Same Sex Watershed

It's difficult to blog about contentious issues.

Yesterday, ministers cheered as it was announced that royal assent had been given to the Same Sex Marriage Bill, paving the way for the first same-sex weddings next spring.

The Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, gave her formal approval to the Bill. I am astonished at that fact alone. What does it say about our Monarch? It surely confirms the titular nature of her position? And that being the case, one has to wonder what the point is?

The divisive nature of the bill is reported by the Telegraph which tells us that its passing... 
...marks the end of the centuries-old understanding of marriage as being solely between a man and a woman in the UK.
The Roman Catholic Church described it as a “watershed” in English law and said that it marked a “profound social change”.
Ben Summerskill chief executive of Stonewall, said the move would “bring joy to tens of thousands of gay couples and their friends and families.”
A statement signed by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, respectively the president and vice-president of the Bishops’ Conference, said: 
“In receiving Royal Assent, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act marks a watershed in English law and heralds a profound social change. This fact is acknowledged by both advocates and opponents of the Act.
“Marriage has, over the centuries, been publicly recognised as a stable institution which establishes a legal framework for the committed relationship between a man and a woman and for the upbringing and care of their children. It has, for this reason, rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection. 
“The new Act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity. With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central. That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle. 
“Along with others, we have expressed real concern about the deficiencies in the process by which this legislation came to Parliament, and the speed with which it has been rushed through. We are grateful particularly therefore to those Parliamentarians in both Houses who have sought to improve the Bill during its passage, so that it enshrines more effective protection for religious freedom. [I can't see this 'protection' being at all effective]
“A particular concern for us has also been the lack of effective protection for Churches which decide not to opt-in to conducting same sex marriages. Amendments made in the House of Lords though have significantly strengthened the legal protections in the Act for the Churches. We also welcome the Government’s amendment to the Public Order Act which makes it clear beyond doubt that “discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to the marriage shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred”. Individuals are therefore protected from criminal sanction under the Public Order Act when discussing or expressing disagreement with same sex marriage. [But schools will have to teach that 'marriage' can be between two men or two women, whether we like it or not, a battle is coming that may well result in the loss of our Catholic Secondary schools, perhaps within two years?]
“In other respects, however, the amendments we suggested have not been accepted. We were concerned to provide legislative clarity for schools with a religious character. This was in order to ensure that these schools will be able to continue to teach in accordance with their religious tenets. Given the potential risk that future guidance given by a Secretary of State for education regarding sex and relationships education could now conflict with Church teaching on marriage, we were disappointed that an amendment to provide this clarity was not accepted.
“The Minister made clear in the House of Lords, however, that in ‘having regard’ to such guidance now or in the future schools with a religious character can ‘take into account other matters, including in particular relevant religious tenets’, and that ‘having regard to a provision does not mean that it must be followed assiduously should there be good reason for not doing so’. These assurances go some way to meeting the concerns we and others expressed. [This seems to suggest that ministers are saying, with a little jiggery-pokery, Catholic Schools can get round the issue, mostly by relativising their teaching to a some people think, others think, the Church teaches, kind of method.]
“We were disappointed that a number of other amendments to safeguard freedom of speech and the rights of civil registrars to conscientious objection were not passed. But Ministerial assurances have been made that no one can suffer detriment or unfavourable treatment in employment because she or he holds the belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
“The legal and political traditions of this country are founded on a firm conviction concerning the rights of people to hold and express their beliefs and views, at the same time as respecting those who differ from them. It is important, at this moment in which deeply held and irreconcilable views of marriage have been contested, to affirm and strengthen this tradition.” [emphasis mine].
Over at CCFather's blog, Ben makes some very valid points about what this means for society.
  1. It is a further step towards the complete erosion of what our society understands as family and the role of marriage in that understanding.
  2. There appears to be a poorly disguised political agenda behind the Act. This seems to involve some sort of attempt to detoxify the Tory brand.
  3. The whole process was intrinsically dishonest, purporting to be about equality, however in reality, the Act delivers nothing of the sort: homosexual 'marriage' is (necessarily) treated differently in law from marriage.
Ben goes on to consider some very plausible outcomes society may well face as a result of this Act.

Fundamentally, to me, it seems that the SSM Act is about the utilitisation of sexuality. Society has now completely divorced the sex-act from procreation. It is now about fun and fulfilment, so-called equality and being nice. Societies have been here before in history, and it has led us down dark roads.

The context I see it in (leaving aside for the moment the consequences for our children and society, which I am deeply uncomfortable with) is the same process of relativisation we have seen in action with regard to divorce, adultery, fornication. These are all things that go on, but I try to avoid them. That is my moral and social right. I tolerate, even love those who embrace these choices, but I do not accept them as being morally licit. That choice is mine to make.

Over the last few weeks and months, I have seen a shocking parallel drawn by some politicians to racism. This is an unacceptable logical fallacy which I find quite disturbing and very racially insulting. We cannot say that someone with a sexual proclivity which society still (currently, at least) sees as unacceptable, is born that way and therefore must be allowed the freedom to act out said desire. Our humanity and the success of society depends on our ability to consider our libido in a context of respect and dignity. We all have choices, and heterosexual people as well as people with homosexual tendencies need to consider their choice to live a moral life for themselves. My choice to live according to the moral code taught by my Church is my choice. I will tolerate those who make different choices, in love, and with compassion for everyone's personal circumstances, but you cannot force me to accept those choices. Can you see where I am going with this? Ben explains it this way in his post:
I see two equal and opposite dangers which society now faces.
On the one hand, many people clearly believe the propaganda (and thus, inadvertently perhaps, swallow the accompanying philosophy) about 'equal marriage.' That will increase the likelihood of more people getting sucked into the gay lifestyle. It will erode a correct understanding of marriage, and therefore anybody's chances of being able to contract one. It will further weaken family life and result in a higher number of damaged children and dysfunctional relationships. It will encourage some to push further for 'liberal' reforms to the laws that are designed to protect the vulnerable: reduction in the age of consent, de-stigmatisation of other types of irregular relationship, including polyamorous and incestuous, and so on. It will also encourage those who wish to impose approval to take further steps against those who hold to a traditional understanding of marriage. We will very shortly see Churches being prosecuted for not allowing people to hire Church Halls for 'Gay Weddings' and so on, in an attempt to suppress all opposition.
On the other hand, I think there is another danger, and one which perhaps people like me need to pay most heed to. That is that at some stage, in the face of all this, normal people will revolt, suddenly, viscerally and potentially violently against the fundamental lies and depravity, and homosexuals will again be viciously persecuted. That is why I think anyone who overstates the case against the gay political agenda is profoundly misguided.
This topic is so tough and I know that anyone who is gay and in a loving relationship will likely be very hurt by this post...That makes me feel very sad, it is not my intention to deny anyone anything or to marginalise or stigmatise anyone.

Please do not make the mistake of considering that I am saying that two men, or two women can not love each other. I am not. Nor am I saying that such love has no value, it has. But for love to be real, in must involve a selfless care for the well-being of the object of love. It requires respect and dignity. If you are in a same-sex relationship, it can be those things too. But it also requires a realism that in honesty would recognise that such a relationship, between two people of the same sex, is a different kind of relationship to the naturally generative one between a man and a women.


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