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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?

  • Joe Zammit

    For karlf the world started when his imaginative marriage began!

  • GildasWiseman

    Look to see what the Church teaches about this, then you will know. 

  • Joe Zammit

    Poor children under the care of homosexuals! These children look around and see other children with father and mother and these poor children are amazed with two fathers (sic! = FALSE fathers) or two mothers (sic! = FALSE mothers).

  • Joe Zammit

    Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that all people were homosexuals. What happens? Humanity comes to an end. So, are homosexual unions natural? Of course not! Nature wants to preserve itself. It cannot preserve itself through homosexual unions but through heterosexual ones.

    This is a simple argument to prove how unnatural are homosexual unions!

    But, St Paul tells us that some have left the truth to run after lies. Perhaps those favouring homosexual unions are among them.

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

    So you want to push children out of the definition of marriage do you Meena.  Well well well….no wonder there are so many messed up children in our society. 

    Evil really.

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

    “Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that all people were homosexuals.”

    But all people are not.

    That is all that needs to be said in order to ignore the remainder of your “proof”.

  • NewMeena

    “The Church teaches that in the area of faith and morals, it possesses divine teaching authority.”
    “What we cannot do is to dissent from clear teaching and claim to remain Catholics in good standing.”

    The Church is certainly ambitious! The areas of faith and morals just about covers all matters about what we should believe and how we should behave in respect of important issues.
    But divine authority in all of this?  You believe that Jesus of Nazareth was divine. What did HE say about, for example, gay marriage?
    I assume papal infallibility is bound-up in this too.

  • NewMeena

    A straw petri dish. As you know, babies are grown in utero.

  • NewMeena

    “Do you have children Meena?!”

    Yes. I’m not myself gay. That is not a statement of superiority, but simply of fact.

    I would like my children to be able to think for themselves and to be kind and tolerant people.  Our children are OF us – but we do not own them or their minds.

    If there is a God, and if He desired our children to have certain thoughts and ideas in their heads, I’m sure He could manage it. 

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Well, the Church certainly does make bold claims: not in the spirit of ambition, but simply in order to perform its God given duty of providing a reliable guide for human beings. If you believe that Jesus commissioned the Apostles and, in particular Peter, to do this, then it makes sense. If you don’t, then it doesn’t. 

    So in the end, it boils down to assessing the reliability of the Church as an interpreter of revelation and of the natural law. That reliability doesn’t require blind faith: eg, if you consistently find that the Church’s teaching on morality reaches more deeply into the issues that alternative positions, it becomes rational to trust the Church in future areas of doubt. 

    As far as general divine authority is concerned on the issue of gay marriage, the teaching of the successors of Peter and the Apostles (ie the bishops and the Pope) is clear. As far as that part of that divine teaching contained in the Bible goes, Jesus very clearly upholds a rigorous ideal of Jewish marriage: his lack of explicit pronouncement on the subject of gay marriage is no more telling than his lack of explicit pronouncement on serial killing. No sane Jew would even have considered it as an option.

    Apart from divine authority, there is the authority of human reason and the natural law. At times this needs to be supplemented and corrected by revelation. But in the case of same sex ‘marriage’, it’s reasonably clear that it’s a bad idea without appealing to revelation.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Who knows what fresh horrors await! (Mind you, straw petri dishes sound both messy and impractical, whatever their green credentials.)

    In any case, fertilization is in vitro and the human being exists from the moment of fertilization. You are growing children in test tubes wherever they finally end up.

    Now go and explain to the public that this is the real agenda behind same sex ‘marriage’.

  • NewMeena

    I haven’t really got “a side”, but think I’m an agnostic with a strong leaning to atheism.
    But I’m prepared to be open-minded and listen to the Christian/Catholic “side”.  I am prepared to suggest to some atheists that you can sometimes look at matters they dismiss through the “Christian end of the telescope”, and see things differently (to the atheist).

    But, most accurately, I’m a lone sole/soul (not socially, as I have family and friends) living in this strange world – and am always scratching my head.
    I neither want to believe or disbelieve – I would like to know the truth, but I never will (nor, I think, will you or anyone else).

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

    Then teach what you like to your own children….but steer clear of ours!!  Thanking you in advance.

  • NewMeena

    Jesus seems to be simply describing what normally/usually happens – most people ARE heterosexual.

  • GildasWiseman

    Yet what ever discipline it falls into to it is, as I know you will agree, the teaching of the Church and that is enough for me. You are perfectly correct when you say defenders of traditional marriage are doing a service for society. 

  • Janetfearns

    The problem is that MPs who are planning to vote for gay marriage are unlikely to change their stance even after lobbying. The letter I received from Jane Ellison MP was uncompromising. She and others fail to see that there are deeper issues at stake than a nice setting and a cheerful wedding breakfast.

  • GildasWiseman

    But this is not the first time that you’ve displayed your ignorance of the inherent limitations in the cloning of mammals ..or the history and teaching of the Church, I submit.

  • rjt1

    Yes, for us Catholics, the teaching of the Church is the ‘clincher’ but, of course, we cannot use that as an argument when seeking to convince unbelievers. We have to start with natural reason in that case. For discussions with other Christians, we can use arguments from Scripture. I believe this was the approach of St Thomas Aquinas (cf Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapter 2):

    “Some of the [Gentiles], such as the Mohammedans and the pagans, do not agree with us on the authority of any Scripture by means of which they could be won over–in the way that we can argue with Jews by appealing to the Old Testament and with heretics by appealing to the New Testament. But [the Mohammedans and pagans] accept neither [the Old nor the New Testament]. Therefore, it is necessary to revert to natural reason, which everyone is compelled to assent to–although in divine matters reason is wanting.” (Chapter 2)

  • Vince

    We will demonstrate again in Paris on January 13th – this will be a national demonstration this time. Even if the issue is a bit different in France, because there civil marriage is clearly separated from religious marriage, the stakes are in fact the same. And both governements method to impose this demand from a tiny, non-representative minority follows exactly the same pattern on both side of the Channel.

  • rjt1

    St Paul, an acknowledged interpreter of the Christian message, tells us that sodomites and catamites will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. He also expresses strong disapproval of lesbian relationships. Since you are not a Christian, I wouldn’t expect you to be convinced by that or indeed by anything that might have been said by Jesus.

  • Joe Zammit

    So, NewMeena, you are right when you say not all people are homosexual, but you are wrong when you disregard the basic unnatural character of homosexual unions.

    Whatever preserves nature is natural.
    Killing does not preserve nature.
    Therefore, killing is unnatural.

    Whatever preserves nature is natural.
    Heterosexual unions preserve nature.
    Therefore, heterosexual unions are natural.

    Whatever preserves nature is natural.
    Homosexual unions do not preserve nature.
    Therefore, homosexual unions are unnatural.

  • mark startin

    Your syllogism does not work precisely because you have attempted to twist things so it does.
    Start instead from, ‘Whatever happens naturally is natural’.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Homosexual people can already marry. Marrige is the lifelong union between one man and one woman.

    What the homosexualist activists want is to redefine the word marriage so that they can practice bizarre, disgusting, unnatural and unhealthy sexual practices and call themselves “married” and pretend to be loving couples.

  • whytheworldisending

    He said nothing specifically on the subject of about bestiality and necrophilia. Does that mean we have to force the general public to pretend they approve of such deranged sickness? Homosexual despots are paving the way for perverts of all shades to demand that the British public pretend they are normal, and no – paedophiles don’t rate a mention in the gospels either.

  • JabbaPapa

    Not sure who that’s aimed at, but the identical reproduction via cloning of individual mammals is impossible — the closest you can get is the cloning of a female mammal using the womb of that individual’s mother, but even then there will be differences in development such as those that create the differences between identical twins.

  • timothy canezaro

    Marriage in the catholic church and for all the catholics around the world ; it is a Sacrament on par with Communion, Confession, and is maybe most like a Priest’s Sacramental Holy Orders as Marriage is a lifelong vocation joined to a person of the opposite sex and bonded by Love and Christ’s Blessings. That’s what it means. And we try to teach these things to our children in catholic schools because the secular government’s answer is to give away free condoms, morning after pills and abortions. On top of it, secular society bombards everyone with materialistic and ofvten sexually themed everything. We want to teach our kids the blessings that flows from a marriage and the christian family. Every glbt person ever born was the product of a union between man and woman and they are our brothers and sisters and friends. We don’t hate them. They are loved too. We are just doing what comes naturally to use as people of faith with defending marriage much like we have Life over abortion since it was legalised. Has abortions made our lives any better? How about society? How about the 50 million unborn we didn’t give a chance to live in the last 30years? Right now the catholic nation of the phillipines is trying to force sterilization measures on its people. We pray for them. In peru, hundreds of thousands of native women gave birth in state run hosptitals only to get out and realize they were sterilized without consent.

  • timothy canezaro

    catholics all over the world are praying right now for an increase in sacramental marriages and a decrease in single parenthood and abortions.

  • timothy canezaro

    A passionate defense of the faith and bride of christ

  • paulpriest

     Sigh!!! No Jabba – Rerum Novarum DOES agree with Aquinas

    The problem is the English [mis]Translation of Rerum Novarum: Although the English says purpose[implying nature] it’s supposed to be translated as aim [implying end] – The
    Italian uses Scopo [Target/Aim], French ‘Fin principale’ [End],
    Portuguese ‘Fim’[End], Spanish ‘Finalidad’[End]

    In other words
    what ‘Principal Purpose’ is really referring to is the AIM – the
    intention towards the end – not purpose in its ‘ratio esse’ – nature – what it can’t be without.

    Purpose: Love
    Aim: Fulfilling that Love to its ultimate end.[Overflowing procreatively]

  • karlf

    if you don’t know the answer, why not say that you don’t know?

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

    With this bill….comes the criminalising of Catholics and Catholic belief.  It’s pure evil.  Now it is legitimate to discriminate against Catholics.  Time for a fight!  Why should Catholics be discriminated against?!

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

    I agree.  The only ‘rights’ they are interested in are the rights of gays.  The rights of Catholics don’t matter you see.  Evil or what?!

  • karlf

    Catholics can already get get married you know. And anyway, you choose to be a Catholic, but you have no choice to whether you are homo or heterosexual.

  • paulsays

    Ha Ha it will pass, as predicted by me, and as ridiculed by others. I did warn that the Church is shooting itself in the foot, and should just takes this one lying down, as its passage is as inevitable as the tides! I did warn you!!

  • JabbaPapa

    ???

    Questo diritto individuale cresce di valore se lo
    consideriamo nei riguardi del consorzio domestico. Libera all’uomo è l’elezione
    del proprio stato: Egli può a suo piacere seguire il consiglio evangelico della
    verginità o legarsi in matrimonio. Naturale e primitivo è il diritto al
    coniugio e nessuna legge umana può abolirlo, né può limitarne, comunque sia,
    lo scopo a cui Iddio l’ha ordinato quando disse: Crescete e moltiplicatevi.
    Ecco pertanto la famiglia, ossia la società domestica, società piccola ma
    vera, e anteriore a ogni civile società; perciò con diritti e obbligazioni
    indipendenti dallo Stato. Ora, quello che dicemmo in ordine al diritto di
    proprietà inerente all’individuo va applicato all’uomo come capo di famiglia:
    anzi tale diritto in lui è tanto più forte quanto più estesa e completa è
    nel consorzio domestico la sua personalità.
    Love (amore) is not even mentioned !!!Also — rather unusually — the English translation is far superior to the Italian : In diligendo genere vitae non est dubium, quin in potestate sit arbitrioque singulorum alterutrum malle, aut IESU CHRISTI sectari de virginitate consilium, aut maritali se vinclo obligare. Ius coniugii naturale ac primigenum homini adimere, caussamve nuptiarum praecipuam, Dei auctoritate initio constitutam, quoquo modo circumscribere lex hominum nulla potest : Crescite et multiplicammi caussam = for the purpose of, towards the aim of(and have you noticed that Jesus Christ does not appear in the Italian, though His name is capitalised in the Latin ? Not the sign of a good translation)Nevertheless, it is quite clear in Rerum Novarum that the purpose of marriage, in Catholicism, is firmly centred on the family, not on the relationship of husband to wife.The Encyclical is quite clear that one should either follow the Christian ideal of abstinence, or otherwise engage in a married life for the purpose of raising a family.

    Nowhere in here do I see the notion that the relationship of husband to wife is of primordial importance.—So far, I’ve challenged your presentation of the Thomist position not at all, but I could potentially dig into that as well …

  • Rizzo The Bear

    As if you have anything important to say…

  • Rizzo The Bear

    As Jesus Christ Himself, who made the rules for the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Get over what? Why don’t you build a bridge and get over the fact that you. are. so. wrong.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    NewMeena is on a mission… and failing spectacularly!

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Gay people do not understand the VOW which goes ‘and keep thee ONLY UNTO him/her.’

    When they take their fancy of another, they will go off and do their thing.

    I don’t suppose you live in a town/city which has a large LGBT population.That is why, crap-for-brains, there will NEVER BE ANY SUCH THING AS GAY MARRIAGE!!!!!

    You are wasting your time on here. Get over it.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    … or NM’s ignorance full-stop!

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Normal????!!??? What’s NORMAL???!!!

    Are you saying Gay people are NOT normal…

    You’ve changed your tune!

    LOL!

  • drj81

    This bill is about re-defining marriage. 
     If the arguments in favour are entertained then surely it must be stating that a married woman with children is equivalent to and interchangeable with a gay man?
    No difference whatsoever.
     In my opinion it is folly in so many ways and shows a complete lack of respect and understanding for married couples and for what marriage really means.
    It doesn’t seem to have done them any good in the by-elections so I suspect “call me Dave” is already lined-up for the chop by his own party. By the way when is he going to introduce the tax incentive that he promised for married couples ?

  • Rizzo The Bear

    One is either a Roman Catholic or not. There’s the choice.

    No liberal, submarine, right-wing, left-wing, both-wings, conservative, couldn’t-give-a-flying-monkeys-either-way,cafeteria, Obama Catholic or chocolate-centres catholic. NO. SUCH. THING.There is no cafeteria here ‘coz it’s shut. Only people like you can’t bear that and try to lift the roller shutters long after the insides have been cleared

    Jog on.

  • Rizzo The Bear

    Can you actually see heaven? Wowee. 

    I didn’t think you believed in such stuff. I thought you lot were worm food or ash for the grass once you kick the bucket.

    Make up your minds!

  • Rizzo The Bear

    At last the FACTS!

  • Rizzo The Bear

    I wouldn’t put ANYTHING past this government with this law.

    … and we know how to fight!

  • Rizzo The Bear

    What do you expect us to read? The Guardian?

    Their ‘Pope Nope’ mularkey went down like the Titanic in 2010, didn’t it?

  • Rizzo The Bear

    So, so true!

    These people running after lies will find out the idiocy of their actions… when it’s too late!