Gay marriage was introduced into Britain, and it’s now been the law of the land for a year. A morbid anniversary of failure, a far from happy birthday. The Church of England has been placed in an incredibly difficult position, particularly because the Archbishop of Canterbury is an evangelical and has long been opposed to full same-sex marriage. The Muslim community is further distanced from the mainstream, and is incredulous at the decision. As for Roman Catholics, Britain is only 8% Catholic and in some regions the number falls to below 5 per cent. They are already facing persecution if they remain faithful and oppose the redefinition of marriage.
All of these groups will experience a severely challenging future, but they need to know, if they are to grasp the complete picture, that the deconstruction of marriage began not with the Gay community asking for the right to marry but with the heterosexual world rejecting it. The term “common-law marriage” said it all. Marriage is many things but it is never common. Yet with this semantic and legal revolution, desire and convenience replaced commitment and dedication. The qualifications, so to speak, were lowered. Goodness me they were lowered.
And one does indeed have to qualify for marriage; just as one has, for example, to qualify for a pension or a military medal. People who have not reached the age of retirement don’t qualify for a pension, people who don’t serve in the armed forces don’t qualify for a military medal. It’s not a question of equality but requirement. A human right is intrinsic, a social institution is not.
The four great and historic qualifications have always been number, gender, age and blood. Two people, male and female, over a certain age and not closely related. Responsible and moderate societies have sometimes changed the age of maturity but incest has always been condemned and, by its nature, died out because of retardation. As for polygamy, it’s making something of a comeback partly because of gay marriage.
Whenever this is mentioned we are accused of using the slippery slope argument. Sorry, some slopes are slippery. Polygamy is an ancient tradition within Islam – and was in Sephardic Judaism and some Asian cultures – and when the precedent of gay marriage is combined with the freedom of religion defence, the courts will have a difficult time rejecting it.
At the moment the Muslim community is not sufficiently politically comfortable to pursue the issue and the clearly deranged polygamous sects on the aesthetic as well as geographical fringes of society obscure any reasonable debate. But the argument will certainly come and the result is largely inevitable. If love is the only criterion for marriage who are we to judge the love between a man and his wives?
The state, though, has a duty to judge and to do so based on its own interests. The most significant of which is its continued existence, meaning that we have to produce children. As procreation is the likely, if not essential, result of marriage between a man and a woman it is in the interests of the state to encourage marriage.
Of course lesbian couples can have an obliging friend assist them in having a baby, and gay men can adopt or have some other obliging friend have one for them, but this is hardly the norm and hardly going to guarantee the longevity of a stable society. Just as significant, it smashes the fundamental concept of a child being produced through an act of love. The donation of bodily fluid by an anonymous person, or that obliging friend again, is an act not of love but of lust, indifference or profit.
For the first time in world history we are purposefully creating and legitimizing families where there will be either no male or no female role model and parent. Anyone who speaks of uncles, aunts, communities and villages raising children has no real understanding of family life. Single-parent families exist and are sometimes excellent and, obviously, not every mother/father family is a success. But to consciously create unbalanced families where children can never enjoy the profound difference between man and woman, mother and father, is dangerous social engineering.
So, compassion all round but logic and truth too. And genuine compassion is not the same as blandly saying yes to every demand and desire that someone expresses. Love, sex, and marriage have consequences and meaning and I fear that the results of this latest social experiment in the country of my birth and upbringing are only just beginning. We have already seen the mess in Canada, we are witnessing the early stages of it in the United States, and now for the nation that stood almost alone against monstrous dictatorship less than 75 years ago. God save Britain, but God help her as well.