Tuesday 14 May 2013

Same-sex marriage is "policy by magic", hear parliamentarians

Changing the law to allow same-sex marriage is "policy by magic", parliamentarians heard yesterday in an expert briefing. Proponents are claiming that the change will benefit marriage in general, but this is wishful thinking and not evidence-based.

MPs and Lords gathered yesterday in Parliament for the official launch of a scholarly analysis of same-sex marriage in various countries by Patricia Morgan, a leading social scientist and family policy expert. Parliamentarians and other interested parties were briefed with arguments prior to next week's Commons Report stage and 3rd reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The Bill is expected to be debated in the Lords very soon. The launch was hosted and chaired by Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and organised by SPUC.

Patricia Morgan's paper "What happens to marriage and families where the law recognises 'same-sex marriage'?" can be read in full at www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssmsub20130301 She is a leading researcher on family policy and author of numerous books and scholarly papers on marriage and the state. She has researched the effect on marriage when same-sex marriage legislation is introduced. She has produced the "What happens to marriage..." paper for SPUC, based on research and data from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and the US and Canada.

Dr Morgan told the meeting that same-sex marriage in various countries is being promoted by the same people who have facilitated the decline of marriage generally over recent decades. Legislators and officials, having used law and public policy to undermine the conjugal model of marriage, are now seeking to debase marriage further by redefining it as a genderless relationship.

In Sweden, the authorities have conducted a campaign of massive public re-education and forced the state church to perform genderless marriage ceremonies. In Spain, the terms 'mother' and 'father' have been replaced in birth certificates with the terms 'progenitor A' and 'progenitor B'.

There has been a low uptake of same-sex marriage in various countries, explained Dr Morgan. In the Netherlands, the number of same-sex marriages conducted has fallen from 2,500 in 2001 to 1,355 in 2011. Same-sex marriages are often short-lived and have higher rates of dissolution than heterosexual marriages. In Scandanavia, nearly 50% of same-sex unions are between nationals and non-nationals, suggesting that many same-sex unions may be unions of convenience for immigration purposes. These facts expose the false claim that same-sex marriage will rejuvenate the institution of marriage generally.

Dr Morgan argued that same-sex marriage advocates cherry-pick their statistics and fail to explain how same-sex marriage is going to rejuvenate marriage, which faces decline due to increasing rates of cohabitation and divorce. In fact, parliamentarians are being misled into supporting a bill which will contribute to the evisceration of the rationale for state recognition of marriage, which is the best interests of children.

Lord Carey expressed his appreciation for the high quality of Dr Morgan's research and for the work of SPUC in organising the meeting. He quoted the Book of Proverbs, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set", arguing that the heterosexual nature of marriage is a timeless institution which we must uphold.

Toward the end of the meeting, I told the parliamentarians present SPUC has an interest in defending marriage on two main grounds: An increasing body of robust research shows that children do better when brought up by their biological father and mother who are committed to each other in marriage; and in the UK, babies conceived outside of marriage are about four to five times more likely to be aborted than those conceived within marriage.

Patricia Morgan's research indicates that as marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, this reinforces the idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood; and that same-sex marriage may begin the process of severing marriage from family in otherwise family-friendly societies such as Spain and The Netherlands.

Legalising same-sex marriage is not about removing an 'inequity' in the law, as Lord Fowler said last Wednesday in the debate on the Queen's Speech. It is about the destruction of the oldest human institution in the world which protects the mental and physical wellbeing of men, women and children. Future generations of children will simply not know that the natural habitat for children is the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman as a permanent exclusive union. I concluded by expressing my hope that the parliamentarians present will be successful in persuading their colleagues to reject completely the government's bill.

SPUC has published a position paper on same-sex marriage – explaining why SPUC campaigns for real marriage, and a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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