The basic issue in the same-sex couples bill is “What is marriage?” The bill renders marriage a genderless institution since any combination of two adults will do. When a child is born there is always mother around. The question is, where is the father? The bill sends out the message that fathers are dispensable for children. It completely de-couples marriage from procreation, consummation and adultery. Once marriage is redefined and reduced to only an intimate relationship, on what logical basis could the law turn away three people who say they want  to get married?

Government has a strong interest in supporting man-woman marriage because that has been shown to be the best context for raising children who grow up to be good citizens for the next generation. Traditional marriage is recognised for sound reasons in public policy and the Government has no business in redefining it.

Are children to be in born in random arrangements or are they to be conceived in a permanent relationship where the mother and father love each other as much as they love their child? 'Other arrangements' on average put much greater burdens on the state which so often has to step in and provide cash and care.

Churches should not be fooled by the suggestion of legal protection. This will certainly be challenged in the name of “equality”.  Neither should they be fooled by the suggestion that any future government would safeguard such “protections”. The great danger is that people who believe in traditional marriage will be punished for their views in their careers and in accessing public services such as fostering or adoption. Government has no business in redefining marriage.

Dr Philip Giddings (Convenor) and Canon Dr Chris Sugden (Secretary) write for Anglican Mainstream.

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