From the Coalition for Marriage. Public Consultation.

The Prime Minister David Cameron wants to redefine marriage, even though he failed to mention it in his party manifesto when asking for people’s votes. He also failed to mention it when he joined with Nick Clegg to produce the Coalition Programme for Government.

Now the Government is running a so-called “public consultation” on redefining marriage – but they have said they will press ahead regardless of the outcome. That’s not much of a “consultation”.

We don’t believe the Government really means it. They can’t seriously ignore tens of thousands of responses against their plans. So, we will be urging our supporters to respond to the consultation in due course. Watch out for information about that.

We know that the Government has been knocked back by the size of the petition against redefining marriage. You, and the other 450,000 people who have signed it, have already had an impact at Downing Street.

We need to keep the pressure on. Please e-mail your local MPand say you are astonished that such monumental social change is being pushed through when it wasn’t even a Conservative manifesto pledge.

If you voted for your MP at the last election, say so.

If the Conservative Party’s position on redefining marriage would affect your vote at future elections, say so. But if your MP has spoken out against gay marriage then you might prefer to thank them.

If you think David Cameron is out of touch with ordinary people’s support for traditional marriage, say so.

If you think the Conservative-led Coalition is ignoring voters, say so.

Say that marriage is being redefined over the heads of married people.

Say that the Conservative Party has no mandate to redefine marriage.

Remember to be polite and brief, but also clear and firm.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Hart

Colin Hart
Campaign Director
Coalition for Marriage

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About Gertrude

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. and the courage to change the things I can... On Twitter: @marion_luscombe
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18 Responses to From the Coalition for Marriage. Public Consultation.

  1. toadspittle says:

    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/14/gay-marriage-government-public-consultation

    I see no mention here of the Government being determined to push ahead regardless of the outcome of the “Public consultation”. But naturally, I’ll take Gertrude’s word for it.
    However, it begs the question, “Why is Cameron so dead set on pushing this measure through?”
    I suspect that he must believe that it will be more of a vote-getter than a vote-loser.

    The whole fiasco would seem an excellent case for a referendum, and/or a non-party vote.
    If either majority is in favour of “Gay marriage” well, that’s that.
    Democracy.
    That’s what the Holy Cath/Mus Alliance should be pressing for.

    If not, let’s all shrug our shoulders, leave marriage to the “normal” people, and get on with something more important. Which is just about anything.

    Thinks Toad.(Who couldn’t care very much, either way.)

  2. Gertrude says:

    On the contrary Toad. Cameron will push ahead because he has to please Nick Clegg and the Liberals to maintain the Coalition and therefore his place as Prime Minister.

    As they say, power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely! :-(

  3. 5thmariandogma says:

    I am not being anti-semetic, but Cameroon comes from a long line of Banker Jews[Editor's note - yes, you are being anti-Semitic. Cameron isn't doing this because his great, great, great grandfather was both Jewish and a banker. The Church's real opponents here are the liberal elite who infest the media and the political parties, we don't need to invoke a shadowy cabal of bankers and Freemasons, our opponents are in plain view. Comments about "banker Jews" have no place in this conversation.], he is not conservative, he is conspiring to bring down the family, church, private property, these are their Masonic goals. Look at the butcherie he carried out in Libya, the country was the most prosperous in Africa, with free housing, healthcare, and their own bank, now their whole country and culture is destroyed. The Bankers have open them up, and captured their oil, and who did they put in charge but Al-Queda(Al-CIA-DA).

  4. toadspittle says:

    .

    Putting the Jews and Masons gently on one side (They won’t go away, will they! Franco knew how to deal wth ‘em!) I must then ask Gertrude, or anyone else knowledgable, why Clegg and the LibDems are pushing the gay marriage agenda in such an apparently ruthless fashion.
    Ideology?
    Could be. I simply don’t know.

    The whole miserable little mini-drama seems to be snowballing into gargantuan and hideous proportions. “Incalculable consequences!” howls Kathleen, clutching her head. And all because Elton John wants to marry his boyfriend.
    It strikes me that we all still owe Elton a debt of gratitude for introducing a splendid, and sorely-needed, note of farce into Diana’s funeral. If this is how we can repay him – well, tip-top. Thinks Toad

    (I somehow doubt if Cameron possesses “absolute power.)

  5. Shupiwe says:

    I (a female) am currently engaged to my partner (a male) – although we are not planning a religious marriage ceremony, we are going to be planning a ‘marriage’ ceremony of some kind. My sister and her partner (a female) recently came to visit us and we started discussing the countries where same-sex marriage is currently legally recognised. To my surprise and utter dissapointment, there were only 10 countries in the whole world on this list and the UK is not one of them (correct me if I am wrong). I have recently looked into the UK governments same-sex marriage views and was pleased to read that Nick Clegg thought that ” although civil partnerships have been a step forward, until same sex marriage is permitted it is impossible to claim gay and straight couples are treated equally.”

    My sister and her partner are now engaged and as we are living in a ‘democratic society’ where the human rights act (1998) states that ‘[one of] your human rights [is]‘ ‘the right to marry and to start a family’ (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Yourrightsandresponsibilities/Findoutaboutyourrights/DG_4002951), I was wondering when my sister and her same-sex partner will have the same ‘human rights’ as myself and my opposite-sex partner in regards to marriage?

    I still find it surprising and am saddened by the thought that in 2012, this most basic human right for same-sex couples is being violated. Given your position on marriage, I was wondering where you sit on other human rights? Do you for example, feel that the right to Nationality is applicable only to specific groups? Do you think it is just that the right to a fair trial should be limited only to a certain group, say heterosexuals?

  6. toadspittle says:

    .
    Boy, are you asking for a mouthful, Shupiwe! (Lovely name,by the way – is it Polish, or perhaps, Indigenous North American?) If you are willing to take an old toad’s advice (no of course not, why should you?) It’s better on CP&S to try to see the lighter side on this topic.

    Otherwise there will just be a lot of “traditional” moaning, and keening, and head-holding, and stufffing of handkerchiefs into mouths.
    And all for nothing.

    And don’t mention Obama.

  7. Annonymous says:

    Thank you Toadspittle for the advice! I will take it – to be honest I am struggling with some human rights issues at the moment and stumbled across here. I should not have posted on here really as it is unrelated to what I am really seeking out for. (I have to admit I really liked your reply. Often in debates like this I get some pretty unrepeatable abuse and insults – so your email was so polite it was a pleasure and reminded me why I love being British!)

    My conundrum though, (in case anyone is interested – and no worries if you feel the need to moan etc! I have a tough skin!) is:

    a) The UN Universal declaration of human rights states that marriage is a human right for every man and woman
    b) Thus for people in same sex relationships, marriage is a human right too (or else this is not by definition a human right)
    c) The UN declaration is ratified by the UK government
    d) But the UN declaration is not legally binding but;
    e) The Human Rights Act (1998) states that the UK government and all public authorities are legally obliged to respect and protect the human rights of anyone in the UK.
    f) As marriage is a human right, if an MP signs a petition for example saying that they are against same sex marriage – are they breaking the above act?

    I think there must be some legal argument that states that the right to marriage is applicable as determined by how states define it etc which then creates the possibility of MPs not applying this right to same sex couples. But I am not a human rights lawyer so I am slightly baffled by it all!

    Thanks again Toadspittle,

    Cheers, Shupiwe

    Ps My name is from Zambia

  8. kathleen says:

    Shupiwe,
    I certainly do not intend to ‘insult’ or ‘abuse’ you in any way…… nor will I ‘moan’ or ‘keen’ etc, as our rascally Toad insinuates! We live in an open society where all sorts of thinking and views are aired with total liberty. However my views on marriage under any form as a ‘human right‘ differ from yours. Teresa has given you an explanation on the limits on what we call ‘rights’.

    I presume you are not a Catholic, correct? Perhaps you are not even a Christian, so there is probably no way you could see the argument from that viewpoint. However I will give you the information, if you are interested, on how Catholics view holy Matrimony. First and foremost it is a sacrament (a religious ceremony of the Church, an outward sign of inward and spiritual divine grace) between one man and one woman that has been in existence since the dawn of mankind.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
    1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”

    I. MARRIAGE IN GOD’S PLAN

    1602 Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.” Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its “mystery,” its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal “in the Lord” in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church.

    1603 “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage.” The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. “The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.”

    As you can see, a union of two people of the same sex is contrary to Divine Law and the whole meaning and essence of Christian marriage.

  9. Annonymous says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    I hope as well that I am not insulting anyone or moaning on this message forum board. That is not my intention. I really do enjoy discussing this issue from different points of views. And I think it can be done in a way where no one is offended. I don’t think that the point of the discussion should be persuasion either, perhaps optimistically I would hope there was some understanding that came out of it, but I would say realistically it is very useful to hear the “other side”. Does that make any sense? I agree with Teresa in that this issue is often discussed emotively and without any intellectual merit.

    But thanks again for your politeness – it is refreshing and I am enjoying this discussion immensely!

    So to answer you, I was brought up as an Anglican so no I am not Catholic. I am now an Atheist but I do have a respect for religion and other people’s faith (not simply because it is a human right.)

    Thank you for the description of what marriage means from a Catholic perspective. I don’t have the theological expertise to enter into a debate on the nature of marriage in religion and whether or not it is static. But I do understand that it must put you in a difficult position as if I was Catholic and that is what I believed in then I too perhaps would be against gay marriage. I think though that if I was a Catholic and my sister approached me about getting married although it would be hard, I would accept that and I would accept gay marriage as I still think that my sister should have the right to marry her partner (a consenting adult) just as I do. Maybe I am wrong, I don’t know, it is just that seeing two women in love the way my sister and her partner are seems to me to be what life is about.

    Kathleen – May I ask you a question? How do you feel about the fact that society on the whole seems to be moving towards accepting gay marriage?

    And with regards to the limits of rights that Teresa pointed out, in my first comment I am not positing that rights should be limitless. Of course the right to marry is limited to the state definition of marriage. This is the point I am making. The right to equal marriage is not a request to allow that definition to be limitless, it is a request to allow that right to be equal. My sister is Gay, and she will never marry a man. Therefore the state definition denies her the right to marry. My defining marriage as limiting than are states not respecting human rights? Does it not imply that this human right is only applicable to heterosexuals? This is the limitation that I was referring too that is confusing me.

    I am looking elsewhere for help with some of these questions! But thanks again for all on here. And again thank you all for your politeness and your respectful discussion.

    Cheers, Shupiwe

    Ps see Toadspittle I did not mention Obama once!

  10. kathleen says:

    Hi Shupiwe,
    No, you are certainly not insulting anyone…. nor are you moaning :-). In fact you put your case for ‘gay marriage’ in a very precise calm way, for which I thank you. Naturally, as a Catholic, I do not share your views; for ‘marriage‘ as the Church teaches can only be between two consenting adults of the opposite sex. Anything else, call it whatever one wants to call it, cannot be a ‘marriage’ in God’s plan for mankind.

    Actually, Teresa’s comment on the meaning of ‘human rights’ was deleted later, but from your words I can presume that you read it beforehand.

    I am saddened to hear about your sister’s case, and I’m sure from what you say that she is a loving and sensitive person. No one (least of all me) has the right to sit in judgement and condemn her, but please understand that neither could I condone sexual behaviour that deviates from Catholic teaching.

    Kathleen – May I ask you a question? How do you feel about the fact that society on the whole seems to be moving towards accepting gay marriage?”

    Well, it is very difficult to separate politics and religion – because they are so often intertwined – but this is one example where this should be done. In the same way that people of no religious Faith feel that Christians should not impose their ideas and beliefs on them, we could also respond that politicians have no right to force us to accept something (in this case ‘gay marriage’) that is anathema to us. Yes, you are right, it is possible that this issue will become accepted by law as a recognised right, but it would be wrong of governments to expect Christians to have to admit such ceremonies in their churches, or to have to teach such a thing to their children.

    For another take on this topic, perhaps you could read Marcy’s comment on the “I Hate the Culture War too” thread. She raises some interesting points:
    https://catholicismpure.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/i-hate-the-culture-war-too/#comment-14854

    Hope this helps.

  11. The Raven says:

    Dear Shupiwe

    You’ve expressed an interest in Human Rights, I’ll do my best to limit my comments to that.

    The Declaration of Human Rights does not make mention of the persons that could contract a marriage because it was very much a document of its time: all of the people that wrote the declaration came from states that had, as part of their criminal codes, some legal prohibition on homosexual acts (this statement is not intended to be supportive imposing of such criminal sanctions for homosexual acts, I’m just pointing out the conditions under which te Declaration was drafted). These criminal sanctions remained on the statute-books of many of the contracting states to the Declaration for the larger part of the next half-century. In short, it cannot be argued that a “marriage” between homosexual persons was within the contemplation of the people that drafted thr Declaration, nor of the states that entered into it.

    The Human Rights Act brings decisions on the Declaration, or more properly the European Convention on Human Rights, into sphere of competence of the British courts and imports the jurisprudence developed in the ECHR.

    As a recent case shows, the ECHR does not consider that the right to marry, as defined by the Convention, can be extended to cover same-sex couples.

    In short, the persons taking a position that it is a breach of the human rights of a person to “marry” anyone other than a member of the opposite sex are implicitly asking for a change to the meaning of the word “marriage” and to make that change retrospective.

    From my own perspective, the proposed change in the law is little more than a provocation: in the UK we already have civil partnerships, which confer all of the legal rights that married people enjoy on homosexual couples. The attempt to deform the meaning of the word “marriage” in the UK is nothing more than another shot in the culture war.

  12. toadspittle says:

    .
    “In short, the persons taking a position that it is a breach of the human rights of a person to “marry” anyone other than a member of the opposite sex are implicitly asking for a change to the meaning of the word “marriage” and to make that change retrospective. “

    Raven is absolutely right about the change in the meaning of the word “marriage,” (that’s to say Toad agrees with him) Words quite often change, or “adjust” their meanings over time.
    But what do you mean about making it “retrospective”?

    Whe women achieved voting rights in Britain, did that make it “retrospective”? That they had always had that right? No, silly, obviously. So what does Raven mean?

  13. The Raven says:

    Toad, what I mean is that the argument that refusing to change the definition of marriage is a breach of human rights is a tautology, because it can only be as follows: (i) we have changed the meaning of the word “marriage” ergo (ii) the Declaration on Human Rights always applied to our changed definition of marriage ergo (iii) you are breaching so-and-so’s human rights by not changing the definition.

    If we acknowledge (as we must) that “marriage” between persons of the same sex is a new thing, we cannot then claim that an old law that protected something different must force us to invent/define the new thing too.

  14. toadspittle says:

    .
    “If we acknowledge (as we must) that “marriage” between persons of the same sex is a new thing,…says Raven, ergoing as he goes.
    “if” being a crucial word here. Because it could be argued that “gay marriage,” if you like, is not “a new thing” at all, but simply a modification of an old, existing, thing.

    Not that Toad would argue that himself.
    Not without payment in advance, anyway.

  15. The Raven says:

    Toad

    Even if we change the word “marriage” to encompass same-sex partnerships we are still talking about something that was not included in the set of “things” that the drafters of the various declarations and accords on human rights had in mind when they set pen to paper in the forties.

  16. Shupiwe says:

    Thanks Raven for all your comments.

    First of all, I think whilst the Declaration on Human Rights was written at a certain time, many changes have been made since then the UN Human Rights committee has adopted a number of resolutions promoting LGBT rights. So for example, the UN has declared that laws that criminalise homosexuality are a violation of Human Rights law. In addition, there has been a resolution that declared that Human Rights protection include LGBT rights, that is they cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

    But you are right in that the UNDHR still states that the definition of marriage is the responsibility of a state. This means that in the UK if you are against equal marriage (my preferred term to gay marriage) then you have not broken any human rights.

    Second of all, I think that in the last 70 years there has been a huge change in the way the world views LGBT people given the vast amount of research that has been undertaken. As this understanding has changed, so too have the laws to protect this group of people. (I felt a sense of de ja vu in writing that as this could be written about the way race laws have changed over the years as well.) And I think Toad is right, same sex relationships are much older than the UNDHR, and many of them were de facto marriages (but with no legal recognition.) Toad’s example of women’s right to vote is a good example I think of how this is not a tautology.

    Thirdly, I think that yes the ECHR has so far not agreed that equal marriage is a human right but there is one interesting case (http://tinyurl.com/btyhgtf) which may have an impact on future cases: “In that regard, it finds that it is artificial to assert that post-operative transsexuals have not been deprived of the right to marry as, according to law, they remain able to marry a person of their former opposite sex. The applicant in this case lives as a woman, is in a relationship with a man and would only wish to marry a man. She has no possibility of doing so. In the Court’s view, she may therefore claim that the very essence of her right to marry has been infringed.”

    The argument with this case though is that the applicant is now a woman (she is transsexual) and so her right to marry someone of the opposite sex has been denied. They base this on the assumption that as a transsexual she is now legally a woman and so must be treated as one. This then allows her the right to marry a man.

    This case has been used in to seek recognition of same sex marriage but that has not been successful. I suppose you could try and argue that as a gay man for example, you only wish to marry a man and you have no possibility of doing so and so your right to marriage has been denied. I think the ECHR argued that there is sufficient margin of appreciation because of the variety of laws within Europe on this. Perhaps if the laws change within individual European countries this may change. Who knows.

    Fourthly, I would argue that equal marriage is part of Human Rights rather than a “culture war.” The right to equality before the law is perhaps a fundamental part of the UNDHR and of any legal system (well most systems at least.) Even with the existence of civil unions, same sex partnerships are not equal before the law – if they were it would be the same contract with the same word. If for example, the law stated that any marriage between two people of different faiths had to be termed a civil union, this would not be equal. If the law stated that any marriage between two people of different races was to be termed a civil union, this would not be equal.

    Lastly, I am confused about this topic. If we live in a society where civil unions are legal and they are allowed even though they still discriminate against a particular group, and if you are arguing that you are fine with civil unions, what is the problem with accepting equal marriage? How would that affect society? How would that affect your faith? How would that affect your own marriage? I think it would only be a positive thing as it would mean that the laws of marriage would finally be equal for all. It would simply mean that the right to marriage would be universal.

    Thanks again everyone for this discussion. You have helped me immensely! I would not have thought I would have got so much help from this page!

  17. Shupiwe says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thank you for your lovely words! I will definitely pass these on to my sister – any positive words from the religious side always cheer her up!

    I agree with you about the fact that when the law changes, churches should not be forced to marry same sex couples. I think that would be awful. I don’t think my sister would want to be married in a church that does not accept same sex marriage either – can you imagine that ceremony? It would be the antithesis of what marriage is about.

    I also understand that your faith means you cannot condone LGBT people but I think that this might be because you see LGBT as a behaviour and not as the way someone was born. That is a whole new debate! I am not sure where I would sit on this one if my sister was not gay, but as I have had the chance to grow up with someone who is gay, I can only concur that being Gay is something you are born with and therefore removed from moral judgement of any form. I guess I am biased as,yes, my sister is a “loving and sensitive person”. I just cannot for the life of me see that who she is can be considered a “sin” or something morally wrong. I just cannot see it. Just as she is born gay and has always been gay, I was born heterosexual and have always been so. It seems unfair that we can morally judge the way she was born?

    With all of this, I wonder why we cannot just agree to disagree. By this I mean, why don’t we provide the right for gay people to get married which includes an opt our clause for any church, and then lets get on with our lives. This is a hugely important issue, but so is the poverty that is facing over 1.4 billion people. I wish we were all as emphatic about that issue as we are about LGBT rights as we would have solved that problem by now. I understand that from a religious point of view, you cannot condone LGBT people, but could you live with it? Is that some sort of half way point? Or am I undermining your faith? (which I don’t want to do at all!)

    Oh and thanks for the link to the culture war discussion. I agree with the idea that whilst working towards positive morality is a good thing, we don’t need to fight about this and we don’t need a war either – a war on culture seems to be an oxymoron to say the least!
    Thanks again Kathleen – great chats and as I said above, I would not have thought I would have gotten this from this page. It is very refreshing and also very encouraging.

    Cheers, Shupiwe

  18. toadspittle says:

    .

    Seems a shame they never married each other.

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