Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by The Reverend Chris Casey (MB 51)

Submission to Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill Committee

1. I respectfully request the Committee to consider my submission on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

2. I write as a practising Clergyman (Church of England), serving the Parish of St Andrew, Mirehouse, Whitehaven in Cumbria. I am also a Community Governor at the local Primary School Governing body, a Member of the Parish Resident’s Group and a Chaplain to the  Air Training Corps.

3. I wish to express a number of concerns about the proposed legislation permitting ‘Same Sex Couples’ the right, in law, to be deemed as ‘married’. My concerns are specifically related to following arenas of concern:

· The strength of Marriage.

· The education of children.

· Civil liberties.

Strength of Marriage

4. Most of the children whom I baptise come from homes where the parents are not married. I am constantly struck by how fluid and fragile these domestic relationships are. It is not uncommon for the second request for Baptism from the same Mother to be for a child she has had to another man – in some cases there are 4 different children to different Fathers. Domestically this simply means a great deal of insecurity for the children. By contrast married homes, whilst not devoid of their own problems (especially with the ever-present threat of child poverty for low-income families characteristic of my Parish), enjoy a more stable and secure family home. Anything that undermines marriage is not good news for children who need two parents of opposite genders if they are to enjoy the best life chances and thrive. In Spain1, and The Netherlands 2 after same-sex marriage was introduced, marriages across the whole population plummeted by over 20% in the following six years. Heterosexual Married parents, on the whole offer a far more stable life to their children than co-habiting couples, only 1 in 11 married couples split by the time of their child’s fifth birthday compared to 1in 3 of cohabiting couples. 97% of couples who stick together until their children reach adulthood are married. Homosexual couples simply cannot give the children they may have in their relationships the same kind of holistic upbringing that a man and a woman, a father and mother, can 3. To erode the security of a well-defined, holistic environment created by one man and one woman into which children are born, by seeking to redefine marriage for a very small pressure group in the UK is simply socially unhelpful and does not yield equal rights for children. Children deserve the best from their society and that must mean legally supporting those relationships in which they can thrive best.

5. Trayce Hansen, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist has argued why simply loving a child is not enough 4. First, children require the unique love of a mother and a father, both of which are equally important but qualitatively different. Secondly, children progress through a number of important developmental stages during which they need a mother, and other stages when they need a father. Thirdly, children require an opposite-sexed parent to help them moderate their own gender-linked inclinations and so learn how to relate appropriately to the opposite sex. Fourthly, there is already research that demonstrates that children brought up in same-sexed homes experience increased sexual uncertainty and begin sexual experimentation at a younger age. And finally, if same-sex marriage is permitted, then other groups of people may argue that it is their right to redefine marriage too e.g. polygamous and polyamorous, leading to yet more confusion in the lives of children.

Education of children

6. Another major issue of concern for me is the education of our children if same-sex marriage ever becomes legal.

7. For many years developmental psychologists have recognised that children process and integrate information differently to adults. They have conceptual limitations and are simply not equipped to understand the nuanced nature of adult convictions about sexuality, they simply do not have the maturity. Should same-sex marriage become legal then there would have to be a realignment of teaching about relationships in schools. I believe this will lead children into confusion and fear; confusion over their own sexual identity and fear of expectations in relationships.

8. At age 3 a boy knows he is a boy – gender identity, at age 4 he is to know he will grow up as a man – gender stability, at age 6 – a boy knows he can’t be a girl even if he wears a dress – gender permanence. To present a child with the possibility that they may be homosexual, a lesbian, transgendered, transsexual etc is obviously a way of creating immense confusion. To then explain how same sex-couples will go through a bewildering array of procedures in order for them to have children that are related biologically to at least one of the parents, is to put our children at great risk of profound confusion.

9. Further, I have read some of the materials that groups such as Stonewall are aiming to have in place in our schools and I found them distressing. The relentless desire to bombard our children with homosexual propaganda is shocking and I believe represents the abuse of innocent children. Should a child intuitively react with fright or disgust how would they be treated? Maybe they would have to undergo intensive teaching, or be sanctioned in some way? This is the worst kind of education and represents a violation akin to brainwashing.

10. A leading human rights lawyer, Aidan O’Neill QC, has surveyed the possible implications of same sex legislation and considers that European law would ultimately not support the right of parents to withdraw their children from curriculum lessons that endorse same-sex marriage.

Civil liberties

11. I have observed the extraordinary progress of homosexual pressure groups, often supported by the government quango the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, in securing the convictions of a number of people who in all good conscience simply cannot condone what they believe to be immoral conduct (e.g. bed and breakfast owners, Housing Managers who were demoted for expressing their own opinions on a Facebook page, Civil Registrars who have lost their jobs because they were not allowed to conscientiously object to performing civil partnerships between homosexual couples, etc). In our neighbouring town of Workington a street preacher was even arrested and imprisoned for his convictions, even when modestly and discreetly sharing them with a member of the public who asked.

12. The government consultation on this issue chose to deliberately ignore the opinions of over half a million petitioners who signed a document against same sex marriage. My deep concern is that this legislation is simply being railroaded through Parliament without due consideration or protection being given to those who would become conscientious objectors and who face being penalised for believing in traditional marriage, most especially those public servants such as teachers and civil servants. In addition, religious ministers who oppose this new legislation will, I am certain, quickly become a target for homosexual pressure groups who might demand a same sex marriage at their local state church (Church of England) and then sue when their request is turned down, their appeals would take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights and any kind of protections for religious ministers will soon be ruled illegal.

Summary:

13. This submission contends that same sex marriage will undermine the strength of the institution of marriage which research consistently demonstrates is the most wholesome environment for children to be reared in.

14. The education, or rather indoctrination of children, about same sex marriage will lead to confusion, distress and even fear amongst young children.

15. Finally, the civil liberties of conscientious objectors are already being violated and should this legislation become law then we can expect a barrage of court cases seeking to convict people of offences related to the fact that they believe in traditional marriage which has been around for thousands of years.

16. Equality already exists in Civil Partnership legislation, so why do we need to pursue this legislation that was not called for by most homosexual people, nor mandated by the government’s election manifesto, and is set to be immensely costly in all kinds of ways?

February 2013

Refrences:

1. Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Press Release, Vital

Statistics and Basic Demographic Indicators: Preview data

for 2011, 29 June 2012, page 5

2. Duncan, William C, ‘The Tenth Anniversary of Dutch

Same-Sex Marriage: How Is Marriage Doing in the

Netherlands?’, iMAPP Research Brief, Vol.4, No.3, 2011;

Marriages and Partnership registrations: Key Statistics,

CBSStatLine, 2012, see http://tinyurl.com/colyp2o

3. The Centre for Social Justice, Press Release, Nick Clegg’s disdain for marriage hurts the poor, CSJ warns, 18 December 2011.

4. (Trayce Hansen, Ph.D., and former member of the APA, "Love Isn't Enough: Five Reasons Why Same- Sex Marriage Will Harm Children." 2009 http://www.drtraycehansen.com/Pages/writings_samesex.html)

Prepared 27th February 2013