What a can of worms David Cameron has opened up with proposals to place Gay Marriage on the same footing as Traditional Marriage.

This is not about discrimination of homosexual or lesbian individuals but neither must there be discrimination about the religious beliefs of others, who currently seem to be taking second place to the wishes of a relatively small vociferous section of the population and an ill-informed Prime Minister.

Never forget that if one demands tolerance then one should also be prepared to extend it to others and it should not be a one-sided operation

This is yet another tricky subject because of the potentially intolerant stance it elicits - nevertheless, as time goes on it becomes increasingly clear that these proposals were not adequately thought out initially before rushing to suggest them. This seems to be 'about par' for the Government whose mantra is speak first & think later - i.e. Prince Charles Rightly Questions Rushed Succession Bill

Furthermore, this proposal was not part of any election manifesto which formed the basis of the current Government being elected; so in this respect one will never really know whether these ideas have the support of the electorate

Inevitably the conflict between Church (generic term for religious beliefs of all types) and State has come to the forefront over this issue. A great many of these Religions do not countenance the principle of homosexuality, so same-sex marriage in its suggested form is an anathema to them. However, because of their views, they are therefore in danger of being marginalised by the State for upholding their beliefs; and all to satisfy the wishes of a minority few

The issues would seem to be as follows:

  • Apart from merely extending existing heterosexual marriage to same-sex couples, the legislation will redefine marriage for all couples
  • The proposal seems to involve heterosexual marriage itself being amended to accommodate the wishes and lifestyles of members of the gay community
  • Hitherto, the Government has claimed that this is merely an "equality" issue, however, these fundamental changes belie Government statements. Although whether the electorate has been lied to on purpose by David Cameron is another question
  • Government figures indicate that only 6,000 couples per year will avail themselves of the right to gay marriage; compare this with roughly 230,000 heterosexual marriages per year
  • Same-sex couples will not gain one single legal additional entitlement that they do not already enjoy as a result of the introduction of civil partnerships - so what is the reason for this except as political mileage?
  • Ultimately, the Government has absolutely no idea what the full ramification of the introduction of same-sex marriage will be for employees such as teachers, nor for churches and religious groups as issues of equality are raised in the European courts

Finally, a real hurdle for the Government is the definition of 'consummation' in respect of same sex marriages. The problem here is that failure to address this matter flies in the face of two fundmental existing concepts - Annulment and Adultery; both of which exist under current hetrosexual marriages

'.. Government legal experts failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between same-sex couples ..'

One has to ask how difficult it is to provide a definition about this factual action? Therefore in order to avoid this difficult issue, centuries-old concepts, which are the cornestones of some Religions, are to be turned on their head because of political expediency and the fact that the Government feels uncomfortable with providing a definition of Gay sex.

So far as Christians are concerned it might just be worthwhile stating the Ten Commandments and in case of any doubt this is the one we are talking about

Thou shalt not commit adultery

These commandments have been around rather a long time and now David Cameron and the UK Government proposes to get rid of this one because it does not fit his political agenda

Anyway it is comforting to know that David Cameron has now made the Ten Commandments less onerous by knocking one off the list. Welcome to the new 'streamlined' Nine (9) Commandments courtesy of the UK Prime Minister

There was an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph concerning this issue. Unfortunately, for some reason the article in seems to be unavailable online - so it is reproduced below

Daily Telegraph, Saturday 26th January 2012, p8

Gay marriage Bill may be death of adultery

By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor

The centuries-old concept of adultery could be abolished in law as a result of the Government’s plans for same sex marriage, lawyers and MPs said last night. Under a long-awaited Bill allowing homosexual couples to marry, only infidelity between people of opposite genders would count as adultery in divorce cases. It means that people in a same-sex marriage who discover that their spouse is unfaithful to them would not be able to divorce on the basis of adultery – unless it was with someone of the opposite sex. Equally, it makes clear that heterosexual people cannot accuse their partner of adultery if they discover they had a secret lover of the same sex

It comes after government legal experts failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between same-sex couples. The Bill also makes clear that homosexual couples would not be able to have their marriage annulled on the grounds of non-consummation for the same reasons. Lawyers and MPs said that the distinction over adultery created inequality between heterosexual and homosexual couples in the divorce courts and would lead to confusion. They said it made it likely that adultery would simply be abolished as a grounds for divorce – either through Parliament or through the courts.

Maria Miller, the equalities minister said she hoped to “strengthen the importance of marriage in our society” and said supporters believed the Bill would be “good for society”. But among opponents, the Roman Catholic Church warned that it would “radically alter” the meaning of marriage for everyone and “undermine the common good”.

As well as allowing gay couples to marry in Britain for the first time, those in civil partnerships will be able to “convert” to marriage – either with a new ceremony or simply paying a £100 administrative fee and requesting a new certificate. Briefing papers published with the Bill, which will be debated next month, show that the Government expects about 6,000 same-sex couples a year will choose to marry, although there could be an initial “spike” in the first few years as those in civil partnerships upgrade.

The papers make clear that officials are also expecting an “influx” of applications for gender reassignment as a result of the new law, which would enable a married person to have the surgery without having to get divorced. It is thought that as many as 3,000 people would opt to change their gender as a result. Officials also predict that the change in the law could open the way for gay marriage “tourism”, with couples coming to Britain to tie the knot because it is not legal in their own country. As official impact assessment estimates the changes will cost up to £4million, with computer systems being altered and some divorce forms being pulped and reprinted. It also estimates that up to 1,200 churches, synagogues and other religious buildings would offer same-sex weddings. The Bill includes a series of measures that the Government insists would protect religious freedom by ensuring religious institutions are not forced to carry out same-sex weddings.

But lawyers who drafted the Bill sidestepped the question of defining what constituted sex between gay couples by including a clause saying that only "conduct between one party to the marriage and a person of the opposite sex" would constitute adultery. Ayesha Vardag, a leading London divorce lawyer, said that the creation of the new distinction could pave the way for adultery to be abolished in law. Listed among the 10 Commandments and recognised in English law since at least Anglo-Saxon times, adultery was the sole ground for divorce in Britain until the 1920s. But in recent years wronged spouses have increasingly cited "unreasonable behaviour" as a grounds for divorce. But it is still cited in 17,000 divorces a year in England and Wales. "The only appropriate and balanced way to deal with this would be to scrap the act of adultery as a basis for divorce altogether," said Ms Vardag.

In the end all that it comes down to is David Cameron trying to gain political advantage in a very damaging way. When with a bit more thought the process could have probably been addressed in a better way to achieve the desired goals - bulldozing these thing through rarely works well, especially if peoples (DC) motives are suspect in the first place

References

Mail - Concept of adultery could be abolished in law as grounds for divorce in wake of Government’s plans for gay marriage

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