The Ayes have it! 400 of them.
And by a process we call Democracy, the Vox Populi ruled on Tuesday that marriage is no longer between a man and a woman, but between anyone, of any gender or persuasion.
From a Christian standpoint, I’d say that democracy is a flawed system.
If the principle is that the minority are always overruled by the majority, then all kinds of popular evils could be made legal. Why is there little to no media censorship, no regulation of internet porn, no clamp down on excessive drinking? The majority approve of it, so they carry the day.
Now, in the UK within a year, gays and lesbians will be able to marry in just the same way as heterosexuals. The majority (so we are told) approve, so it must be done!
Polls That Differ
Except that, it’s not as democratic as we are led to believe. For example, a ComRes poll commissioned by a group called the Coalition for Marriage asked whether ‘marriage should continue to be defined as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman’. This poll found 53 per cent in favour of this proposition and 36 per cent opposed. [source]
Surveys also revealed that most people think gay marriage unimportant. The few vocal supporters pointed to a poll saying 45 per cent of the public support gay marriage and only 36 per cent oppose it, YET they overlooked in the SAME poll that a whopping 78 per cent think gay marriage is not a pressing parliamentary issue.
Nor did the Tory MPs approve:
SIR GERALD HOWARTH, (Former Tory Defense Minister):
This Bill is wrong, the consultation process was a complete sham, it is opposed by the established church, it has caused deep and needless divisions within the Conservative Party, there is no mandate for it, there are huge potential consequences, not least the prospect of endless legal challenge and the nation faces much more serious challenges which the Government needs to address.
More than half of David Cameron’s MPs rejected same-sex marriage. 134 Tory MPs took advantage of a free vote to oppose the plans. Only 126 backed the legislation, with 35 abstaining.
Nevertheless, with the help of the majority of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, Mr Cameron saw the measure passed easily, by a margin of 400 to 175. The first gay marriages are likely to be conducted within 12 months. [Source]
The general public is tolerant towards gays, but decidedly lukewarm towards the idea of gay marriage. They just don’t understand why it’s being prioritised. (Nor do I? What’s really behind this?)
Why Marriage? Why Now?
The logic of this decision to give gays full marriage has always foxed me, for gays have been able to have “civil partnerships” in this country for years. There is a legal process already in which two people can share a special ceremony, say their vows before a group of invited friends, sign the register, and walk away with all the social benefits that married couples have.
This link tells us that there is really NO difference in the union of gays (legally) to a man and a woman marrying in a Register office.
“Civil partnerships in the United Kingdom, granted under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, give same-sex couples rights and responsibilities very similar to civil marriage. Civil partners are entitled to the same property rights as married opposite-sex couples, the same exemption as married couples on inheritance tax, social security and pension benefits, and also the ability to get parental responsibility for a partner’s children, as well as responsibility for reasonable maintenance of one’s partner and their children, tenancy rights, full life insurance recognition, next of kin rights in hospitals, and others. There is a formal process for dissolving partnerships akin to divorce”
Please note the final sentence.
Marriage between a man and a woman has always held sacred the idea of fidelity. Indeed part of the marriage vow is to “forsake all others”, and thus divorce (for them) is possible on the grounds of adultery. With gay marriage, there is a glaring omission!
As Nadine Dorries, former Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire points out:
“This bill in no way makes a requirement of faithfulness from same sex couples – in fact it does the opposite. In a heterosexual marriage, a couple can divorce for adultery, [because] the LEGAL requirement is “having sex with a member of the opposite sex”. A gay couple have no obligation to make that vow because they DO NOT HAVE TO FORSAKE ALL OTHERS and therefore cannot divorce for adultery. There is no requirement for faithfulness! And if there is no requirement of faithfulness, what is a marriage?”
Nonetheless, David Cameron decided civil partnerships were not enough, but “marriage” had to be forced upon the nation.
Opponents forced into submission
This was forced upon gays too. Even the GLBT community said it wasn’t necessary and they hadn’t asked for it. The early Gay reformers were totally opposed to the concept of marriage and wanted to overthrow it. See this interesting blog.
Differences are tiny but crucial
Given that civil partnership provides all the legal and social niceties that gays could need, why marriage?
Let’s consider the differences: “marriage” is more than a legal agreement. This page lists the differences, but I want to skip to the bottom line. Up to today, gays have not been able to have RELIGIOUS ceremonies. OH. So there it is, right there:
“Until now it has been banned for civil partnership ceremonies to include religious readings, music or symbols and forbidden for them to take place in religious venues, regardless of the views of the building’s owners. “
The missing part was God – or whichever god people might like to drag into this.
The classic wedding photo of the loving couple holding hands, confetti flying in the air, just outside the door of the Parish Church on a Saturday afternoon, was denied to the two gals or guys for whom “civil marriage” was provided in 2004.
The robed-up vicar, the cherubic choir singing in the chancel, the chiming of the church bells (all at a price, you understand) the hymns and the service books, the vaulted ceilings and old wooden pews – all the trappings of a religious wedding so familiar and beloved to married couples were ruled out before today.
And the strange and ludicrous thing is, they still will be!
Specifically excluded from this new marriage-for-gays law will be the Church of England and Wales! They are banned from holding ceremonies.
Not only did the good ole CofE secure a ban, but ANY religious organisation can opt out with no fear of being taken to the law courts as a result. Or so we are told.
I was left to ponder just what religious organisation was going to agree to gay marriages, if you leave out the CofE and presumably all genuine Christian denominations? Perhaps the Unitarians might see a sudden surge of interest, or Spiritist chapels? Or the more progressive kinds of charismatic congregations (assuming they have a license to marry.) Who knows.
As to that, the promise of exemption from prosecution is, I believe, a hollow and hypocritical bribe that is open to dispute once the marriage laws come into play.
Surely the “Yuman Rites” advocates will line up to defy Cameron’s pledge and, with the help of the EU, try to pillory those who refuse to marry gays?
It will also have the (perhaps intended) consequence of separating the ayes from the nays and will demonstrate at last which pastors and churches are “homophobic”.
Even if Cameron can promise protection from prosecution in the courts, can he protect pastors who will not marry gays from being threatened and abused for taking a stand?
How many church windows are going to be broken before this anomaly is addressed?
Nevertheless, the decision to exclude conventional churches drives a coach and horses through the idea conjured up by the classic chocolate-box wedding photo, and resets the photographic venue to a drizzly afternoon round the back of a Manchester shopping mall.
Gay Respect for Religion?
It also puts the pressure on gays to “come up with the goods” and actually WANT a religious ceremony. However, most of them seem to regard God and religion with an emotion usually reserved for venomous spiders crawling up their pyjamas.
There are a few “Gay Christian” groups, who would presumably want a religious ceremony; others who happen to attend a church out of custom or convention might want their wedding to be a part of that experience too. None of this is truly “christian” however, and gay christians have to get around the bible by saying it’s “not relevant in today’s society” or some such compromise.
Altogether the few who actually yearned for a wedding in a religious building must be few and far between, even outstripping the hetero couples who prefer not to make vows before a God in whom they do not believe.
Also, marriage itself is generally unpopular. Of those who do marry, religious ceremonies (of all kinds) accounted for fewer than half of all marriages in 2009 and the trend is ever downwards.
2009 statistics of marriages in England & Wales
- All marriages 232,443
- Civil marriages 155,950
- Religious marriages 76,493
Cohabitation is the growing trend
Cohabiting partners live together without any legal marriage agreement. In 2012, there were 5.9 million people cohabiting in the UK, DOUBLE the 1996 figure. (See the graph below)
Over the same period, the percentage of people aged 16 or over who were cohabiting steadily increased, from 6.5 per cent in 1996 to 11.7 per cent in 2012. This makes cohabitation the fastest growing family type in the UK. [Source]
Despite all this, the Government now decides to enshine gay marriage into the laws of this land, giving homosexuals what many heterosexuals either do not want nor make use of.
Is it Marriage?
Even so, what gays are getting is NOT “marriage” and let’s not kid ourselves that a different venue changes anything. Marriage (to quote the traditional service) is:
…an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
As the age-old words point out, the idea of a oneness, a bond or union between a man and a woman began in the Garden of Eden. As we know from Genesis, Adam was first created, then Eve was created out of Adam, so that she should be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.
Thus one entire “man” was separated into two parts. Those individual parts then feel incomplete without renewing their bond.
The very fact that man and woman could become one, join, be completed both emotionally and physically, and by virtue of the individual characteristics given by God to each one, procreate tells you all you need to know about marriage and the act of love.
Christ and His Bride
This is also why the bible likens marriage to the bond between Christ and his Bride the Church! [Ephesians 5:22-32]
All such unions result in NEW LIFE – and that life for a human man and woman is nurtured best in the loving faithful environment of marriage.
To call a gay union “marriage” is therefore a travesy and a lie. No other word could be used. The fact is, there is no possibility of union in the religious sense, nor procreation – nor indeed spiritual oneness – between two people of the same sex.
Yet supporters fall over one another to claim that gay union is primarily about “love”. Passing over the fact that “love” usually means “lust”, we consider this claim as voiced by two Members of Parliament:
YVETTE COOPER, Labour Equality Spokesperson
‘Call us hopeless romantics, call it the triumph of hope over experience – most of us think when people love each other and want to make that long-term commitment, that is a wonderful thing. So why would we stop a loving couple getting married just because they are gay?’
EMMA REYNOLDS, Labour MP Wolverhampton NE
‘The love that two men or two women feel for each other is equal to that felt by a heterosexual couple. Their love is no less significant and no less important.’
Love is not the Reason
This talk of romance and love sounds nice, but is it a legitimate argument for gay marriage – or any marriage?
Since when has “love” dictated our national policies? We might as well claim that a man who loves his sister or his daughter ought to be free to express that love without restraint. If love is the criterion, under-age girls and boys who fall in love should be allowed to marry. Legally they cannot.
Or even more bizarre, should the strange people who fall deeply in love with inanimate objects be offered legal marriage? They feel as much “love” as many married couples – perhaps more! [Source]
Lee Jin-gyu (pictured above with his bride) fell so head over heels with his dakimakura – a Japanese body pillow with an animated heroine printed on it – that he married his cushion-companion in a special ceremony.
If “love” sanctifies all, let us rejoice in adultery, consecrate promiscuity, legalise incest and even bestiality! You wince, but the argument is the same. Yet if we strive to protect ourselves and our children and our community from the damage caused by such things, surely we have already embraced the basic tenet of love – that no matter how insistent, no emotion or sexual drive can be allowed to overrule law and morality.
Church and State
Despite all this, we know that emotions and drives have been guiding mankind for millennia, and some countries HAVE shaped their legal system to suit. That is why believers and non-believers should be separate in their thinking.
We should also have been separate in our worship, but something went badly wrong with that concept back in the days of the early Church. Whatever persuaded believers to offer a “baptism ceremony” to everybody in the neighbourhood regardless of their beliefs? Surely baptism is the sole preserve of the genuinely saved and committed Christian?
Similarly, offering a marriage ceremony in a church building, with all the trappings of a religious service, and with a consecration to and in front of God, was bound to lead to disaster!
It’s the fault of the Established Church, really, for getting us all into this mess. We cannot now refuse the hiring out of the Vicar and church for a “wedding day service” whether the couple are believers or not.
Even if they despise and reject the very idea of God, they can still book up for the “full works” regardless – what a travesy WE Christians have made of our biblical faith!
But it’s too late now.
The fallout is, that homosexuals demand the same rights to a church service as any other group, and how can we say no, when we can allow a couple of goths or punks to waltz up the aisle. (Actually, wiccans have their own private ceremonies for marriage. I can’t blame them for staying true to their beliefs, even if I don’t agree with them.)
The British Attitude
As the polls above suggested, the attitude towards gay marriage with the ordinary man and woman in the street is “shrugs”. There have always been gays, and for decades we applauded them as Pantomime Dames, Comedians, Playwrights, Fashion Designers, Artists and Musicians as well as many other popular figures in our society.
We did practise toleration in this country, before being ordered to do so by the Government.
We have always “tolerated” eccentricity and sometimes almost prized it as a national characteristic, although at one time it was in the sense of “live and let live” and “we don’t discuss it”.We know people make perverse decisions based on their wants and needs. That’s life. We just object to it being made a big issue.
Oscar Wilde was famously imprisoned for his homosexual activities, but the public loved him then and still do. The laws under which he was tried were repealed in 1967. Since then gays have almost had everything their own way, without interference.
As long as “they” didn’t force it down our throats, we left them alone, and we expected the same courtesy from them in return. Yesterday in Parliament we discovered that, by law, we are now to have gay marriage forced upon us no matter what we think.
Willingly Following God
Speaking from a Christian perspective, we live in a world that daily presents us with moral challenges, and the choices we make are governed by the will of God and His commands – that is our freewill choice. However, we don’t force that on others.
Even if we know the damage that might ensue, or completely disapprove of certain behaviour, we as a Church do not set up laws to prevent it.
Why then, given that there is religious freedom in the UK, can others not keep their beliefs and practises to themselves, and leave the rest of us alone?
We as the Church are not rushing to Parliament to lobby for Godly standards, demanding biblical laws be applied across the board, threatening to harrass and arrest any who do not comply. Yes, we speak out; yes we object; yes we try to stand in the way of evil but at the end of the day, if we created a legal system that forced biblical behaviour on everyone regardless, that system would be little different to the enforced Sharia Law of Islam.
You can be as homosexual as you want to, without fear of arrest or censure!
Nobody, including God himself, will rush in to stop you making the worst mistake of your life, if that is your earnest desire and will. Why then push your will and your behaviour on an unwilling public in the name of an “equality” that WE can never hope to attain?
While YOU can be openly gay, I cannot be openly critical without being marched off the street in handcuffs. Does that seem right and fair to you? See This Page
A Militant Minority
The few vociferous gays who demanded ‘liberation, then public recognition, then protection, and then equal rights have been guided by an altogether different minority. Please see this page from which I quote:
Anarchism, libertarian socialism and LGBT rights
Main article: Anarcho-queer
Contemporaries of Marx and Engels, Michael Bakunin and Sergei Nechaev were influential anarchists and, some believe, gay lovers. They didn’t write about sexual liberation or speak publicly of any romance, but their passionate relationship is revealed in private letters.
In Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism, he passionately advocates for an egalitarian society where wealth is shared by all, while warning of the dangers of authoritarian socialism that would crush individuality. He later commented, “I think I am rather more than a Socialist. I am something of an Anarchist, I believe.”
Wilde’s left libertarian politics were shared by other figures who actively campaigned for homosexual emancipation in the late 19th century, John Henry Mackay and Edward Carpenter.
Free love and anarchy
In Europe and North America, the free love movement combined ideas revived from utopian socialism with anarchism and feminism to attack the “hypocritical” sexual morality of the Victorian era, and the institutions of marriage and the family that were seen to enslave women. Free lovers advocated voluntary sexual unions with no state interference and affirmed the right to sexual pleasure for both women and men, sometimes explicitly supporting the rights of homosexuals and prostitutes.
Thus we need to see gay rights and gay marriage as part of a wider project, intent on infiltrating education, media and all places of influence (including Parliament of course).
- Gay influence in the States
- Quotes on the Gay Marriage Vote
- Cameron humbled by Tory rebellion
- BBC Documentary first shown in 1991