“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is an ass – an idiot.”
Mr Bumble’s dismissal of the legal system in Charles Dickens’ story of Oliver Twist came immediately to mind – but with the word ‘law’ amended to ‘judge’ – when I read last week that Britain’s most senior family court judge has argued that we should celebrate the demise of the traditional family unit and the growth of alternative domestic arrangements.
Indeed, “callously asinine” and “heartlessly idiotic” are more accurate descriptions of the outspoken judge’s views.
Sir James Munby is not the first of the UK’s American-style politicised judges who in recent years have jettisoned judicial neutrality in favour of further promoting the prevailing liberal agenda.
Neither is he the first to reject the intact two-parent family and to celebrate new flexible forms of ‘family’ that have developed – or been imported – over the past half-century.
The modern family has been defined as ‘a group of people who share a fridge’. Certainly an array of relationships is now on offer as ‘family’ – single parents, gay couples, threesomes (or ‘thruples’), temporary marriages, open and monogamish marriages, group and polygamous marriages. In California unsurprisingly, a man married his dog.
The government helped the decline of traditional marriage when it announced during the 2013 gay marriage debate that adultery would no longer be grounds for divorce. Undermining the traditional promise of faithfulness ‘till death do us part’, Baroness Stowell told the House of Lords in effect that modern couples are welcome to ignore their marriage vows and to get out and play the field. Legally, adultery is not now an issue.
But research confirms what common sense indicates, that on average children do best – socially, educationally, and health-wise – when they are nurtured by both birth parents who are committed to each other by marriage. This is not to say that single parents, for instance, cannot do a good job; after WW2 many widows were forced to bring up their children alone.
But children flourish best where there is stability, commitment and the unique love-bond that only both birth parents can give. When parents split, and when new partners are introduced into the home, the adverse impact on children’s sense of security and wellbeing is immense.
Tellingly, a previous family court judge has come to exactly the opposite conclusions to Sir James, and was virtually forced off the judges’ bench for saying so:
Sir Paul Coleridge served on the Family Division bench for fourteen years, from where day by day he saw the misery of fractured families and broken relationships. Instead of celebrating the resulting new forms of family, he twice spoke out publicly about the tragic decline of marriage, the peripheral relevance of same-sex marriage and the scourge of family breakdown; and in 2013 he was disciplined by the Judicial Conduct Office for action “incompatible with his judicial responsibilities”.
He promptly resigned and set up the Marriage Foundation to tackle this “national tragedy” by promoting long-lasting stable relationships within marriage. The organisation now has growing influence as it publishes reliable research into the personal and social cost of fracturing families and the benefits of long-term stable marriages.
Sir James of course will not be disciplined by the JCO because, unlike Sir Paul, he speaks slickly into the prevailing politically-correct anti-marriage zeitgeist.
But two opposite-sex married parents who prioritise their children’s wellbeing has, for good reason, been the healthy norm for flourishing families and the bedrock of a successful society for millennia, at least in Britain.
If we listen to Sir James, children will continue to suffer and society will continue its descent into selfish, isolated and dystopian individualism.
If we listen to Sir Paul, we can rescue wholesome family life and produce healthy nurturing social relationships, through which the next and succeeding generations will prosper.
Guess which judge issues the better judgement…
This post was first published by Kipper Central on 7th June