Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Nick Turner (MB 112)

I am writing as a private individual who does not wish to see the definition of marriage changed. I am most alarmed at the way the government appears to be trying to rush this measure through and value the opportunity to put some points to you for your consideration.

Please consider the following:

1. Empirical studies have shown that despite its failures, the traditional family unit is the best arrangement for raising children. How has the government addressed this?

2. Has the government sought any empirical evidence to show that gay couples can provide as good a home for children as mixed marriage ? If not why not? (I believe that p sychologically, a mother and father are needed for optimal development and such children will lack one of these ) .

3. Has the government carried out any research on or examined any evidence about the stability of same sex relationships? If these are fragile (anecdotal evidence suggests there is a tendency for gays and lesbians to have many partners) such relationships will not provide good stable homes for children.

4. Gay and Lesbian publications say that because of society’s attitude to them they have significantly higher drug and alcohol abuse problems than heterosexuals. The same is said of depression, suicide and STDs. How will children be safeguarded against these things when they are adopted by married same sex couples?

5. No major society in history has ever regularised same sex relationships in formal marriage even when homosexual relationships have been socially acceptable. That means the consequences are completely unknown. What research into these consequences has been carried out by the government in particular with reference to children?

6. The government has said they want to make marriage more relevant to strengthen it. The proposed law is not strengthening marriage, it is fundamentally changing its definition. The government will argue that the legal definition of marriage has been evolving over centuries but the changes have been tinkering with formalities etc. not fundamentally changing its basis – i.e. that it is between a man and a woman. The change will not strengthen marriage it will simply change it to include a group of people who already have a legally recognised union called Civil Partnership. The change is unnecessary and will have complicated legal consequences (amendments to other legislation etc.) that will be expensive to deal with.

7. In addition, the modelling of homosexual relationships will undoubtedly encourage more children to consider a homosexual lifestyle (even when they are not actually homosexuals) because they are seeing it modelled so freely. This will lead to greater confusion and insecurity for our children and for the generations to come. It will also consign some to a lifestyle they would not have chosen and because of that, they will miss out on having children or grandchildren.

8. This has a knock-on effect with the education of children. Presumably same sex unions will have to be presented equally in sex education in schools since it will be an equal option. What happens to children from traditional Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other faith communities where their parents do not hold with this being a valid choice? Will they be exempt from these classes?

9. What about the teachers of such topics? Where a Christian or Muslim teacher cannot teach this material for conscience sake will they be allowed to qualify their statements about same sex unions?

10. What safeguards will there be for such teachers from unfair dismissal for refusing to teach the standard line on this? How in fact will their human rights to believe certain things be protected?

11. It will not stop here. Today same sex unions. Tomorrow, different combinations of partnerships between men and several other men or a man with a woman and her mother. The key phrase seems to be that the relationship should be "loving, committed and faithful". On that basis , in years to come, one can imagine a scenario where a man will be allowed to marry his dog on the basis that he is his "loving , committed and faithful" best friend?! Do we really want to start down this path?

12. Other legal and social problems:

12.1 We already have a society where children are psychologically confused about their identity because of things like sperm donation and surrogate mothers (e.g. who is my father? Who is my mother?). The requirement for more artificial arrangements to provide same sex couples with children will only increase these problems. We seem to be laying up a lot of problems for future generations without properly considering the consequences. Again, what studies has the government carried out to consider these issues?

12.2 There is already a shortage of children for adoption. Has the government considered how it will deal with the likely increased demand for adoption?

13 . Safeguards for the churches and other religious groups.

It is said that there will be a "quadruple lock" to prevent any challenge in the courts to, say, a church not agreeing to marry a gay couple. The gay lobby is very militant and wants above everything to be regarded as "normal". If it can coerce the churches into doing this then it will.

If that means deliberately provoking a situation that it can then appeal to the European Court of Human Rights it will do so and I expect that the Court would find in their favour whatever the government says. How can the government be so sure that this safeguard will not be challenged?

1 4 . Why does "marriage" need to be redefined in this way? Gay s and lesbians already have

Civil Partnerships , giving them the same legal rights as a marriage. Th e proposal is fundamentally changing the vocabulary which has for many hundreds of years in this country recognised marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman. As one person said "you are asking us to call orange something that has always previously been red, without changing orange itself". This is a recipe for confusion and chaos and is completely unnecessary and distracting when many other issues are crying out for the focus and attention of the government.

15. The government has not been honest about the statistics.

I n a letter to The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday February 5th, signed by the Right Hon. Members of Parliament Theresa May, George Osborne and William Hague it was stated that the proposal is s upported by ‘a substantial majority’ and that ‘support is rising’ .

Apparently, and according to my MP (Don Foster), the basis for this statement was a YouGov/Sunday Times Survey in which 2030 British adults were questioned in various parts of Britain, including Scotland. ( Since Scotland is being considered separately the survey is invalid ) .

In addition, the p opulation of England and Wales in the last census was 56.1 million   and so the 2030 adults are a fraction of a percentage! This cannot possibly be representative of public opinion. The proposed legislation would be to cater for a minority of a minority.

In the meantime the government has completely ignored the petition of the Coalition for Marriage, which has more than 644,000 signatures .

My hope is that this B ill will be abandoned and that the parties include the proposal in their manifestos at the next election so that there can be a full and proper debate over a reasonable period. The current attempt seems to be trying to curry favour with a very small minority of people while ignoring the wishes of a very large number of people.

March 2013

Prepared 13th March 2013