Wednesday, September 19, 2012

'Bigots,' 'lunatics' and homosexual marriage

Despite a petition with more than half-a-million signatures protesting at moves to legalise same-sex marriage, Prime Minister David Cameron says he is "absolutely determined" to go ahead with legalising it.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg reportedly thinks people who do not agree with homosexual marriage are bigots. (The word was included in a draft of a speech Nick Clegg was to give which was issued to the media and later withdrawn.)

Veteran broadcaster Roger Bolton said that in the modern culture of broadcasting, anyone who opposed homosexual marriage was treated as a lunatic if it was because of his or her religious beliefs.

The petition I mentioned in the first paragraph was organised by Coalition for Marriage - who incidentally are organising a sell-out rally with Ann Widdecombe and Lord Carey as speakers at Birmingham City Hall on the day of the Chancellor's speech at the Conservative Party conference. The same Coalition for Marriage commissioned a legal opinion on the implications of homosexual marriage and liberty of conscience from Aidan O'Neill QC, a leading human rights lawyer.

He said that if same-sex marriage were legalised

* A hospital, armed forces or university chaplain who preached that marriage was only for one man and one woman could be disciplined by his employer, even if he were preaching in his own church in his own time.

* A school would be within its legal rights to sack a primary school teacher who refused to use a recommended storybook about homosexual marriage because it was against her religious beliefs.

* Parents would not have the right to insist for deeply-held religious reasons that their child be withdrawn from school lessons on the history of homosexual marriage.

* A church which would conduct only opposite-sex marriages could be stopped from hiring council-owned property.

* A ban by churches on homosexual weddings in church could be overturned under European human rights laws. Churches, in general, would be better protected from hostile litigation if they stopped holding weddings altogether.

* Because the Church of England is the established state church, the UK Government could be in breach of human rights laws if it allowed the Church of England to refuse homosexual weddings. The church would be in a safer position if it were disestablished.

* If homosexual marriage became law then it would have to be taught as part of sex education.

Legalising same-sex marriage would not be the end. Judging by what has happened elsewhere, legalising same-sex marriage would be followed by further demands, like allowing three or more people to marry each other and decriminalising incest.

Is it time, do you think, for 'bigots' and 'lunatics' to take a firm stand?