Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Mr Graham Leng (MB 132)

Summary:

A submission of moral, legal and practical reasons why the current definition of marriage should not be amended. It is not an objection to same-sex couples living together or having sexual relations which is a personal choice in which we are not entitled to interfere.

We are both practising Christians with much experience of dealing with people of all ages, but particularly children and young people, with whom we have seen the negative results of the eroding of our traditional Christian values in our laws, and believe the same–sex marriage bill will also prove to be to the disadvantage of our society for the reasons given in the submission below.

To the House of Commons Public Bill Committee.

1. I am writing on behalf of my wife and myself to express our concerns and objections to the Marriage (Same-sex couples) Bill. We believe it is a totally unnecessary and wrong intention to try and make same sex marriage the same as heterosexual marriage. They are not the same; there are clear physical differences and people should be able to know when they hear of a married couple which situation is which, whether a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman. In each case the format of the sexual activity is different, and whether you believe in special creation or evolution our bodies are clearly designed or have evolved for heterosexual relationships to continue the species. We are not objecting to same sex couples living together and having sexual relationships, that is their choice and they are free to do so. As Christians however we believe sexual relationships between people of the same sex is against God’s laws but we cannot and are not wishing to force our beliefs on those who do not share them. Breaking any one of God’s laws is a sin as far as we are concerned, but homosexual activity is no more or less a sin in God’s sight than any other sin, be it adultery, fornication, stealing, lying or anything else no matter how minor, and we are all guilty of some of them anyway, so none of us are in a position to judge others.

2. The problem that can be clearly seen in western society is that as we move away from our Judeo-Christian (and also Muslim) moral base, society starts to break down, and we now have far more broken families and single parent families than ever before. Both my wife and I deal a lot with children from broken homes, and it is so tragic in many circumstances. This is a result of years of sex education which very subtly but very strongly promotes sex outside marriage, and now costs the country a tremendous financial amount in social security payments, but far more important than that, a huge number of children are brought up in unstable families, often with siblings having different but totally absent fathers, with a mum struggling to bring the children up. Also AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases would be almost non-existent if it were not for the widespread practice of sex outside marriage.

3. You may well say that this has nothing to do with same-sex marriage, but it all comes back to the fact that we need a common standard to which we all have to adhere, and I would challenge you to find one which is more proven and effective for stable society than God’s laws as given in the Judeo-Christian Bible. Whether you believe the Biblical laws are from God or just common sense and good practice, history and statistics demonstrate that they are very effective in building and protecting strong societies. We believe in democracy, but by its very nature it has to serve the majority while protecting minorities, and when there are differences of opinion, it is wrong that the minority can force changes on the majority unless they really are in danger or severely disadvantaged. This minority pressure seems to happen all the time with the homosexual lobby where anyone who disagrees is branded as homophobic and bigoted, and many who have expressed their beliefs in this area have been the target of hate mail and threats, and in some cases have lost their jobs just for standing by what they believe in. We supposedly enshrine freedom of religion in our constitution as a basic human right, but if a religion says something is wrong, then its followers should have the right to express their beliefs without persecution, but this is frequently not the case with homosexuality. Christians and Jews (and I believe Muslims) must condemn adultery because their religion teaches that this is against God’s laws, and people accept this, but it doesn’t stop people committing adultery if they wish to do so. Why does the homosexual lobby have such power that some government departments and local authorities do not also accept this right as regards homosexual activity and think they have the right to discipline anyone who speaks out against it? This has happened in a considerable number of cases and is a severe and serious restriction of free speech, and is therefore very worrying. Religious people objecting does not prohibit others carrying out what the laws of the land allow, so why should they persecuted by some authorities and groups for expressing their opinion? Although this may seem to be a separate issue from same-sex marriage it does have a considerable bearing on it, as some people who have concerns can feel under pressure to keep quiet as they may be vilified as intolerant bigots.

4. Far more worrying however is where acceptance of homosexuality as a norm may lead to. I accept that men and women with homosexual tendencies may well have a genuine desire for what is not a normal function according to how our bodies are made, but surely the same applies to paedophiles. I can’t imagine anyone really wanting to be a paedophile and being happy with it, but they clearly have something within them which gives them what we would describe as an unnatural desire. We are incredibly complex beings and this applies to our sexuality, so if homosexuality is normal because it is a genuine desire, then presumably the same can apply to paedophilia. Obviously the big difference is because children are involved, and we currently cannot see that paedophilia could ever be acceptable, but this is where we do not learn from history. Any deviation from Judeo-Christian standards can quickly lead to all kinds of perverse or wicked activities, even in a supposedly Christian society. Although we still cannot say that life begins at a particular point after conception, millions of perfectly healthy babies have been killed in the womb in Great Britain, on a whole pretence of reasons where the baby’s life and well being was in no way previously threatened, and in most cases the same with the mother. Yet we were told in 1967 when the Abortion Act was passed that it would only be applied to a few severe examples. Look at Germany, a civilised and supposedly Christian country where the Reformation originated, and yet the genocide of millions of Jews, Gypsies, disabled people and other minorities took place during Hitler’s reign, and these acts were carried out by ‘normal, respectable’ German citizens. Paedophilia has and does occur in many societies today without Judeo-Christian heritage and laws, and as we ourselves chip away at what seem minor and unimportant ordinances of these laws, the whole of our beliefs and standards become questionable rather than absolute, and eventually become eroded leading to wicked practices, and history demonstrates this time and time again. How long before polygamy is legalised, I wonder?

5. Democracy does not always protect against bad and even wrong laws being passed where strong lobbying is employed, and it seems to me that this is the case with the Re-definition of Marriage proposals. Whenever we go against the tried and proven Biblical standards on which our western society is founded, we weaken our social structure and this can be clearly seen as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, families break down and corruption increases at all levels of society. Yes, these things have always been there to some degree, and always will be, but now they are slowly becoming accepted as unfortunate but normal rather than unacceptable (especially regarding adultery), despite some of them remaining as unnaceptable from a legal standpoint. As I have inferred above we cannot and should not legislate against homosexual activity, adults have to be free to believe what they like, but it should not be promoted and encouraged (but often is so in sex education) by Government and authorities as normal activity. None of us are in a position to condemn homosexual men and women personally; we would have to be free of all wrongdoings ourselves. We must have respect and compassion for those who are in this situation, but it still does not make it natural or right, or good for society.

6. Finally, being pragmatic, in our western societies and throughout most of the world marriage has been defined as an exclusive union between one man and one woman, and this can be shown statistically and otherwise to be the most stable basis for society because of the strong family structure, and we believe it is wrong for any government to try and fix what is not broken. Because of the increase in unfaithfulness, violence and the ease of divorce, couples increasingly do not stay together but this does not mean that traditional marriage is not working; it is still the best and stongest human relationship. If homosexual couples wish to live together they are free to do so with all the legal and financial protections of marriage through Civil Partnerships. To re-define marriage will be a costly and complex legal exercise to re-write many statutes involving husband and wife for instance, but what will it give homosexual couples that they don’t already have available? It will certainly be a basis for confusion to the rest of us, if as I said at the beginning of this submission, we don’t know if we are dealing with men and/or women when a married couple is referred to. Homosexual marriage if legalised is still different from heterosexual marriage and should have a different name so that current marriage laws do not have to be re-written at great cost, but also so we all know who and what we are dealing with. Same-sex marriage is political correctness gone mad and will prove counter-productive. Because we can’t foresee consequences does not mean that serious ones will not occur, and we are dealing with a massive change in societal understanding even though some may not think that is the case.

7. Summarising, our fundamental objection to same sex marriage is that we believe it is a dangerous road to be going down from a moral and hence social perspective, but also that it is an unnecessary and costly politically correct exercise which will achieve nothing good, but will be confusing as to who is who in a partnership and what sex they are. We trust these relevant matters will be given due consideration and not dismissed as bigoted which often occurs when any concerns about homosexuality are raised.

March 2013

Prepared 13th March 2013