Category Archives: Marriage

Gay Marriage? Thank God For Stephen Timms

Stephen_TimmsI have no inside knowledge of course, but I always thought that our two Newham Labour MPs, Stephen Timms (East Ham) and Lyn Brown (West Ham) were good friends. Maybe they still are, but it was with some amusement that I read about their spat over same-sex marriage in the House of Commons.

In his speech during a debate on the same-sex marriage Bill in early February, Stephen claimed rightly that “Children are at the heart of marriage… Children are the reason why marriage has been so important…”

Lyn Brown's weddingLyn Brown interrupted him in full flow to remind him that he attended her marriage ceremony (in May 2008). “My right hon. Friend was at my wedding. I was not young when I got married (she was 48) and… it was highly unlikely that I was going to be able to procreate after all that time. Is he telling me that my marriage is less valid than anybody else’s?” (here)

It was a petty point. It is true that some married couples are not able to – or indeed choose not to – have children. It is true also that gay couples can have children even if only by adoption or artificial means.

But it is true too that there are exceptions to every rule. And these specific exceptions do not undermine the fact that real marriage is in essence and in principle about two people coming together, committing exclusively to each other, creating children and providing a stable caring home for the nurture and healthy upbringing of the next generation. It is because marriage is important for the welfare of children and for the future of society that an apparently secular state like ours must take an interest in the defining, ordering and regulation of marriage.

wheat fieldConversely if children and the future are not an essential part of marriage, then neither is the state. And if now marriage is simply to be about adults (gay or straight) loving and choosing each other as they wish, the state logically and inevitably must back off and allow any consenting adults of any gender and any number the right to marry for as long or short as they choose. For instance a wacky middle-aged couple I know went alone into a field of wheat one sunny summer’s day, frolicked naked and hidden amongst the ripening stalks and when they emerged from the field told friends that they are now ‘married’. This is a recipe for nuptial anarchy and instability of course, but on what basis do we tell them that they are not married?

Lyn Brown is my MP so I thought I’d try to persuade her change her mind ahead of tomorrow’s final Commons vote on same-sex marriage. The local paper, the Newham Recorder, published this letter from me last Wednesday:

Dear Editor, 

The final House of Commons vote on the Same-Sex Marriage Bill will take place later this month, before it then goes on to the House of Lords. Local MP Stephen Timms abstained in the previous vote and has said he will vote against the Bill next time. Can I appeal to my own MP, Lyn Brown, to follow suit? 

“Two people who love each other and are committed to each other should be allowed to get married whatever their gender. It’s an equality and human rights issue.” This is the main argument advanced in favour of same-sex marriage. 

But it is a selective and specious argument, and in reality the Bill does not create ‘equal marriage’ at all. Rather by changing the time-honoured definition of marriage from that between one man and one woman, it creates new inequalities and discrimination.

 It is notable for instance that the Bill will allow two lesbians to marry but not two elderly spinster sisters. Like the lesbians, the sisters may love each other, be committed to each other and live together for many years, but the legislation does not follow its own logic, allow them equally to get married. 

And if the Bill is about equality for minorities, why are the polygamous marriages of Muslims and Mormons excluded from it? And what about polyandrous marriages where there is one woman and two or more men? 

Further, there is an increasingly vocal minority demand for group marriage with multiple men and multiple women living in one so-called ‘family’. On what grounds are these minority ‘families’ excluded and discriminated against by the legislation? 

marriage based familySo the Bill is confused, illogical, irrational, unequal and creates new exclusions and discrimination against minorities. But worse, it completely ignores children. Same-sex marriage is about the interests of gay adults; children are not even mentioned in the legislation. Our children are our future, yet their rights and their welfare in marriages are completely blanked. 

Also, same-sex marriage will undermine normal faithful marriage by downgrading marital loyalty, as adultery will no longer be a valid reason for divorce. The right to play the field with even temporary and multiple sex partners is included by the government in this new definition of ‘marriage’. 

Finally, there is little demand for same-sex marriage in the gay community and there is no democratic mandate from the wider community. It was not included in any of the manifestos of the three major parties in parliament at the last election. 

Stephen Timms is showing courageous leadership by voting to reject the Bill. Lyn Brown, can we ask you to follow him and do likewise? 

Yours sincerely, etc 

The gay online newspaper Pink News ran the letter under the (deliberately?) untruthful headline claim that I want polygamous marriages to be included in the Bill (here).

I received a hostile email response from ‘AgayBgay’ informing me that “religion is a lie” and that there will be “punishment and justice” for gay rights violators. He also notified me ominously, “You have been warned.”

innocent childHe claimed further that “homosexual people are born homosexual” – which of course is the scientifically unproven and anecdotally questionable ‘born-gay’ argument. Matthew Parris (here – £) and Peter Tatchell (here) – both gays – would disagree. No gay gene has been discovered and rather than gayness being pre-determined at birth, it seems much more likely that childhood experiences and free-will play the major part.

MPs vote on the same-sex marriage Bill tomorrow. Will Lyn Brown vote against it alongside her Newham colleague?

Thank God for Stephen Timms.

“Vive Le Mariage!”

(My promised Unequal Marriage 2 has been postponed for the moment – but not cancelled.)

banners and flags at rallySpending last Sunday afternoon at Trafalgar Square in a biting wind and at zero degrees was a strangely warming and encouraging experience.

The youthful London-based French group La Manif Pour Tous A Londres (here) held a rally in favour of traditional marriage and for some weeks previously I had been helping them with their planning. Their aim was to join with the proposed massive rally in Paris on the same day (here) to protest against President Hollande’s plans for same-sex marriage, but they were pleased also to include our opposition to David Cameron’s rushed, muddled, unnecessary, unmandated and destructive Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.

The French Tricolour and the British Union Jack flew together united in favour of real marriage but under the stony one-eyed Francophobic glare of Admiral Nelson, an irony I referred to from the platform which was picked up by The Independent (here). A French event in Trafalgar Square made front-page news in Paris-published Le Figaro too (here).

ouch!Strident, abusive, hate-fuelled, foul-mouthed and anti-family, the inevitable gay counter-demo was there as well – maybe 100 of them compared with some 2,500 at the rally. And my pre-teen daughters – who were enjoying our cheerful array of balloons, flags and banners – giggled with shock when one gay publicity-seeker wanting her five minutes of fame (here) climbed up amongst Landseer’s bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s column, unbuttoned her top and exposed her duct-tape-covered nipples to the freezing wind and laughing world. “Won’t it hurt when she strips the tape off afterwards?” asked the younger one, genuinely concerned.

One man highlighted the nasty child-unfriendly nature of the gay counter-demo. He took real pleasure in going around bursting kids’ balloons with a pin; in one case he was seen to wrench a balloon out of a little girl’s hands and stamp on it. Same-sex marriage is a sterile adult-centred anti-family concept at the best of times and this vicious bully amply illustrated the fact.

“Vive Le Mariage” was a chant from the platform and it seemed rapidly to become the rally’s cold-defying battle-cry. Downing Street is just a few hundred metres from Trafalgar Square: “David Cameron, are you listening?” we bellowed.

Nelsons Column“We hate no-one. We love everyone. We love marriage,” we chanted. Yes, I know, it’s simplistic – but it was effective in portraying our essential message.

So far the prime minister seems as deaf as Nelson’s statue and just as elevated above the real world of ordinary people. If he proceeds with his same-sex marriage legislation we can hope that soon his tenure at No 10 will be history too.

Unequal Marriage 1

the real thingWhat’s in a word?

I’ve told the story before (here) about how, during negotiations with Policy Exchange – David Cameron’s favourite think tank – over the terms of a proposed same-sex marriage debate, they became distinctly frosty when I challenged their assertion that gay marriage should be called ‘equal marriage’ with an insistence that conventional marriage should therefore be called ‘real marriage’.

There was another entertaining incident last month while I stood at the gates of Downing Street. Half a dozen chairmen of local Conservative associations went to the door of No 10 in front of TV cameras to deliver a letter to the prime minister signed by 25 senior party colleagues that protested against the government’s same-sex marriage legislation (here). Peter Tatchell got wind of this, grabbed the opportunity for media publicity and rushed to the gates to bellow his usual hate speech about homophobes at full volume down the length of the historic and world-famous cul-de-sac.

Peter Tatchell outside Downing StreetHe also held up a poster: “End ban on same-sex marriage. Marriage Equality!” it proclaimed. With equivalent Alice-in-Wonderland logic and a wish to flap his wings and fly, he could have urged the government, “End pull of gravity. Bird Equality!”

The gay lobby and their useful idiots in the government and media have brilliantly manipulated the limited public debate about same-sex marriage by capturing the word ‘equality’. But by framing it as an equalities and human rights issue (eg here) they have messed with our language and wilfully disregarded the underlying realities.

male and femaleThe problem is that biology, nature or God (which I prefer, of course) has ensured that a same-sex couple can never undertake the act of marriage no matter how much they love each other or how long they live together. Two men (or two women) are physically unable to be naturally intimate and consummate their union through an activity that unites them and has the potential to reproduce and provide the next generation.

This is the essence of marriage and, further, in its purest ideal it is the private act that follows the public exchange of vows and signing of public documents; it is the intimate deed of physical and spiritual union that on the marriage night completes the coming together of two individuals and engages them in the mystical mathematics of procreation: 1+1 = 1 = 3+. It is consummation which transforms the marriage ceremony from a contract to a covenant.

I’m aware of course that the ideal is more honoured in the breach than the observance as today few couples refrain from sexual relations until the wedding night and many choose to co-habit rather than marry. But, for instance, financial honesty is another ideal that is vital to society’s wellbeing and is enshrined in the nation’s law. The fact that it is breached by everyone from corporate fat-cat tax fiddlers to single mums who falsely claim benefits and students who bunk the bus doesn’t deny the importance of the ideal. We have not (yet) attempted to redefine honesty and make it more inclusive such that fallen former MP Margaret Moran (here) could suddenly find herself re-included in the ranks of the righteous and her court sentence and criminal record scrubbed.

I am also aware that by choice or disability some married couples do not procreate. But this too doesn’t change the marriage ideal or its social value.

Of course two men or two women can have a legally-defined relationship which may or may not be called a civil partnership. A lesbian couple or two spinster sisters may love each other and live together all their adult lives; certainly where necessary the state ought to provide for them by statute. (The state currently and unfairly provides for the first but not the second (here).) But they can no more be married than they can defy gravity.

fruitful unionConsummation is so central to marriage that it too is enshrined in the nation’s law which decrees that marriage is voidable if it is not consummated (here).

This is the crux of the matter: the hard reality is that consummation physically cannot take place except between heterosexuals so the government has been forced to fudge and create a fundamental inequality in its ‘equal marriage’. Through the legislation and unlike heterosexual couples, same-sex couples will be exempted from any need to consummate their ‘marriage’.

So what’s in the word? They are married but not married. They are one but not one. They are the same but not the same. They are equivalent but certainly not equal.

It is Through The Looking-Glass stuff and a socially destructive confusion of the meaning of marriage by the government: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less” (here).

In the next post we will look at other inequalities and the discrimination against minorities that will be created if the Bill becomes law. Meanwhile I’m praying that politically the Dumpty in Downing Street has a great fall over his Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Helping The Tory Haemorrhage

The growing row in the Tory party over gay marriage has been dubbed David Cameron’s Clause Four moment (here), but it isn’t. It’s his Munich moment, aka his Munich betrayal (here).

But there are differences between Neville Chamberlain and David Cameron. The former’s appeasement during that cataclysmic civilisational clash was sincere if misguided; the latter’s treachery on this different but deep civilisational issue is cynical and slickly perfidious. Chamberlain was forced into the Munich pact by Hitler’s aggression and a commendable fear of war; Cameron has freely chosen to aggressively crusade for same-sex marriage (SSM) when there is no need and miniscule demand. The pre-war premier’s democratic credentials and popular support were unquestionable; today’s has neither manifesto mandate nor the legitimacy derived from proper consultation (here).

It also could be Cameron’s Iraq moment. SSM will hopefully become a political lead weight round his neck that the Iraq war became to his model, hero and now public sunken wreck, Tony Blair.

Why? The good news is that Cameron’s gay marriage obsession is generating Tory grass-root rebellion and resignations (here) and recently colleagues and I have been doing our bit to help the haemorrhage of Tory membership. Given the increasing frenzy of shrill pro-SSM media comment, our aim has been simple: to slow down the Cameroon SSM juggernaut and create space for proper reasoned debate.

How can we do that? For the past couple of years I’ve been an active member of the Marriage, Sex and Culture group of Anglican Mainstream (AM), the information resource for the global Anglican Communion (here).

In July Policy Exchange, David Cameron’s favourite think-tank (here), published a pro-SSM report What’s In A Name? (here). It is half-baked, superficial, overtly political and, for ‘the UK’s leading think-tank’ (here), well below standard.

In August and on behalf of AM I challenged Policy Exchange to a fringe debate in front of the Tory faithful at the October Conservative party conference. We intended to demonstrate to the grassroots the weakness of the gay marriage argument. Policy Exchange obligingly picked up the gauntlet and, despite on/off twists and turns and ‘lies and duplicity’ – all recorded in detail on Archbishop Cranmer blog (here) and especially (here) – the debate finally took place (‘a result’, according to Cranmer) at Jury’s Inn in Birmingham. You can watch it (here).

(Incidentally there was a revealing moment during a pre-debate planning meeting. Policy Exchange wanted gay marriage to be called ‘equal marriage’ which implies of course that conventional marriage is unequal or unfair. I countered by insisting that conventional marriage should be termed ‘real marriage’ which implies rightly that SSM is fake and false. The atmosphere dropped from friendly to frosty – but they also dropped their demand.)

As part of AM preparations for the debate one of our group, R S Harris, produced a superb and extensive rebuttal of gay marriage, Is There A Case For Same-Sex Marriage?, now available as an e-book (here) or hard copy from TLB Direct, PO Box 3837, Swindon, SN6 9DS. The book is commended by luminaries like the former Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern, was edited by Lynda Rose (here) and is the first of its kind – you should get a copy.

It argues from the evidence that:

• The concept of ‘equal marriage’ is fundamentally flawed as it presupposes a questionable notion of ‘equality’ and ignores the essential and defining components of conventional marriage.

• Gay marriage falsely treats parenting roles as interchangeable.

• Same-sex marriage wrongly assumes that the benefits of marriage are automatically transferable to same-sex couples who enter the same institution.

• There is no evidence that same-sex couples will benefit from the ‘commitment device’ invoked by marriage.

• Gay marriage introduces a disturbing, unproven and socially risky new norm into society, that children do not need both a mother and father for optimal development, when all the evidence points the other way.

• Same-sex parenting studies are fundamentally flawed in their sample size and methodology when measured against commonly accepted social science standards.

• If ‘love and commitment’ are the sole criterion for marriage then alarming consequences ensue such as the validation of incestuous relationships, as well as the recognition of polygamous and polyamorous relationships as has already begun in countries with SSM.

• Fear of causing offence makes society tread silently around disturbing medical data from both the UK and the US that, like smoking, homosexual activity is intrinsically unhealthy. For instance unlike vaginal lining, rectal lining is unable to withstand penetrative activity without medical damage. The active promotion of gay lifestyle in schools that SSM marriage inevitably entails is medically harmful for our children, especially boys, and costly to the health service.

I led a small team that laboriously searched the internet for the contact details of 350 chairmen of local Conservative associations up and down the country. Early last week we sent them each a copy of the book to provide them the evidence and to fuel more rebellion in the Tory ranks.

Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph ran an article about the opposition from Tory chairmen and the loss of party members to UKIP which opposes gay marriage. “David Cameron is barking mad,” said one (here).

The knives are out. The Tories are bleeding…

‘Bigot’ Bites Back

(Apologies for the delay on this post. It’s two weeks since the Stonewall ‘Bigot’ award but I’ve been away meeting Christians in Nigeria where Islamists Boko Haram are targeting churches and killing Christians across the northern Sharia states in a devastating campaign of religious cleansing. I also took supplies for children orphaned by the atrocities and Aids. More about this later dv.)

Some good news: For years the word ‘bigot’ has had prime place in the left-liberal lexicon of mindless slurs and primitive insults. But the word is becoming a political boomerang and losing its political power.

Conservative church blogger Archbishop Cranmer identifies the original phenomenon – but it was Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown who started turning the tide.

First, the phenomenon. The Archbishop explains: “It hath been found by experience that no matter how decent, intelligent or thoughtful the reasoning of a conservative may be, as an argument with a liberal is advanced, the probability of being accused of ‘bigotry’, ‘hatred’ or ‘intolerance’ approaches 1 (100%)” (here).

Second, the turning of the tide. During the 2010 general election campaign Gordon Brown famously called lifelong Labour supporter Gillian Duffy a ‘bigoted woman’ for raising key issues of immigration and crime (here). Normally of course she would thereby have been damned forever as a xenophobe and Daily Mail reader – but instead the roof fell in on Brown and he was forced into making a humiliating public apology. ‘Bigot’ bites back: Round 1.

Fast forward to early September this year, and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg issued the text of a speech in which he called opponents of gay marriage ‘bigots’ (here). Under a storm of criticism Clegg withdrew the offending word and disgracefully blamed his office minions. ‘Bigot’ bites back: Round 2.

So it was with satisfaction as well as surprise that towards the end of September I received a call from the editor of online magazine The Gay UK (here) informing me that I was one of five nominees for Stonewall’s ‘Bigot of the Year’ award (here). My Church of England Newspaper article Confronting the Gaystapo (here) was the cause of my nomination so I issued the following statement to the magazine and others:

“The Bigot of the Year Award is a vicious name-calling Stonewall annual event that reflects more on the donor than the recipient. By attempting to bully, intimidate, humiliate and spawn hatred of individuals through the Award, Stonewall fully justifies the Gaystapo tag which I gave the organisation and for which apparently I have been nominated. 

“Nonetheless if I win the Award and if Stonewall invite me and permit me without harassment to offer a proper acceptance speech, I plan to attend their Awards dinner and ceremony at the Raphael Gallery on 1st November.” 

Of course faced with high-profile competition from a Cardinal, an Archbishop, a Peer and a Ugandan government minister, I was never going to win.

And Stonewall was never going to allow me to speak at the dinner. It doesn’t do openness, dialogue or indeed justice for those with whom it disagrees.

Meanwhile ‘bigot’ continued to bite back. Round 3 saw Barclays and Coutts threaten to withdraw sponsorship of the Stonewall awards event if the Bigot category continues in next year’s awards (here).

Then, most enlightening of all, Round 4 saw Ruth Davidson MSP, the lesbian leader of the Scottish Tories, criticise the Bigot of the Year award during her speech at the glittering dinner, as a result of which she was booed and jeered off the stage (here) in a surprisingly public display of Stonewall spite and narrow-mindedness. A massive own-goal and ‘bigot’ bites back yet again.

So like the Ouroboros of antiquity, ‘bigot’ is becoming self-devouring and self-defeating. But I‘ve heard Ladbroke is offering odds on Stonewall winning its own award next year…

The Gay Marriage Game

I hear the governing body of American football IAFA is demanding that they merge with and adopt the name of global football’s governing body FIFA.

They have told FIFA president Sepp Blatter that they too play football, that theirs too is a healthy outdoor team sport, that their supporters – while admittedly a small global minority restricted to North America – are just as passionate about their game, and that an IAFA name-change and merger with FIFA would give global recognition to American football and show the world it is exactly the same as conventional football.

Politicians and policy-makers at FIFA are sometimes corrupt, frequently foolish and certainly weak enough to be swayed by the decibel level of the noise accompanying the American demands.

Ordinary football supporters on terraces around the world know that the two games are different. But the Americans say they will just have to get over it.

 

Gay Marriage And Stonewall Claptrap

Top of my manifesto when I stood for London Mayor in 2008 was the promotion of “marriage and stable family as a long-term solution to youth crime, educational underachievement and child poverty.”

Top of my manifesto when I stood for Newham Mayor in 2006 was the promotion of “marriage-based family and parental responsibility – for our children’s sake.”

An MP told me a few years ago that it was politically impossible to mention the M word in the House of Commons during the Blair years as an argument in favour of marriage was immediately vilified as an attack on vulnerable single mums.

Life has moved on, and today the defence of conventional marriage is vilified as a homophobic attack on gays and lesbians. That’s nonsense of course, but it’s notable that the whole out-of-touch London political elite – all three party leaders and all four main candidates for London mayor – have swallowed wholesale and undiscerningly the Stonewall claptrap that gay marriage is about equality.

So I’m doing my bit and sending out this email:

“There is a war going on at the heart of the nation. The political establishment, having fragmented our strong rich and cohesive Christianised culture by promoting corrosive relativism and silo multiculturalism, is now planning to fracture the bedrock social ideal of marriage as a life-long union of a man and a woman.

‘Gay marriage’ is not a human rights or equalities issue as civil partnerships fulfil those requirements. Rather it’s a deep cultural and ideological – even civilisational – war over a word, a war declared unilaterally by the power-hungry intolerant and insatiable Stonewall Gaystapo et al.

Conventional marriage was “ordained for the procreation of children” and is easily the most stable, healthy and committed domestic environment in which to bring up the next generation, our future. On the other hand and by definition, gay marriage cannot be about procreation – nor about nurturing the next generation.

Rather gay relationships are a sexual and generational dead-end which of course people should be free to choose if they wish. But they should not be used to redefine and undermine society’s time-tested fundamental institution of marriage.

Furthermore, once gay marriage is conceded to the miniscule minority who will actually tie the gay knot, there is logically no argument against the legalisation of Islamic polygamous marriage for which there is already significant demand in the UK. Then, logically, what’s to stop group marriage and even marriage to other mammals? All bets and brakes are off.

Women’s rights campaigners never argued that women should have the right to be called ‘men’. But gay campaigners insist on the right to be called ‘married’. They are clearly not on about claiming equal rights. They are campaigning to capture someone else’s word and idea. It’s an ideological battle pure and simple. And it’s at the heart of our national culture and a vital key to our future.

Please urgently sign the petition at the Coalition For Marriage website: www.C4M.org.uk

 Please also forward this to your friends and contacts. Many thanks, Alan”

It’s encouraging that, to date, over 400,000 people have signed the petition (here). There’s a grassroots groundswell against redefining marriage but, guess what? The political establishment, in awe of London’s left-leaning and loaded luvvy liberal elite, aren’t yet listening.