The following items are tagged Gay Marriage
Blogged by James Preece 4 Months ago...
So, I wrote to my MP... I was tempted not to bother as my MP is Alan Johnson and I've got as much chance of changing his mind on the question of "same sex marriage" as I have of winning the lottery. Twice.
I sent my letter anyway and I got his response...
Dear Mr Preece
Many thanks for your e-mail of 4th February.
I will vote in favour of the Bill as I see no reason why same sex couples shouldn't be able to sanctify their relationship through a civil marriage. I would however strongly object to any encroachment onto religious ceremonies and see the protection of those religions which do not wish to undertake such marriages as being a crucial element of the Bill.
Many thanks for contacting me on this important issue.
Alan Johnson MP
You know that thing in movies where a character looks at something and doesn't seem to notice anything untoward and then then goes "whut?" and looks again. A double take. Well, that.
Sanctify? Did he just say Sanctify?
Set apart as or declare holy; consecrate.
Make legitimate or binding by religious sanction.
I know some people mistake the state for God but this is ridiculous.
A "civil marriage" will be able to a declare a relationship holy? To consecrate it? To give it religious sanction? No matter what genders are involved - that's quite a claim for a secular authority to make.
Still, it wouldn't be the first time...
Blogged by James Preece 4 Months ago...
I've got some questions...
Once upon a time Marriage was used as a social institution between couples and the society in which they live in order to ensure that children have the best possible shot at growing up in a stable loving home with a father and a mother.
So for example, couples were forbidden to have sex outside of a permanent, stable marriage for the benefit of any children who might be born but also for the benefit of the surrounding community who could do without gangs of parentless youths running around the place getting up to no good.
The rules have varied dramatically from one culture to the next (in some places men marry several woman and so on) and Marriage has taken on forms that have been unquestionably wrong (forced marriages, women being sold etc) but the basic goal has remained the same - an expectation that the 'act' which by produce children be handled responsibly.
In return, those people who did commit themselves for life and to work for free bringing up the next generation and securing the future of the community.. those people got a certain amount of respectability and even tax breaks (gasp).
Over the last few decades years that's all changed and to many people Marriage no longer means any of those things. It started when the divorce laws said that Marriage no longer had to be permanent and continued when contraception and abortion said that sex Marriage outside of Marriage would no longer lead to babies.
For many people these days, Marriage has nothing to do with children. Marriage is a public expression of love between two people who want to show commitment until such time as they choose to get divorced.
When Marriage as an institution was built around heterosexual (e.g. potentially fertile) sex, it made sense to restrict it to heterosexuals - it makes no sense to forbid homosexuals from having sex until they are ready to support a child. Now that Marriage is seen simply an expression of commitment, many people see no reason to restrict things to heterosexual couples.
Which leads me to my question(s)...
Firstly, if Marriage no longer fulfils that role in society - why do we still have it? What is it for? Surely my love life is a private matter? If I want to tell my friends how much I love my other friend and how we are going to stay together for, oh, a while.. then I can put it on Facebook surely?
Secondly, if Marriage is no longer the institution that protects the rights of children - what is? Should we have one? Do we have one? What does it look like? What do we call it?
Perhaps your answer to the second question is that everybody should feel free to have sex with whoever they like so long as they use contraception? You might call it "responsible sex" or something? But consider this.. how are you going to encourage people to actually do it?
At the end of the day, whatever you do, whether you offer a carrot or a stick... how are you going to make it "equal"?
You're not homophobic are you?
Blogged by James Preece 9 Months ago...
Archbishop Vincent Nichols is the president of an organisation going by the name of Catholic Marriage Care Ltd. An organisation that "offers support to people in their marriages, relationships and family life".
If you are the sort of person who likes to know where a million pounds comes from, you may be interested to know that in 2009-10 Catholic Marriage Care Ltd received £485,100 in grants from the government. In 2010-11 the "Strategic grant" from the Department for Education was £499,700 and made up more than half of their "Total incoming resources" for that financial year.
If you want to know how Catholic Marriage Care Ltd spend their money, you may be interested in this statement from the Chief Executive of Catholic Marriage Care Ltd. Mr Terry Prendergast...
he said that preparation for same-sex couples took place in private and not as part of a group with heterosexual couples. Mr Prendergast said: “We have offered them focused marriage preparation – private, and not in a group. This is about two people in love and one of our main aims is to support loving partnerships.”
[The Tablet, 15th September 2011, Page 34]
To clarify: Archbishop Vincent Nichols presides over an organisation that offers "focused marriage preparation" to homosexual couples.
A couple of years ago Archbishop Vincent Nichols was asked if the Catholic Church might have to show "flexibility" in terms of sanctioning gay unions. Archbishop Nichol's replied: "I don't know. Who knows what's down the road?"
It turns out that what was down the road was "marriage preparation" for homosexual couples presided over by Archbishop Vincent Nichols. This before homosexual marriage is even legal.
Meanwhile it's been over a month since Professor Tina Beattie (and twenty-six others including priests) signed a letter in The Times stating that "it is perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples" yet she remains in place as a member of the CAFOD Theological Advisory Committee. She didn't publicly support same-sex marriage, but she laid the necessary pharisaical framework for the Bishops to accommodate it...
It's a matter of conscience you see... and if a Catholic can support same-sex marriage then why shouldn't a Catholic Priest bless one?
The clear message to the government is that the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales can and will find a way to accommodate gay marriage. There may be a bit of a "struggle" as the Bishops make their submission to the government's "consultation" and there might even be a strongly worded pastoral letter but in terms of actual action? No.
In much the same way as they did with contraception and divorce, the Catholic Bishop's of England and Wales will find a way to accomodate gay marriage.
In fact, they are already doing so.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
Thanks to the reader who sent this in...
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
I was very pleased to see the letter from Archbishops Nichols and Smith but please, don't be naive as to think this constitutes a clear teaching on Marriage.
What the Archbishops were actually doing was presenting one among many equally valid views. Catholics like me can accept that view if we wish or if not we can pick and choose a different view.
One such view can be found in this week's The Tablet where Fr Ceirion Gilbert is saddened and angry..
As a priest who deals daily with young people, teachers and catechists, I fear that yet again the Catholic Church is aligning herself with the wrong side, portraying herself as the "defender" of a position and an interpretation of society and humanity at odds with that of younger generations and almost incomprehensible to them in its rigidity and - to use an admittedly "loaded" term, bigotry.
I sense that once again, as so often on issues of sexual morality, that there is a gulf between the diktats of the institution and the "sensus fidelium", that concept that seems to have almost disappeared in recent years for some reason from the ecclesiastical vocabulary.
The comments of Cardinal Keith O'Brien last week left me saddened and angry; as a priest with among my friends more than one gay couple who still attend church (people with more courage and commitment than I might have in their position) I wondered how they are supposed to feel "welcomed and loved" by those unacceptable and absurd remarks; adjectives which, by the way, have been used by other (straight and not-so-young) Catholics when discussing the issue with me over recent days.
Note that there will be no rejection of this view by the Bishops. All over the country priests in well to do suburban parishes will express similar views and nothing will happen. This will be accepted as a perfectly valid alternative view for a Catholic priest to express in such a public forum.
We laity are presented with a choice, therefore we are not presented with a teaching at all. But still - the Bishops wrote a letter. As long as the Catholic view is presented alongside all the others... that's okay then.
h/t Laurence England
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
Thirsty Gargoyle has some interesting observations on the government consultation on Marriage.
Personally, I'm not sure the wording of the legislation matters any more.
This legislation exists to change the meaning of words so it will by definition include words used in ways that don't make sense by the old meaning of those words. The government are free to put in whatever wording they need to put in to get it passed.
Then the courts can tell us what those words really mean...
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
Unless you have been living under a rock lately you have heard that campaigners are demanding the right to gay marriage, that the government are "consulting on legalising gay marriage" and that the nasty intolerant hateful Christians are saying they don't want gay people to have marriage because "God hatez teh gays innit"... or something like that.
You have heard wrong. The argument is not about who has the right to marriage. The argument is about what marriage is.
Many people do not seem to have noticed but there are in fact two competing definitions of Marriage. The first of these definitions I will refer to as "traditional Marriage" and also simply "Marriage" because that is what it is. The second definition can scarcely be called Marriage at all, I shall refer to is as "pretend Marriage".
What is traditional Marriage?
The origins of traditional Marriage are lost in pre-history, the earliest civilizations we know about already had Marriage and there is a very good reason for that: Marriage is necessary for civilization to exist at all. People did not build civilizations until they were advanced enough to invent marriage, it was the other way around - they got married and discovered they had built a civilization. It is practically the definition of civilization for human beings to recognise their rights and duties towards one another and the most fundamental duty in any society is this: The duty of both parents to care for the child they have created together and the right of the child to be cared for by their parents. Everything else stems from this.
The specifics of traditional Marriage have varied in different times and places (e.g. polygamy etc) but the general requirements have remained constant. It begins with an obligation on heterosexual couples to abstain from sex outside of marriage because despite the lack of government mandated sex education, primitive societies knew what causes babies and they also knew that babies need looking after and it was irresponsible to do the thing that makes babies without first promising to stay together to look after the child. Even most modern day secularists at least have some sense that sex outside of marriage is dangerous and one must don 'protection' and approach with extreme caution. People of the 21st century might be a bit mushy on the details, but even they get the basic principle - you shouldn't do the thing that makes babies without first promising to stay together to care for the child.
Other requirements of traditional Marriage are that it be exclusive and for life. Not only because children do best when their parents stay together (and that includes grown up children and grand-children as well) but also because while it's quite obvious which woman is giving birth to a child (the midwife can usually tell) it isn't necessarily obvious which men are responsible for which babies. Okay, I hear you... DNA tests. But traditional Marriage isn't about making sure the right man pays the right maintenance money in to the right bank account - it's about making sure children have the best possible chance of growing up in a stable family with a mother and a father. Did you know that mums new boyfriend one of the people most likely to abuse a child?
Countless cultures and civilisations have understood something own society seems to have forgotten: Children are the future. We can invent flying cars, build beautiful towering cities on the moon and even find a way to fund everybody's pension but if nobody has any babies then in a hundred years time it will all be in ruins. It is not simply a matter of having babies either, it is a question of bringing them up well and forming the next generation to be the kind of people who help old ladies across the street rather than, say, knifing each other in the playground and setting fire to London. The survival and prosperity humanity throughout the ages, from stone age villages to medieval villages and modern cities have depended on the institution of Marriage as the mechanism to discourage irresponsible behavior and ensure that the rights of children are put ahead of the pelvic desires of adults.
Traditional Marriage insists that teenagers wait so their own children can grow up in the best possible environment and it recognises that sex before of marriage is gravely irresponsible behaviour that jeapordises the right of a child to be born in to a stable family. It forbids men from using one woman after another as objects of pleasure before abandoning them to look after children on their own. Finally, traditional Marriage imposes on society an obligation to support families. If men and women are obliged to provide a stable home and bring up their children to be a benefit to the society in which they live, then that society is obliged to do everything it can to help them.
What about pretend Marriage?
Our culture has spent the better part of the last hundred years dismantling marriage. Contraception appeared to remove the necessity for couples to abstain from sex until they were ready for a child while divorce declared marriage a temporary arrangement to be ended once the shine wore off. The new definition of marriage is a mirage. It looks a bit like marriage from the outside (dresses, rings and lots of flowers) yet it has no substance. It has ceased to be the system of rights and duties on which our civilisation depends and has become something altogether different.
CS Lewis noted over sixty years ago that people who "do not believe in permanent marriage" simply "wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price: that is, they were impostors". The pretend Marriage many people have today is no longer a committment between a man and a woman for life and has become a special gold star award that couples grant themselves in recognition of their extra mushy feelings. It's a little bit like a Facebook status only more expensive. People buy you gifts and make you feel really special. You can always get divorced.
So far I have written only about heterosexual couples, but it should now be clear why I say that the campaigners asking for gay marriage are not asking for real marriage at all. They do not want society to impose on homosexual persons a duty to avoid pregnancy until they are ready to have children, they do not want society to insist homosexuals remain monogamous for life. They simply want homosexuals to be allowed a share in the special gold stars in recognition of their extra mushy feelings.
A threat to civilisation?
Increasing numbers of people believe that marriage is nothing more than a way to show that you are respectable people who love each other sooo much you are willing to put yourselves in a position where separation is a bit more expensive. Despite this, Marriage is still widely understood in the traditional sense and our society depends on it.
Some marriages will always struggle and not everybody will avoid pregnancy before they are ready. The economy can afford for some marriages to fail, life doesn't always go according to plan and the state can and must support single parents, widows and orphans. It was wrong of previous generations who resented the "burden" of single parents to ostracise them and their "bastard" children. The child who had the right to be born in to a stable family, doesn't lose the right to be cared for just because his mother or father scarpered. Yet this support is possible only because a majority of stable families support those for whom things didn't work out - do you think the economy can afford for most marriages to fail? Do you think the economy can afford the promotion of pretend Marriage?
There are already plenty of people who have non-permanent special pretend-Marriages already and plenty of people who do not bother to get married at all. Our economy is already feeling the strain through the ever expanding benefits system, the cost to the NHS dealing with the various health problems that are associated with messy, painful divorces not to mention increased crime rates. This is why we say the destruction of marriage (of which the legalisation of gay marriage is but a small part) is a threat to civilisation. Not because gay marriage involves a man and a man (the homosexual aspect is largely irrelevant) but because the legalisation of gay marriage would enshrine in law the idea that marriage has nothing to do with mutual rights and responsibilities between potential parents and society but is instead a "right" to have your super mushy feelings properly recognised with a big party and a certificate from the government until such time as you decide you don't quite feel so mushy any more.
This is also why it is futile for Christians to ignore the struggle for the meaning of marriage. If all we do is say that heterosexuals can have a special certificate for mushy feelings but homosexual's can't then that really is unfair discrimination. Homosexuals are just as capable of mushy feelings as anybody else and they have just as much right to demand the government applaud their mushy feelings as anybody else does.
So what now?
Civilisation as we know it depends on traditional Marriage. If we dismantle traditional Marriage and replace it with a fraud then our civilisation cannot last. We will wake up one day and realise we have been replaced by populations who respected traditional Marriage. Long before that happens we will experience economic collapse and poverty. We will have failed our children.
It is a well known fact that hateful bloggers like myself have no time for Bishops which must be why I regard them as essential to any attempt at rebuilding traditional marriage. It is they who have the authority and the duty to mount a serious defense of traditional Marriage, to teach loud and clear the rights and duties heterosexual couples and society have towards one another. To explain all the things I didn't have time for in this blog entry (like why contraception doesn't negate the need to abstain from sex before marriage) and to claw back some of the ground lost in the last fifty years.
Meanwhile, we laity can take some advice from the campaigners who say "against gay marriage? - don't have one". If we are against pretend Marriage then one thing we can do is make sure our own marriages are not pretend ones. To remain faithful to our partners and provide our children with the stable environment they have the right to.
Please do support the coalition for Marriage pertition but know that it is not enough on it's own. It is not enough to oppose pretend Marriage, we need also to promote traditional Marriage.
Because none of us can live without it.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
Here's the obligatory token gesture...
The Archbishop of Westminster has expressed his disappointment over the Government's plan to introduce gay marriage. "I'm very disappointed that the Government seems to be choosing this direction," Archbishop Vincent Nichols said at a press conference at the Bishops' Conference of England Wales' headquarters in Victoria today. He added: "I respect the Prime Minister's insistence and emphasis on the importance of equality in relationships and the vital importance of commitment, and of course those are things that we recognise as very important for the health of society. But commitment plus equality does not equal marriage. And the distinctive nature of marriage is something that is very important to the wellbeing of society because it is the foundation of family life."
I think the worst part of this quote has to be the "seems to be choosing this direction" part. As though the Archbishop seriously thinks there's any ambiguity here... perhaps he has received assurances? How did that work out last time?
Things seem to improve towards the end when he says that marriage is "the foundation of family life" but he can't possibly mean it because he continues to do nothing about Terry Prendergast.