Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Memorandum submitted by Godfrey Haverson (MB 90)

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

I am a consultant radiologist (retired). I have had a special interest in uro-radiology, regularly seeing men to perform ano-rectal ultrasound examinations and prostatic biopsies. I also practised general medicine in the UK and Thailand.

I am married, with four married children and 11 grandchildren.

There are several points which the committee should include in their consideration of this Bill.

1. Definition of Marriage

Augustine observed three components to marriage- Proles (progeny), Fides (trust) and Sacramentum (commitment or sacrament). These are widely recognised, having been incorporated within the marriage service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Christ refers to a man and woman’s uniting in marriage to be ‘one flesh’, ‘from the beginning’ of time.1

A detailed examination of marriage in church and state was made by TA Lacey (1912) 2. His book explores the natural constitution of human society and the essential nature of marriage. He viewed marriage to be an inseparable life-long bond, as brother and sister. Laws relating to marriage are studied. In the section, ‘the legitimacy of a power controlling marriage’, it is stated that ‘human law may directly contradict the law of nature, forbidding what God commands, or commanding what God forbids… Regulations so made may be unworthy of the name of Law.’

2. The rightness of the same-sex relationship

Features highlighted are:

1. Innate. Orientation is considered intrinsic rather than acquired, even though a distinct genetic make-up has yet to be shown.

2. Permanent. Aspired to but not always experienced.

3. Accepted as equivalent to the heterosexual life. The desire for legitimacy is an important reason for seeking equality.

A strong mutual attraction provides motivation for long term commitment. As it feels right it is staunchly defended against those who regard this as deviating from the natural and normal. Prejudices of those considered homophobic are attacked on grounds of equality and human rights.

Sexual gratification is commonly self- centred and does not form a basis for marriage. Same-sex attraction may be both strong and enriching, as with David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 20 v 41), but this friendship should not be construed as homosexual. No aspect of same-sex partnership qualifies for designation as marriage. It can neither be consummated nor annulled. There can be no table of affinity. Adultery is not a viable consideration.

3. The True Meaning of Words

Redesignation can only be used to correct misconceptions and reflect changing attitudes.

Words must not be changed to become untrue.

What is commonly regarded as artificial, unnatural or deviant cannot be invested with a value of normality because a government seeks to make it so.

Sexual characteristics are defined by birth and genetics. Gender redesignation and anatomical reconstructive surgery do not alter a person’s true identity or nature.3

4. The Importance of Family

Our roots are important in giving us our identity. Love and trust are expressed in the nuclear family, with support from grandparents enriching the lives of young children. The concept of liquid love with semi-detached couples contemplated by a sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman, has to be destabilising and destructive in relationships and for society.4

Children must be encouraged to seek the best in their lives. They must be protected from ‘adult material’ which will confuse, corrupt and destroy childhood innocence. To teach young boys and girls about same-sex relationships equates to grooming and may well encourage predatory adults to exploit innocent and vulnerable minors. Internet pornography is already a disturbing facet of modern childhood life which must be resisted.5 The Story of Esther Costello, by Nicholas Monsarrat, illustrates how care for a gifted blind girl, is followed by attraction, sexual abuse and progressive shameful deception.6

CS Lewis in his autobiography7, considered pederasty less than other evils at his public school. Not sharing the vice, he felt a certain nausea, as for necrophilia. But for him it was an unnatural love affair. ‘Eros, turned upside down, blackened, distorted and filthy, still bore the traces of his divinity’.

5. What is the New Morality?

Values must be determined which will lead our nation forward.

The media commonly report on misconduct of celebrities and national leaders, describing shameful, brazen, or simply inappropriate behaviour. Rape, sexual or physical abuse, cruelty, infidelity and neglect reflect a general concern for wrongs perpetrated. Equality and equal rights at times conflict with equivalent but opposite values of others.

When Lot invited two men to stay with him overnight the men of Sodom surrounded the house. "Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out so we can have sex with them." "Please don’t", Lot begged. "Stand back!" they shouted. "Who do you think you are? We let you settle among us, and now you are trying to tell us what to do! We’ll treat you far worse than those other men!"8

Anselm (1033- 1109) is quoted9 on the sin of sodomy, as saying that ‘it has been so public that hardly anyone blushes for it’. Vilification of those who fail to embrace the concept of redefined marriage is inevitable. There can be no common ground for those who hold to traditional values and others who chose to disregard them.

6. Conclusions

Fewer heterosexual couples at present seek marriage. Same-sex ‘gay’ marriage is being sought to justify and confer legitimacy on a relationship which some find unhealthy and inappropriate. The impact of this bill to redefine marriage would go far beyond what is envisaged and should not be undertaken in haste, without adequate debate and reflection.

7. References:

1. Matthew 19 v 4-8

2. Marriage in Church and State. T A Lacey 249 pp Robert Scott London 1912

3. Eros Redeemed, The Impact of Modern Sexuality. John White 1996

4. Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds . Zygmunt Bauman 176pp Polity Press 2003

5. Searching for Intimacy. Lyndon Bowring 2005

6. The Story of Esther Costello. Nicholas Monsarrat 1952

7. Surprised by Joy CS Lewis Harcourt 1956

8. Genesis 19 v 5-9 New Living Translation Tyndale 2000

9. Christian Ethics and Modern Problems WR Inge 402pp Hodder 1930

8. Summary

Heterosexual marriage differs fundamentally from same-sex partnering.

‘Gay’ marriage is sought to justify and legitimise a practice not generally accepted.

The impact of this Bill would reach far beyond what is generally stated.

March 2013

Prepared 6th March 2013