Rallying for Marriage Across the Pond

by Maggie Gallagher

At a rally opposing gay marriage in Trafalgar Square yesterday, one speaker said this: “Legislation is being driven by people who want to bring health and order and stability to all relationships. Only one creature has been known to calm men down into faithful and stable relationships since the dawn of time — a woman.”

He also argued forcefully against the claim that gay marriage is about private liberty: 

The arguments advanced for the same-sex couples bill are based on one claim. That claim is that feelings of being discriminated against for homosexual behavior must determine what everyone else is allowed to do. So the law must be used to suppress the traditional understanding of marriage because that makes homosexual people feel different and excluded.

He goes on:

Gender is being taken out of marriage on the grounds of equality. This is a new sort of equality – no one must be given any reason for feeling unequal to anyone else. This new equality trumps everything. No rights can be sustained in face of its claims. There is no place for a bill of rights or rights of conscience or freedom of belief. The state is then asked to use the law to enforce its view of genderless marriage. And we are asked to pay the five billion pounds that it will cost to bring this in.

This is why the same-sex couples bill gives no reasonable accommodation to public servants such as registrars who would not wish to conduct same sex marriage. Anyone employed or regulated by the state will also be denied reasonable accommodation. Are you a doctor, are you a nurse, are you a social worker, are you psychiatrist, are you a counsellor, are you a therapist, are you a youth worker? Though others may be able to carry out your duties in areas involving same-sex marriage, you will be required to carry them out on pain of dismissal. You will have to be prepared to accept that same-sex marriage is normal even though you might believe that same-sex marriage is not marriage.

Are you a teacher? You will have to explain same-sex marriage to children. Do you work in a school or a care home? Do you receive charitable status or accreditation from the government? You will have to comply. You will not be given reasonable accommodation. Roman Catholic adoption agencies were not given reasonable accommodation — neither will you. Legal challenges will pursue anyone who does anything else than accept same-sex behaviour and same-sex marriage as anything else but a societal norm.

We stand here for liberty. Liberty encourages families, civil organizations, community associations and religious bodies to promote the common good. Liberty limits the state’s role of enforcement. Liberty is at the heart of a healthy society where people are free to help each other with public care and private love.