Mar 16, 2012
neil

Gay marriage? It’s a stupid distraction from the main war

Peter Hitchens has written an interesting piece in this weeks Spectator (sadly not available to read on-line) in which he argues that those who are opposing gay marriage are fighting the wrong battle. It is in his words ‘a stupid distraction from the main war’.

Rather than form coalitions to oppose the tiny number of gay men and women seeking to marry (relative that is to heterosexual couples) we need to face up to the fact that

‘The real zone of battle, a vast 5,000 mile front along which the forces of righteousness have retreated without counter-attacking for nearly 50 years, involves the hundreds of thousands of marriages undermined by ridiculously easy divorce, the millions of children hurt by those divorces and the increasing multitudes of homes where parents, single or in couples, have never been married at all and never will be.’

There is a lot that is right with this argument but what Hitchens overlooks is that the gay marriage argument is not really an argument about gay marriage at all. It is an argument about every marriage and an argument about gender.

1)It is an argument about every marriage. If the law is changed then that changes marriage for everybody.  My marriage of 18 years is overnight redefined.

Not least it means that the centuries old, universal, understanding that marriage is inextricably linked with children will be broken for ever.  This has unseen and probably unintended consequences that I will explore in a future post.  But let it be known now that the redefinition of marriage will cause much harm to our children and children’s children.

2) It is an argument about the eradification of gender.

Perhaps the very last place where difference between gender is recognised is in the institution of marriage. When this is gone the language of male and female, husband and wife, father and mother will be gone, perhaps for ever.

So I share Hitchens concern – where have we been for the past 40 years? But also appeal for a recognition that there are bigger things at stake than the right or not of a few thousand gay couples per year to marry.

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