Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Christopher J H Rogers (MB 80)

Born 1936 in Iran.

Brought up and educated in the UK.

1960 – 66 under Crown Agents for Overseas Government and Administration as Agricultural Officer in Tanzania.

1967 - 1996 school Teacher, Biology and some Religious Studies;

Retired from full-time teaching 1996:

Hon. Assistant Chaplain in the same school, an independent boarding school to date.

I have a Niece in a Civil Partnership and I attended her ceremony and they have visited us and stayed in our home.

I am grateful for this opportunity to make a submission at the Committee stage for the above Bill.

1. I find it inconsistent that a bill is being prepared to give ‘equality’ to same-sex couples so that their relationship may be called ‘marriage’ when heterosexual married couples who might like to, may not have a Civil Partnership. Where is equality in that?

2. This bill is being pushed forward with its costs on changing existing legislation [in these stringent economic times] without any mention before the last Election in any manifesto and without Green or White Papers. We the electorate were given no chance to respond to this move by the way we voted.

3. I understand that over 600,000 signatures against the re-definition of marriage were not given their democratic ‘voice’ when the reported response of the electorate was mentioned. Had these ‘votes’ been included in the responses to the government’s consultation, I understand that over 80% of the electorate would be found to be against the redefinition.

4. Although loud voices are raised to encourage this Bill forward, these voices are on behalf of a very small minority of a minority in our population. There are many in Civil Partnerships who would not want their relationship to be called ‘marriage’.

5. Little mention has been made in Government statements that Civil Partnerships already have all the legal benefits that are available to married couples.

6. For thousands of years* ‘marriage’ has been understood as the relationship between a man and a woman that is sealed by sexual intercourse which may be followed by the procreation of a child. This is physically and biologically the result of being a man and a woman. For a same-sex couple the ‘apparatus’ is just not there, and what is there is not designed (? or intended) to be used in this way.

*this information is available from the Jewish/Christian Bible in the earliest books of the ‘Old Testament’ or Torah. See Genesis 2 verse 24 ‘For this reason an man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh’ quoted by Jesus in his teaching: see Matthew 19: verses 4 – 6.

7. Marriage and the procreation of children is the bed-rock of every society and celebrated by family, clan and tribe. My experience in East Africa and the social structures of the tribes I had the good fortune to work amongst, underlines this foundational place that marriage has in these societies.

8. These Developing Countries have an in-built aversion to homosexual relationships, and while this is a fact, our country’s standing in the eyes of those nations that we seek to assist through aid and education will be undermined as they look amazed at what we are doing in the United Kingdom to the institution of marriage if it is redefined.

9. When I taught ‘Physical Social and Health Education’ in my school, I could speak about the fact of homosexual relationships and same sex partnerships, but I personally could not teach about them as being equal to or the same as marriage.

10. The Government speaks of respecting those with traditional views of marriage, but recent legal challenges show that people can lose their jobs if they are unwilling to adopt so called ‘up-to-date’ or ‘enlightened’ views on this relationship.

11. To push ahead with a change in the definition of marriage in response to the clamour of a tiny minority of the population is undemocratic and will threated the wellbeing of very large sections of the population who feel they are not able to ‘go along’ with it.

12. Why contemplate making such a drastic and far reaching alteration to an historical and foundational relationship as marriage?

13 . I fear that if the Government goes along with this plan to redefine marriage – there will be ‘unforeseen consequences’. As an example – when the Abortion Act was passed in 1967, who would have believed that by 2012 4 million healthy foetuses would have been killed, and abortion would be used as a form of contraception?

March 2013

Prepared 6th March 2013