Freelance Journalist Marcus Stead

Why ‘Gay Marriage’ Legislation Has Unintended Consequences For Society

with one comment

THOSE WHO support the proposals to legalise gay ‘marriage’ usually do so out of a desire to be kind to homosexuals, rather than because they have read the legislation and reached that conclusion.

Few have thought through the legal and social implications of redefining an institution that has existed in its current formfor between 5,000-10,000 years.

Like so much of the Coalition Government’s legislation, it’s extremely clumsy and badly worded. It was drawn up on a whim, and was not subject to detailed scrutiny within Cabinet or by cabinet committees. It doesn’t seem to know what exactly it is trying to do or why it is trying to do it. The legislation is so flawed that the former Labour David_Blunkett_-8April2010Home Secretary, David Blunkett (hardly someone who could be called a ‘homophobe’ or a ‘bigot’), described it as a ‘ complete dog’s dinner’.

Careful scrutiny of all proposed legislation and its wording is essential, because without it, it can all too easily lead to unintended consequences.

Let me be clear: I am not anti-homosexual by any means. I have no interest in intervening in the private lives of consenting adults. I believe gay couples should have next-of-kin rights in hospitals, and I believe ALL inheritance tax is fundamentally immoral. On that basis, I believe that one gay person should be able to hand his or her inheritance on to their partner without taxation. I believe homosexuals should be treated fairly and without discrimination in the workplace. I believe that physical or verbal abuse of homosexuals should be vigorously punished by the courts.

Yet this legislation, however well-intentioned, could lead to a number of unintended consequences for society as a whole. It leaves some very serious questions which have not yet been answered:

1. How is adultery defined in same-sex marriage?

Adultery is one of the key grounds for divorce in heterosexual marriage. Government lawyers recently admitted they could not agree on what constitutes sexual intercourse in same-sex relationships. I don’t want to get too graphic on here, but it seems to me it’s especially hard to define between two women. It is also fairly easy to work out why many gay men may choose to abstain from anal intercourse on the grounds of safety, health and hygiene.

Therefore, in a gay ‘marriage’, a man can claim divorce on the grounds of adultery if he has sex with a woman, but not if he does so with another man. Similarly, a woman can claim adultery if her ‘wife’ has sex with a man, but not with another woman. This may well lead to adultery being removed as a ground for divorce altogether, which would cause a fundamental redefinition of marriage.

2. How will consummation be defined?

In a heterosexual marriage, failure to consummate is a ground for an annulment. Since a  definition of what constitutes sexual intercourse in a homosexual relationship cannot be agreed upon, where does this leave the requirement to consummate?


3.   Will the rights of religious groups REALLY be protected?

Mr Cameron assures us that no religious institution will be forced to marry homosexual couples if it has a moral objection to it, but is this really true?

Certain gay rights groups have made no secret of the fact they plan to test this under the Human Rights Act, which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into our legal system. Let’s not forget that this is the same ‘Human Rights Act’ that presents our government from deporting Islamic terrorists, forces the State to pay benefits to convicted criminals, and has ruled that we must give prisoners the vote in Parliamentary elections (in the long run). It is quite possible religious and moral objections to ‘gay marriage’ will not be seen as acceptable grounds to deny ceremonies on religious premises under the Act.

Therefore, this will leave churches, mosques, synagogues and all other religious places of worship no choice but to stop offering wedding ceremonies altogether.

In a free society, it is quite right that the rules for voluntary religious groups, and groups of conscience are free from Parliamentary and judicial interference. Rules for the Roman Catholic Church are made by the Holy See, and the Anglican Church by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the General Synod.

4.  Parliamentary legislation

How many pieces of Parliamentary legislation include the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’? These will now all have to be redefined. There are certainly many hundreds. Has anybody bothered counting?

5.  Lack of mandate

Three days before the 2010 General Election, during an interview with Sky News’s Political Editor, Adam Boulton, Mr Cameron said that he had ‘no plans’ to introduce gay marriage. It was not in the Conservative or Lib Dem manifestos, nor was it in the Coalition agreement.

Outside the fashionable parts of London in which those close to government operate, there is a great deal of opposition to this.

Britain has a rapidly growing Muslim population. In 1991, there were 950,000 Muslims living in Britain. By 2010, this had risen to 2,869,000, more than trebling the Muslim population. It is very likely that Britain will be an Islamic society within 60 or 70 years, even if mass immigration ends. Muslims tend to be younger and have larger families than the non-Muslim population. All that is required is a basic understanding of mathematics to understand how this is going to happen.

A Gallup poll surveyed 1,001 British Muslims in 2009 and showed that NOT ONE of them thought that homosexual acts were morally acceptable. Other polls have shown that a significant number of young British Muslims believe that the death penalty should be enforced for homosexuals. Therefore, it’s safe to say that demand for ‘gay marriage’ among the Islamic community is very low indeed.

Furthermore, the majority of mainstream Christians are opposed to homosexual acts, especially in Northern Ireland and Presbyterian Scotland. Immigration from Eastern Europe during the last decade has seen a surge in the number of practising Roman Catholics in Britain, with many formerly struggling churches now having healthy numbers in attendance. The Roman Catholic Church has made it clear on numerous occasions that it firmly believes that a marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

Similar objections can be found among many in the Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu communities. The government has NO MANDATE for this legislation.

6.   An unwise use of Parliamentary time

Let us be clear: ‘Civil Partnerships’ have been legal in Britain since December 2005 – more than seven years ago. There are just 100,000 people, in ‘civil partnerships’ today. That’s about 0.2% of the population. Most homosexuals have no intention of making a formal, legal, lifelong commitment to a single partner.

Therefore, would it not be wiser to use Parliamentary time on more pressing matters, such as Britian’s relationship with the European Union, the ongoing economic crisis, controlling immigrations, repealing the Human Rights Act, and dealing with our looming energy crisis?

However nice gay marriage may or may not sound in theory, these six key points give us all serious cause for concern with regards to the unintended consequences of the legislation. It may well be that some of these points are addressed when the Bill reaches the House of Lords, a mature, calm and thoughtful institution. It contrasts sharply with the Commons, which consists largely of career politicians who vote for whatever legislation will most likely enhance their own climb up the greasy poll to the Front Bench.

European policy, ensuring overseas aid is wisely spent, and military intervention in foreign conflicts are all areas where this Coalition Government has failed to develop, scrutinise and manage policy in a businesslike and professional way. We can now add ‘gay marriage’ to that list, and it will have unintended consequences for society as a whole.


Written by Marcus Stead

February 6, 2013 at 2:19 am

Posted in Comment, Law, Opinion, Politics

One Response

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  1. Marcus, it’s a little concerning that you should use as one of your arguments against Same Sex Marriage (SSM) the ‘lack of mandate’ from muslims. There is also a specific and clear contradiction with your use of this argument and your previous point about your claimed opposition to “physical or verbal abuse of homosexuals” given that religions in general – and islam in particular – have often expressed violent views against homosexuals (as they did, in fact, when His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI visited the UK, and muslim groups uttered death threats against him without the lightest intervention by the Police – itself as telling as it was chilling, and to a visiting head of state as the pope was).

    This can also be seen from the recent stories about muslim groups in areas of London. Given that these online videos also included examples of thee groups targetting women and people drinking alcohol in the street – all perfectly legally going about their lawful business before being abused and assaulted – I am surprised that you are willing to defend such behaviour where you feel it serves your own aims. For you, your male friends who like a drink during or after a game of sport, your wives and girlfriends and so on, I should have thought that you would be strongly opposed to having your – and their – rights and democracy threatened in such a way.

    There is also a major misunderstanding – whether deliberate or unintentional – in your interpretation as to why many gay men (of which I am one) did not support SSM.

    The simple reason is that many gay men took the view that Civil Partnerships gave sufficient legal basis to same-sex relationships (and where many remember all too well how bad things used to be) that SSM was not deemed to be necessary. It was – and remains – unclear as to if and what additional benefits SSM actually gave.

    Your point on sex is equally misguided, as well as hugely selective against gay men whist ignoring the parallels with heterosexuals. While many gay men, for example, do not engage in penetrative sex, the same is true of many heterosexuals who claim low sex-drives, dislike the acts themselves, or simply have times when they are more or less inclined towards sexual acts.

    Your figures about the numbers of Civil Partnerships, while factually correct, are also disingenuous to the extent that you ignore the massive – and increasing – numbers of heterosexuals who choose not to even bother with marriage, let alone the significant divorce rate,numbers of heterosexual single-parent families and children from ‘broken’ homes, as well as the numbers of married heterosexuals (men AND women!) engaging in extra-marital affairs. If we are considering wider social impact, children have far less to worry about from alleged ‘predatory’ gay men or the increasing acceptance and ‘normalisation’ of homosexuality and gay relationships than they do from the constant and massive sexualisation of children my the mainstream Press and media (including online) not to say the constant stream of stories about both men AND women who seem to consider that sex with underage boys and girls is somehow more acceptable. That said, society should examine the often much lighter sentences given to women engaging in sex with young or underage boys where men get generally harsher treatment for the same (or less extreme) offences when committed by women – clearly sexual discrimination in its most pure form.

    The key message is that heterosexuals – far from being some grand ‘exemplar’ model of fidelity and strong, stable, monogamous relationships – heterosexuals are in fact as bad (if not worse) than gay men who, for centuries, were clearly denied both the socio-cultural but also legal ability even to form legally-recognised, ‘valid’ and accepted relationships.

    That UK society – until as recently as the 1950s and 60s – imprisoned and engaged in e.g. electro-shock on gay men caught engaging in same-sex activities of any form is the best evidence of how British society actively ghetto-ised gay men and created the environment in which homosexuality became an underground, furtive, life based around fleeting, individualised and largely sexual encounters.

    To be clear I – like the majority of gay men I know – did not and do not support the SSM bill and for the reasons I state above.

    I would caution against the convenient use of one group’s shared (by you) opposition to a particular circumstance or event and where this same group also, in the wider sense, forms an equally significant threat – whether socially, culturally or otherwise – to you and yours.

    You would perhaps do well to remember the words of Pastor Niemoller:

    While I do not take issue with your views on SSM, I would simply ask that you consider your manner of defence, and particularly your willingness to form alliances with those who would not be your own greatest friend, a little more.

    By writing as you have above, you appear to undermine your own claims to be sympathetc let alone supportive in other aspects towards homosexuals, and in a rather unfortunate way. It’s a rather disappointing piece overall and for these reasons.

    In summary, your view above seems to be that you would rather see the UK become an islamic society rather than let gay men have the freedom to go about their lives and form loving relationships. I don’t think that IS your view, but as a journalist you may wish to re-examine how you have phrased your views above.


    March 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

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