazarus

    Well, just so long as we’re clear that marriage has a procreative purpose, we can then go on to discuss whether this purpose is best realized by men and women having sex, or by growing people in petri dishes.

    (Funny I haven’t heard Dave and other supporters of SSM waxing lyrical about this Brave New World of childrearing, but if they did I’m sure it would make their support of gay marriage even more popular than it is now…!)

  • Lazarus

    Rerum novarum, s. 12: ‘No human law can abolish the natural and original right of marriage, nor in any way limit the chief and principal purpose of marriage ordained by God’s authority from the beginning: “Increase and multiply.”  

  • Paul

    He said, “Have you not read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female, ”   (ie., in the image and likeness of God – Genesis 1:27)  “and this is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh?  They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh.  So, what God has joined together, let not man put asunder”  (Matthew 19:4-7).
      With these words, Jesus declared what an indescribably holy thing marriage is.  It is sacramental, an instance of God graciously entering our time and space and acting in it.
      The horrible alternative currently under discussion is utterly condemned in these words.  Please do not ask Jesus to be any more explicit about it. 

  • mark startin

     At times one is ashamed to be a Catholic.

  • G Nearing

     So Much for Democracy.

  • G Nearing

    For actually being a catholic?

  • G Nearing

    No But it did involve the birth of life.

  • Sweetjae

    You are definitely right NewMeena that probably the Catholic Church may entertain the idea that she is wrong on this, IF and only IF, the institution like the Catholic Church is not founded nor came from Christ/God Himself but from men. As their morality is as good as the others.

    But this is not so with our God which we recognized as all good comes from thus we catholics have the assurance of certainty.

    “But when he, the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into ALL truth” Jn 16:7

    “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matt 16:18.

  • G Nearing

     quick question. how does one remove comments from this website? and i’m not talking to NewMeena. I apologiz   Miss/Mr.  NewMeena if  I sound offensive to you.

  • timothy canezaro

    . . . “Human parenthood is something shared by both the man and the woman. Even if the woman, out of love for her husband, says: ‘I have given you a child’, her words also mean: ‘This is our child’. Although both of them together are parents of their child, the woman’s motherhood constitutes a special ‘part’ in this shared parenthood, and the most demanding part. Parenthood –even though it belongs to both –is realised much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period. It is the woman who ‘pays’ directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul. It is therefore necessary that the man be fully aware that in their shared programme of parenthood he owes a special debt to the woman.” -Bl. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (1988), no. 1

  • timothy canezaro

    Blessed John Paul II: “Love then is not a utopia: it is given to mankind as a task to be carried out with the help of divine grace. It is entrusted to man and woman, in the sacrament of matrimony, as the basic principle of their ‘duty,’ and it becomes the foundation of their mutual responsibility: first as spouses, then as father and mother. In the celebration of the sacrament, the spouses give and receive each other, declaring their willingness to welcome children and to educate them. On this hinges human civilization, which cannot be defined as anything other than a ‘civilization of love’.”

  • Sweetjae

    Opposition to gay-marriage is not just based on the continuity of human species but more on the Natural Moral Law. You also “descriminate” against minors (below18) to get alcoholic drinks, marriage between two consulting adult siblings or marriage between man and young man (under18), why the age limit? Who set it? Or marriage between man and his dog in the name of “love”? (the dog show signs of reciprocating love to its owner).

    In fact as we speak, there are people who are already advocate these “rights”.

  • Sweetjae

    St. Paul based it more on the Natural Law. Negative sign cancel out another negative sign.

  • Sweetjae

    It can be the means (foreplay) but not the end. The end should always be open to life, without this condition, woman becomes just a mere sexual object for pleasure, the reason why we have abortion, pornography over the counter. I blame the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican church in 1930 that caved-in to secular pressure thus gave birth to the sexual revolution and free sex in the 50′s to today.

  • Sweetjae

    Are you a Catholic or even a true believing Christian, New Meena? If so, by your posts, you consider St. Paul and Moses as bigoted and the Holy Bible as ignorant dispensations?

    I would really like to understand you, can you please explain your side without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

  • Sweetjae

    Its like this, if you don’t want to abide by the country club’s rules and regulations, stay out of the club. Nothing is wrong with that, right?

  • Sweetjae

    Meaning of positive sign and a negative sign produce electricity NOT negative with a negative that just cancels each other out. It’s called Natural Law.

  • Sweetjae

    St. Paul said in Romans 1:26-27:

    “For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, [27] and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

    That is, IF you believe in what St. Paul and the Holy Bible said and not what Herod said!

  • Sweetjae

    Gay relationship is not criminal but Unnatural and anything against the Natural Moral Order/Law is against the Creator who created them.

  • Sweetjae

    Alexander, understand this, we would rather rave and rant with St. Paul than with you.

  • mark startin

    There is nothing wrong with attempting to change the rules and regulations.  Surely a responsible member has a duty to try so to do?

  • mark startin

    Not precisely, but how else can one respond to the sort of bigotry displayed above?  No attempt to produce an argument in justification of a position just a bald accusation that potential same sex couples are child abusers.

  • GildasWiseman

    But not by God. 

  • Joe Zammit

      Par.2357 of the Catechism of
    the Catholic Church reads:

       “Homosexuality refers to relations between
    men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual
    attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of
    forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological
    genesis remains largely unexplained.

      Basing itself
    on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,
    tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically
    disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to
    the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual

      Under no
    circumstances can they be approved.”


  • Joe Zammit

    Evil spreads when the good remain idle!

    Christ told us that the children of darkness are wiser than those of the light.

    Christ, of course, did not say this to discourage us from doing our part; on the contrary, he wants us to be fervent Catholics and spread his word, as taught to us by his one Church, to one and all.

    The devil tries to dissuade us from doing something positive, especially in the face of evil. That’s his tactic.

    If we are filled with the love of God, we never stop doing good to others, notwithstanding all the difficulties we encounter because we know God’s grace in us is much much more powerful than all the evil of the world.

    So, Catholics, never give up! Just draw nearer to God, nearer to the Catholic Church, let Christ fill your heart with his grace and I assure you that all hell will not prevail against you.

    Faithfulness, love, self-denial, prayer, the sacraments, obedience to the authorities of the Catholic Church, patience and you will see what the gift of Christian Fortitude will work in you and in others through you.

  • Lazarus

    I’m not sure if there’s a way of removing (one’s own) comment completely, but you can edit a comment you’ve made. (So in extreme cases, you can just delete all the content from a comment and leave it blank.)

  • Lazarus

    You need to separate out a few things here, Meena.

    The Church teaches that in the area of faith and morals, it possesses divine teaching authority. So where it has made its mind clear (as it has on the area of, say, homosexual activity) a Catholic cannot actively dissent from it and claim to be following the Church.

    However, as individuals, all of us have to wrestle with whether or not we believe what the Church teaches: we are just as free as you, Meena, to dissent. What we cannot do is to dissent from clear teaching and claim to remain Catholics in good standing.

    Personally, I wrestled extensively with the Church’s teachings when becoming a Catholic: if I hadn’t solved my intellectual difficulties with them, I wouldn’t have become a Catholic. (And if they ever reappeared to the extent that they were insoluble, I would stop being a Catholic.) There are many that I find extremely difficult to live out, but none that I have found wanting when you drill down and understand the reasoning behind them. On the issue of same sex ‘marriage’, I find absolutely nothing in the arguments in favour of it that would convince me that the Church is wrong on this: indeed, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the Church is 100% correct and everyone else (with some exceptions!) has gone completely nuts on this issue.

  • Kevin

    I disagree with the headline.

    The issue here is that, in order to function, the permissive society needs to be open. It needs to have free conversations about safe fornication, setting up STD clinics, testing contraceptives, arranging terminations, not to mention being able to chat up multiple partners in the first place without fear of being slapped. Catholic morality, on the other hand, would put and end to these conversations and pressure everyone into being chaste and monogamous.

    There is no room in society for both social arrangements. This legislation is about destroying Catholicism as a social force, and it is doing so by pretending that obscene sex acts are the equivalent of actual sex and declaring the condemnation of them to be a legal heresy.

    There is no point in a consultation because we do not share a society with these people. We must aim to defeat them. We cannot expect to achieve more than a stalemate, but we will not get even that unless we aim to win.

  • Lazarus

    But the natural law is simply based on our natures, as embodying God’s intention for us. The view that the chief end of marriage is procreation is part of natural law. 

  • Lazarus

    1) Hardly surprising if most gay people were in favour of gay ‘marriage’ is it? (Particularly since it’s become a dog whistle issue where to be against it is to become seen as against gays.)

    2) Factually, quite a lot of gays are against it:

    3) But in the end, this is about truth, not mere opinion. In my judgment, the better arguments are against same sex ‘marriage’. If you think you can discharge the burden of proof that lies on those who would rip up a long standing institution with a clear social function and replace it with something that is absolutely pointless, go on, knock yourself out.

  • JabbaPapa

    Right, Lazarus, and it does not state the same thing as paulpriest’s understanding of Aquinas.

  • JabbaPapa

    Usually, the truth is the diametric opposite of opinions posted by this individual. The above post is no exception to the general rule…

  • JabbaPapa

    Nothing, because there is no such thing.

  • JabbaPapa

    Apparently, the great majority of them have no such desire in the first place.

  • JabbaPapa

    A homosexual man is, statistically, about 10 times more likely to engage in the sexual abuse of minors (usually teenagers) than a heterosexual.

  • JabbaPapa

    we are, in fact, talking here about ONE “kind” of marriage: Marriage recognised by the state.

    On a Catholic website ?

    Are you for real ???

    Sorry, you don’t get to set the limits of discussion to agree with your own prejudice and indoctrination.

  • JabbaPapa

    Contrary to Christian teaching…

    The rejection of one Christian teaching by these does not justify the rejection of another such teaching by those.

  • JabbaPapa

    When cloning becomes widespread, a child may totally be the off-spring of a single adult.

    A biological impossibility.

    But this is not the first time that you’ve displayed your ignorance of the inherent limitations in the cloning of mammals …

  • Joe Zammit

    Gay marriage is a contradiction in terms.

    Marriage can only be between one man and one woman for life. So no divorce.

    Christ said clearly that a man leaves his parents, unites with his wife and the two become one. So Christ is clear about marriage: one man and one woman, and for ever: otherwise adultery will reign supreme in them.

    And St Paul is clear as well: he infallibly tells us that homosexuals, adulterers, etc will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.

    So, homosexuals are ruining themselves first and foremost!

  • Joe Zammit

    Yes, you are right.

    Besides, St Paul infallibly say that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Of course, this will be so unless they convert. And it is possible for them to convert by God’s all=powerful grace. This grace will make their will so strong that they can win all temptations immediately, easily and always.

  • Joe Zammit

    Your suggestion is precisely a devilish one. What is important is that we do our part to please God. If we follow your devilish suggestion, we would be pleasing the devil. We want to please God and do his will, especially by spreading to one and all the truth about the sanctity of marriage and the evil of homosexual pseudo-marriages.

  • la catholic state

    Our children?!!  Do you have children Meena?!  Generally I find that those who don’t have children or don’t want any, are very keen to indoctrinate the children of others.  Well steer right clear of our children!  We are very particular of what goes into their minds…..and just because it comes from Dave the Rave….doesn’t mean we want it for OUR children.

    Got that!

  • Joe Zammit

    Are you referring to God’s plan on marriage or on the devil’s plan on marriage? If you are referring to God’s plan, you desire the good; if you are referring to the devil’s plan, you are desiring evil.

    Christ told us: From the abundance of one’s heart, one’s mouth utters!

    I tell you one thing: Remember that you have the date of death written on your head!

  • Joe Zammit


    You want to pseudo-marry. You want to deceive yourselves in a pseudo-marriage. You want to be on the path to hell as St Paul infallibly tells you that homosexuals will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.

    What marriage? That fake unnatural union that goes directly against nature!