On Tuesday, 11thDecember, as we had warned the previous week, the government announced its plans to legalise same-sex marriage. Up till a few days before we had thought there would be no announcement regarding any Bill till early in 2013, but it would appear the government has gone into panic mode, and decided to fast track their plans.
Voice for Justice UK and Anglican Mainstream had already been working on producing R.S.Harris’ powerful and scholarly critique of the issues involved, ‘Is there a case for same-sex marriage?’ But we had been working on the assumption we would have till the new year to get it published and sent out to all Parliamentarians, so in order to ensure that that MPs get to hear all sides of the argument, we too went into fast track mode.
I am very happy to report, we did it!!!
On the Monday before the announcement (now brought forward by another two days!), the books were hot off the presses, and the race began to get them packaged and ready for dispatch by six o’clock the following morning: all so that a copy could be in the hands of every Member of the Commons and House of Lords by the start of the day’s business!
I think the angels (both spiritual and corporeal) were working overtime that day, because somehow we managed it, and I believe we are already starting to see fruit. But clearly this remains a major battle that is going to last for some time, andVfJUK is committed to carrying on the fight.
Why does it matter?
For a start, the government has no mandate to attempt such radical redefinition. There was no indication of this in any of the party manifestoes prior to the last election, and for the past two thousand years marriage has been foundational to the organization of Western society. But of course the history of marriage and ‘family’ goes far beyond even that, and is based on the idea of lifelong union between one man and one woman, for their mutual support, and for the raising of any children that result from their union. As well as providing the best framework for childhood development, it was a way of maintaining social stability, and minimising sexual disputes and the exploitation of vulnerable women. But even more importantly, for Christians marriagecontains at its heart an ontological statement of the nature of men and women, and of our relationship to each other, and to God. It is a sacrament, and it cannot be redefined without also reframing the being and existence of God.