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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Melanie Phillips’s Articles » Making a mockery of marriage

Making a mockery of marriage
Daily Mail, 14 February 2011

On countless occasions, David Cameron has declared that he is a tremendous fan of the institution of marriage. So big a fan, it now becomes clear, that he generously intends to bestow its status and privileges far beyond what most people consider marriage actually to be.
Time and again, the Tory leader has used his promise to strengthen marriage so as to reassure people that he was fully committed to defending this core value of conservatism.
Now, however, it is becoming all too plain that he is signing up instead to the wilder extremes of political correctness.
Indeed, he is planning to go further than even New Labour dared to tread. Eat your heart out Harriet Harman, patron saint of equality!
For it was revealed yesterday that ministers are planning to change the law to allow homosexual couples to ‘marry’ in religious ceremonies, including in church.
Gay partnership ceremonies in other venues will also be allowed for the first time to contain a religious element, such as hymns or readings from the Bible. These unions will then be called ‘marriage’.
For sure, this change doesn’t force religious institutions to introduce such ceremonies; whether they do so is up to them.
But the Government’s position is anything but neutral. For it implicitly endorses the idea that there is nothing wrong with overturning centuries of Biblical understanding of the sacrament of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
As such, the Government will be cutting the ground from under the feet of religious traditionalists. And what if churches
refuse to conduct such a travesty of a marriage ceremony? Presumably, they would then risk being sued for ‘discrimination’.
Truly, we are fast reaching the stage where upholding Biblical sexual standards will become the morality that dare not speak its name.
Once again, we have to wonder at the way in which a politically motivated faction within a tiny minority of the population — for many gay people do not approve of this ideological gay rights agenda — is now running public policy.
When I argued here a few weeks ago that this agenda was all about destroying moral and sexual norms, I provoked a storm of protest. But once again, we can see that this is all too true. For Cameron’s latest idea proposes to make a mockery of marriage.
Gay rights supporters contend that there can be no justifiable objection to extending the status of marriage to those who are not heterosexual. Gay or straight — what does it matter, as long as two people are committed to each other?
But those who make this argument merely reveal they have no idea of the significance of marriage. They seem to think it’s just another contractual arrangement involving a binding (or not so binding) commitment — like buying a house or a car.
But the truth is that marriage is a unique institution because it involves the process by which humanity reproduces itself — which is only through the union of male and female.
The fact that some married couples are childless is irrelevant. The sole reason marriage has universal value is that it is vital for the healthy nurture of the next generation. This is because children need to be brought up by the two people who created them.
Activists argue that gay people should be able to get married because everyone is entitled to the same status. But why should this be the case if their sexual circumstances are different?
If the status of marriage is extended to other relationships — and that includes giving marriage rights to heterosexual cohabitants, as England’s most senior family judge, Sir Nicholas Wall, recently so unwisely recommended — the institution will be undermined.
If still in doubt, try this thought experiment. Imagine the Government was planning to recognise polygamy and polyandry (marriage with more than one woman or man), or marriage between ‘zoophiles’ (people who have ‘loving and committed relationships with mammals’, or bestiality to you and me) and their, er, partners.
If you think this is merely grotesque satire, you would be sadly out of date. There are now campaigns in North America to recognise the ‘equal rights’ of such people and end ‘discrimination’ against them.
If ‘marriage’ were extended to such groups, people would rightly conclude the institution was being turned into a meaningless joke. Yet the argument — that people with different sexual lifestyles must be treated identically — is exactly the same. (And no, before the hate mail starts, I’m not suggesting gays are on a moral par with zoophiles.)
But, of course, to question any of this is to run the gauntlet of bullying, threats and victimisation.
In a still-deepening scandal, a Christian GP, Hans-Christian Raabe, was sacked from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. His crime? To have co-authored a document which claimed that 25 per cent of paedophiles were homosexual.
It was bad enough that Dr Raabe was bundled off the Advisory Council because he was demonised for views which bore no relation whatever to his ability as a drug policy-maker.
But now we learn the astounding fact that the very same Home Office that sacked him had itself published data saying precisely the same thing.
In a report it published in 1998, it had referred to research which ‘suggested reasonably that approximately 20 to 33 per cent of child sexual abuse is homosexual in nature’.
So this GP, whose views on combating drug abuse would have provided a much needed antidote to the destructive legalisation lobby on this most compromised of advisory bodies, was sacked by the Home Office for reporting facts which the Home Office itself had reported as reasonable.
Did Home Office Minister Jim Brokenshire know this when he terminated Dr Raabe’s appointment on the basis that his ‘controversial’ paper had caused ‘embarrassment’ to the department? Did he care what the facts actually were — or is Mr Brokenshire so petrified of the gay lobby that he blindly capitulates to its demands?
This is a truly terrifying totalitarian mindset from which the country cries out for deliverance. Yet, far from defending people against such bullying and seeing off the cultural subversives who are voiding morality of all meaning, Mr Cameron is going even further down this road.
Pinch yourself — a Conservative Prime Minister effectively endorsing the idea that upholding Biblical morality and the bedrock values of Western civilisation is bigotry.
He may be a Conservative, but he is no conservative. True conservatives seek to conserve what is most precious in a society and defend it against those who would destroy it.
Mr Cameron will apparently declare today that his programme is a moral one. Is this his idea of morality — to erode society’s core values?
The so-called ‘culture war’ now raging between those determined to destroy Western moral codes and those struggling to defend them is simply the most urgent domestic issue we face.
Despite the heroic efforts of Iain Duncan Smith to restore the importance of marriage to social policy, Mr Cameron has shown that in this war he himself is simply on the wrong side.
The most important thing is not whether we have a Big Society. It is rather that if we continue down this path there will be no society worth the name. Instead, those cultural ‘lifestyle choice’ bullies will stamp their boots ever more brutally on the faces of everyone else in a pitiless war of all against all.

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