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David Burrowes MP leads Opposition to Same Sex Marriage with new ResPublica Rpeort

4th February 2013

  • ResPublica

Marriage Bill undermines meaning of marriage say Phillip Blond and Roger Scruton

The Government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill compromises the meaning of both traditional heterosexual marriage and homosexual partnership, says a new publication from the think tank ResPublica ahead of the Parliamentary debate on the Bill on Tuesday 5th February.

Written by Phillip Blond and Roger Scruton, Marriage: Union for the future or contract for the present argues marriage is inescapably heterosexual as it is an institution designed to deal with the consequences of heterosexual union, namely children. And since marriage creates the best possible environment for the well-being and future development of children and the women who bear them, marriage is both the most progressive and the most conservative institution we have.

Yet traditional conjugal marriage is under threat from a weaker conception of marriage that promotes a partnership that does not extend beyond the self-interests of the couple.

Traditional conjugal marriage connects the bond between men and women to a future beyond themselves when they bring up children and prepare them for the world.

The Bill undermines heterosexual marriage because it extends an institution that was designed exclusively for heterosexuals to non-heterosexuals. Just as Judaism would not survive an extension to non-Jews or charities a change to profit making activity, so heterosexual marriage will not survive an extension to homosexuals.

Maintaining this definition of marriage, the publication argues, is not to discriminate against homosexual relationships, or exclude such couples from cultural acceptance. Same sex marriage is homophobic insofar as it suggests that gay people need to mimic heterosexual institutions in order to be equal and accepted. We need something that recognises and celebrates gay people on their own terms. Civil partnerships, while offering every right that marriage presently offers, lack public recognition and celebration.

The ResPublica report therefore recommends that:

  • The Government should leave marriage as it currently is. Marriage is a pro-child institution that acts as social insurance against increasing numbers of abandoned children and an on-going rise in lone motherhood. The fact that marriage will be redefined so that children and the creation of new life will no longer be part of marriage seriously undermines this. If we change the meaning of marriage, it will no longer be marriage.
  • To the Churches, we recommend that they should consider offering not civil partnerships but civil unions to same sex couples as a celebration and recognition of the transition from partnership into permanence. The Church and other faith groups should recognise not just that homosexual persons are as they are, but that they are owed recognition and direction for the permanent relationships they choose.

Phillip Blond, co-author and Director of ResPublica, said today:

“The Marriage Bill fundamentally undermines the meaning of marriage. The primary purpose of conjugal marriage is to provide a stable environment for raising children – this purpose would be completely lost by the proposed redefinition and would be a disaster for progressive and conservatives alike. Same sex couples deserve recognition for the life-long commitments they make to each other. But this shouldn’t come at the expense of traditional conjugal marriage. What is needed is for Government to recognise and protect the unique heterosexual nature of marriage and for religious groups to recognise that a permanent and loving homosexual relationship should have recognition and celebration in Church.”

Professor Roger Scruton, co-author and philosopher said:

” Marriage has traditionally been understood as matrimony, the relation between one mamn and one woman which has motherhood as its foreseen result. It is based in the deep recognition of sexual difference and all that the two sexes bring to each other. It cannot be reduced to a contract between the partners, since it is the way in which one generation makes way for and cares for its successor. More than any other institution, society depends on marriage for its future, and no government should meddle with marriage without having the most serious of reasons – reasons far more serious than those so far given.”

Press enquiries to press@respublica.org.uk.

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