Cardinal O’Brien, the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, denounced the idea, accusing ministers of 'intolerance' over measures that he considers would 'shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world'. The cardinal argued that 'this is not about rights, but is rather an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists'. Gay campaigner Peter Tatchell believes that 'gay marriage is about love and commitment. These are Christian values, so I don’t understand why the cardinal objects to gay couples getting married. Churches have redefined marriage in the past. They no longer oppose divorce and the remarriage of divorced couples. There is no reason why marriage should not be redefined to include lesbian and gay couples'.
Opinion polls have shown majority support for this redefinition of marriage, although a sizeable minority remain hostile. Unfortunately most of the debate has centred on the issues of equality and religious freedom, largely ignoring the most important aspect of marriage, the interests of children. Some critics have complained that the proposal for same sex marriage did not appear in any of the major parties’ manifestos. However, none of the changes over the past fifty years which have transformed the nature of marriage, or given additional rights to homosexuals, were included in earlier manifestos.
Until relatively recently, in every country throughout history, marriage has always been between a man and a woman. The main argument made in support of same sex marriage is one of fairness and equality between homosexual and heterosexual couples, since same sex relationships can be as equally loving and long lasting as those between people of the opposite sex. However, legislation can never make equal what biology has made unequal, namely that heterosexual couples can procreate, whereas homosexual couples cannot.
Marriage, if taken seriously, demonstrates a clear responsibility and commitment by both husband and wife to the upbringing of children, which is recognised by the state and wider society. The purpose of marriage is not a recognition by society of a couple’s love towards one another. It instead should be recognition by the state and wider society of a couple’s commitment to stay together, thus ensuring a stable and loving environment in which their children can be raised. Easy divorce, which prioritises the relationship between parents over the interests of children, has drastically undermined marriage, created broken families and diminished the life chances of millions of children. It is an odd fact that liberals, who show the least concern over marriage breakdown, are usually the most enthusiastic advocates of same sex marriage.
It is no doubt the case that there are many same sex couples who have a loving, long term commitment to one another. However, this should be a matter of no concern to wider society or the state. What is of concern is that a married man and woman are committed to staying together to raise children until they are of an age to look after themselves. Whether the parents are still in love or are faithful to one another, although desirable, is secondary to the main concern, namely providing a secure and stable home for their children.
Since homosexuals cannot procreate, and should not (other than in exceptional circumstances) be responsible for the raising of children, it follows that so called homosexual marriage is purposeless and pointless, and any arguments in its favour are based on the fallacy that a sterile homosexual relationship has the same societal validity as a fulfilling heterosexual union that will allow the procreation of children. The reason why homosexuals should not raise children is because the upbringing of children is better served by being raised by a father and a mother, as nature intended, who each bring their own distinctive qualities and characteristics into the child rearing role, a significant advantage which same sex couples clearly cannot provide.
Predictably, some of the more sanctimonious supporters of same sex marriage have insultingly branded their opponents as bigots and 'homophobes' the latter a Marxist inspired word the purpose of which is to denigrate critics, stifle debate and self proclaim their own supposed superior moral virtue. It is to be hoped that further consideration of this legislation will focus more on the real purpose of marriage and what will most benefit children, and less on attempting to appease a small, vocal and politically privileged sexual minority, seeking an impossible equality. Marriage is far too important an institution to be devalued by attempting to normalise relationships which by their nature are intrinsically and fundamentally abnormal.