Laughably our authors point to Canada as an example of same-sex marriage legislation’s success. Polygamists have sought to exploit same-sex marriage legislation on the grounds that it unjustly discriminates against them, there being no logical way of insisting on monogamy after reducing marriage to mere contractual cohabitation where there is no internal reason for lifelong cohabitation, let alone cohabitation between two people only.
Conservatism, if it means anything, means helping to ensure that the social order respects the moral order, which is universal and absolute and is the rock on which all talk of human rights is ultimately grounded. To allow civil marriage to be redefined in this way is to fail to recognize a natural and pre-political reality, which is the fundamental group unit of society and the common good. The hubris involved in this proposal is as momentous as that which would be involved in redefining ourselves as human beings.
The trouble is, this revolutionary move will harm our society’s most vulnerable members. It will make the breakdown or avoidance of marriage more likely by refusing to see the binding nature of marriage that can turn a person into a parent as opposed to a mere sperm or egg donor.
To those conservatives who wish to retreat to their churches and give up on civil marriage law, don”t think you can neglect it and stay safe in your churches. Aidan O”Neill QC, a leading authority on EU law, rightly warns us of what he believes will be the legislation’s devastating legal consequences. To those in doubt, look at what is happening in schools in Massachusetts or to the national Church in Denmark with regard to obliging bishops to accommodate same-sex marriages”something O”Neill thinks may be a consequence of our own proposed legislation. Already a registrar has lost her job for refusing to officiate at same-sex civil partnerships. Another man was demoted and”even after a tribunal found in his favor”impoverished merely for expressing mild opposition to same-sex marriages taking place in churches. It is the habit of governments to make guarantees that they have no right to make.
Supporters of same sex-marriage have lied again and again in attempts to reassure us, from the passage of the Civil Partnership Act all the way through to the Equal Marriage Consultation and Church weddings. Our views are sought via a public consultation whose outcome is preempted by a breezy government resolve to simply go ahead and do it anyway. Boris Johnson, hardly a great respecter of marriage, has said of the legislation that he wants to “whack it through” and then “we” can talk “about the real conservative things we want to do.”
Let us not be intimidated by those who seem to lack any gratitude for, or grasp of, a great communal blessing, but state the truth calmly and in so doing, give witness to that greatest of natural blessings”marriage. In so doing, we stand for true spousal love, and in solidarity with the most vulnerable human beings.
Anthony McCarthy can be contacted at [email protected].
Image of wedding bands courtesy of Shutterstock