Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Peter Scott (MB 83)

I am writing as an ordinary member of the public to express my opposition to the Marriage Bill which is currently at the Committee Stage in the House of Commons.

I believe that the bill if it becomes law will fundamentally change the nature and understanding of marriage in this country and in the long term lead to a serious decline in the role of marriage as the natural context for creating and raising children. Although marriage has come under great pressure in the West in recent decades as a result of major technological and social changes, nevertheless, as research has shown, it remains the most benign environment for the successful upbringing of children, children who will form our next generation of leaders and citizens.

For this to continue to be the case, the traditional understanding of marriage as a comprehensive, exclusive and lifelong relationship between a man and a woman must be maintained, because only such a relationship can provide the security, stability and complementary male and female parenting gifts required to raise children successfully.

By allowing same sex couples to ‘marry’, the key elements of marriage in this traditional sense will be destroyed. By definition, a marriage between two men or two women cannot be comprehensive because it cannot be consummated in any meaningful sense. All the research available also shows that same sex relationships are far less likely to be exclusive or lifelong than male-female relationships.

By passing this bill, Parliament will therefore be undermining family life in this country and storing up major social problems for generations to come.

I also have concerns about the way in which people like me that have a principled opposition to this measure will be treated in the future. I already have evidence that Christian groups and individuals who oppose same sex marriage are being discriminated against by public bodies.

For example, my son in law is pastor of a New Frontiers Church in Devon. The church does not have its own building and over the years has met in a variety of premises, including local schools. Recently the church started to meet in a town centre hotel which proved to be an ideal venue. However, they were asked to leave because the hotel is used for Civil Partnership ceremonies and the owners of the hotel did not want a church using the same venue because they are known to be critical of homosexual relationships. How long will it take before local schools are also forced to bar their doors for churches like this?

I therefore urge the Committee considering this Bill to decline to pass it. All the necessary legal provisions for same sex couples who want to consolidate their relationship are available in the Civil Partnerships measure and there is no need to make this fundamental change in our understanding of marriage, with all the foreseeable and unforeseeable negative consequences.

March 2013

Prepared 6th March 2013