Monday, July 22, 2013

Same-sex marriage: 'Contrived deadlines'

Only minor changes were allowed in the same-sex marriage bill, passed in the House of Lords on Monday, approved in the House of Commons on Tuesday and given royal assent on Wednesday.

Why all the intransigence, and why all the haste? What can be the explanation for the rush?

In Monday's third reading debate in the Lords, Lord Framlingham said: "The questions that many are asking are: why now and why the haste? 

"The simple truth is that the coalition Government have colluded with equal love campaigners and the European Court of Human Rights in bringing a case - an appeal - against our country’s long-established and settled position on marriage. There was a suggestion - some would call it a threat - that if legislation were not brought forward by June this year then changes would be forced on us.

"The House of Lords library tells me that as legislation is proceeding the case in the European Court of Human Rights will probably not now be pursued. What outrageous, behind-the-scenes arm-twisting.

"The result is that not one meaningful amendment has been accepted, not because none has been worthwhile but for the sake of entirely contrived deadlines, which suit campaigners in a hurry and a Government who want it off their plate well before the next general election. How cynical and how dangerous.

"Given the huge effect the bill, if passed, will have on millions of people, what an abuse of the parliamentary system to put speed before truth. So many important issues causing great concern have been left unresolved and hanging in the air, such as the effect on teachers, faith schools, the issue of adultery, consummation, the effect on registrars, which has already been referred to, and the use of premises - issues touching the lives of thousands every day, not to mention the effect on marriage itself.

“Those of us who have sat through all the stages of the bill and have watched the Government knock down amendment after amendment have despaired at their intransigence. This House prides itself on being a revising chamber. On this bill it has been a bulldozer. We are being used to bulldoze through an ill thought through bill, the ramifications of which the people have not begun to understand.

"All great issues are essentially very simple. We make them complicated when we do not want to face them or when we are anxious to hide their true meaning and purpose. This bill is built entirely on pretence. It pretends that there is no difference between a man and a woman. From this deceit have sprung all the problems we have been wrestling with - problems we have failed to resolve and which will bedevil generations to come. How can we possibly give our blessing to legislation built on pretence?”

In France there have been massive demonstrations in protest at the approval of same-sex marriage. Complaints about police violence, including the use of tear gas against peaceful demonstrators, have been made to the UN Human Rights Council. Videos show police using tear gas and clubs against elderly, women and children.

Le Figaro estimates that police have brutalised and arrested 1,000 pro-family demonstrators, with 500 detentions. Police were said to be increasingly complaining at being used to oppress pro-family demonstrators.

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