Lord Carey has criticised aggressive secularism as threatening the benefits of marriage in society by pursuing gay marriage to the point of persecuting Christians who are against such people and peccadillos taking place in everyday life whether staying at a Bed and Breakfast or professing their love in a legally binding way. In the Daily Mail article, he has chosen the weekend of the redemption and salvation of humanity to suggest that we are in danger of societal breakdown as a transmutation of heterosexual marriage occurs if gay people can say “I do”.
Lord Carey was Archbishop of the Church of England from 1991 – the same year that marital rape became illegal in England – to 2002. In that most sacred of unions a husband did not need full consent of his wife to have sex with her – it was a right before 1991 to rape her. I doubt that Carey argued at the time this would change the nature of marriage to it’s detriment. However, consenting homosexuals marrying now apparently will:
As David Cameron knows, I am very suspicious that behind the plans to change the nature of marriage, which come before the House of Lords soon, there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society together for time immemorial.
By dividing marriage into religious and civil the Government threatens the church and state link which they purport to support. But they also threaten to empty marriage of its fundamental religious and civic meaning as an institution orientated towards the upbringing of children.
How the glue will come unstuck if gay people marry is unclear – it is true that their union may not produce genetically their own children – though as “Milk” says God knows they try. However, this misses another crucial reason people marry: recognition both civically and legally of the relationship between two people. The rights such as to see your loved one in hospital, inherit an estate, if the relationship breaks down legal address. In this sense the recognition of gay long term relationships is about understanding human nature and equality of citizens in legal situations. That supersedes the right of anyone to discriminate on basis of sexuality or moral authority on what nature should be.
Carey wants registers to be able to refuse to marry same sex couples. This misses crucial part of current legislation that allows religious protection (say on serving alcohol) if not part of job description without being sacked or disciplined – I am using that as a real life example in an entertainment leisure setting. If the state redefines marriage than it has changed the legal definition rather than the job description. This is not about creating a new institution – it is about espousing the institution of marriage as the union of two people.
Churches do not have to perform same sex marriages, but civil authorities will and there is no opt out for their register employees. Just as there is not if an interfaith or interracial marriage they may disagree with for religious reasons. Some are trying to argue that line of argument is wrong because gay marriage is a new institution; rather as I argue extending legal rights to same sex couples that different sex couples already have, but within an existing institution. Civic officials have no right to refuse citizens what they are legally entitled to. If that is aggressive thinking, perhaps you are being too defensive in being against rights.
The only way to argue gay marriage is so different is to suggest there is something perverse about same sex couples wanting legal means of recognition for their relationship in the way different sex couples can. In the telegraph link above the blogger recognises as I do this is the main point to stress in the debate rather than a direct comparison to interracial marriage struggle in the USA. If you call homosexuality wrong, unnatural, a sin against God, then you have revealed your fascination with this sin makes you want to stop others who rather enjoy it being happy. The pursuit of happiness is a natural right that trumps others’ bigotry preventing.
Perhaps some may want an accommodation made: registers can refuse same sex weddings, not call gay unions marriage but civil partnerships, not give same entitlements (eg pensions and welfare benefits) to gay couples. The crucial point in staying the course is that two people that love one another and want their relationship recognised with legal protections and rights they would otherwise not have, and publicly declare the status of their relationship, should be allowed. With or without giving birth to children.
That Lord Carey did not even try to address that point, or suggest how Christians should feel about the love that dare not speak it’s name, is one reason why he does not just lack the authority of office. Stressing the idea of fertility at this time suggests a more pagan idea to human rights at Easter.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog