Posts Tagged ‘Same Sex Marriage’

As a piece of policy-making, same sex marriage sets a bad precedent

24/05/2013, 07:00:40 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Putting aside the question of whether same sex marriage is a modest extension of equal rights for gay and lesbian couples or the handcart society will be pushed to hell in – and judged purely as an exercise in policy-making – this week has been a disaster.

The refrain that the measure was not in any party’s manifesto at the last election and didn’t even make it into the coalition’s programme for government is no less important given the frequency with which it’s cited as a grievance by opponents of the bill.

Neither, for that matter, was there a green paper to allow proper deliberation; just a rushed public consultation, which saw a significant majority of respondents strongly opposed to the idea.  And as it now stands, the legislation is lopsided with the failure to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.

Moreover, the law of unintended consequences means most religious communities who opposed the encroachment of the state into their affairs are left with threadbare assurances they will be unaffected by the change. Case law will in due course ensure that they are.

The church hall test will see priests and vicars forced to defend a policy of letting heterosexual couples use their premises while barring gays and lesbians. Meanwhile the charitable status of religious organisations who do not readily accept this new definition of equality will be endlessly challenged. The culture war will rage long after this week passes.


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