Sunday 26 December 2010

Made In Hell

From the Prime Minister who wanted to give Peter Tatchell a peerage comes the proposal for "gay marriage". This proposal would be rejected by Barack Obama, and it was rejected by the voters of California and Florida on the same day as they gave their Electoral College votes to Obama.

Unlike a civil partnership, which therefore ought not to be restricted to unrelated same-sex couples, a marriage has to be consummated. The Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith (the present title is not the one conferred by the Pope on Henry VIII, but the one conferred by a Protestant Parliament on his son, Edward VI) could not have signed a Bill which, for the first time, actually required, in order to receive some legal benefit or privilege, engagement in sexual relations other than those between one man and one woman in marriage. The Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith still cannot do so.

Still, we should seize the opportunity to propose something better. The extension to relatives of the right to contract civil partnerships. The entitlement of each divorcing spouse to one per cent of the other's estate for each year of marriage, up to 50 per cent, and the disentitlement of the petitioning spouse unless fault be proved, thereby restoring the situation whereby, by recognising adultery and desertion as faults in divorce cases, society declared in law its disapproval of them even though they were not in themselves criminal offences.

The entitlement of any marrying couple to register their marriage as bound by the law prior to 1969 as regards grounds and procedures for divorce, and to enable any religious organisation to specify that any marriage which it conducts shall be so bound, requiring it to counsel couples accordingly. And the statutory specification that the Church of England be such a body unless the General Synod specifically resolve the contrary by a two-thirds majority in all three Houses, with something similar for the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, which also exist pursuant to Acts of Parliament, as well as by amendment to the legislation relating to the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy.

That would be a start, anyway.

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