Submission to Committee for the
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13
We are pleased to report that Voice for Justice UK’s submission to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13 has been accepted as evidence and circulated to all members of the Committee.
We reproduce a summary of our submission below. The full text can be found on the Parliamentary website at:
SUBMISSION BY VOICE FOR JUSTICE UK
TO THE PUBLIC BILLS COMMITTEE
RE: THE MARRIAGE (SAME SEX COUPLES) BILL (Bill 126)
1. Voice for Justice UKis a Christian campaigning group working to uphold traditional values of faith and morality; of freedom of speech without threat of fear or intimidation; and the freedom to manifest belief. We have particular experience of family and relationship problems, sexual abuse and exploitation, and right to life issues covering both the beginning and end of life.
2. We consider the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill (the “Bill”), insofar as it seeks to redefine the long-established institution of marriage, to be misconceived, discriminatory and likely to undermine the traditional form of marriage as demonstrably the best and most stable form of family unit in which to raise and nurture children. The Bill’s provisions give rise to the following areas of grave concern:
a) Their deleterious effect on the institution of marriage itself and on families
Marriage as “the voluntary union for life, of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others” (“man-woman marriage”) reflects the Biblical position and the position of the Church of England. Experience shows that man-woman marriage is the best and most stable way of raising children in a family unit.
Once you open the door to same-sex marriage, logically and intellectually you cannot long resist pressure to extend the benefits of marriage to other relationships, so as to permit polygamy, polyandry and polyamory, or even to requests to lower the age of consent for sexual relations. Any such extension is likely to lead to increased discord in homes and to a breakdown in society.
Equally, the Prime Minister’s test that two people (of the same sex) who can demonstrate “love and commitment” to each other should not be denied the legal status of being married would be satisfied in the case of a father and daughter, or a brother and sister, as well as in the case of parties to plural marriages who claimed such love and commitment.
The proposed legislation prioritises the wishes of a small minority adult class over the needs and best interests of children, who require both care and protection from behaviours and environments that might put them at risk.
We view the purpose of the Bill to be a Trojan Horse presented to our Government by elements of our society who seek to expand sexual freedom as far as possible without regard to the potentially disastrous effects which this will have on our society, our children and public order.
b) The creation of two classes of married couples with differing obligations
The Bill creates two classes of married couples with different obligations and incidents to their relationship giving rise to new, and entirely avoidable, inequalities between man-woman couples and same-sex couples.
A person in a man-woman couple will:
a) have a duty to consummate their marriage or face the possibility of annulment proceedings; and
b) risk divorce proceedings if they commit adultery with a person of the opposite sex,
whereas a person in a same-sex couple will not.
The children of same-sex couples are to be denied the benefit of the presumption of legitimacy enjoyed by the children of a man-woman couple.
c) The inevitable impact on the freedom of speech of those opposed to same sex marriage, including the impact on the education of our children and on their teachers
The introduction of the marriage of same sex couples will inevitably impinge on the rights of Christians and those of other faiths as well as people of conscience whose beliefs lead them to oppose same-sex marriage.
Given the Biblical position on marriage, it is likely that Christians will increasingly find themselves on the wrong side of the law when they express opposition to, or disapproval of, same-sex couples.
Teachers who are Christians may feel constrained by existing laws to teach children in their charge about the supposed acceptability and normality of same-sex couples when they find the lifestyle and practice of such couples to be in conflict with the Word of God and their Biblical beliefs. This will be a particular problem in non-faith schools, where Christian teachers may be forced to choose between their beliefs and their teaching careers.
d) The increased financial burden on the National Health Service (“NHS”)
As the number of same-sex couples grows, the number of requests for IVF treatment by such couples will rise disproportionately. Recently published research suggests that children born via IVF treatment are more prone to certain chronic conditions which require long-term medical care. This situation will lead to an increased financial burden and operational pressure on an already over-stretched NHS.
In the context of IVF treatment, given the anonymity of many donors and the expected rise in the number of same-sex couples undergoing IVF treatment, there is a real risk of near relations being donor or donee of eggs or sperm, giving rise to the possibility of genetic defects and inherited diseases becoming more widespread.
e) The likelihood of a successful legal challenge to the provisions designed to protect the position of the Church of England
Coalition for Marriagereport that they have obtained advice from Mr Aidan O’Neill QC to the effect that the Government could be in breach of the European human rights laws if it allows the Church of England to refuse same-sex weddings.
3. In summary, this Bill is a step on the road to rendering meaningless the institution of marriage, which is the bedrock of our society, and thus destroying it.