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End of Adultery and more now?

2 Feb

A section of a blog from the Telegraph website  which I think is very pertinent to this issue, and adds to what I have earlier blogged:

The drafters have belatedly realised that, since there is no procreative act which defines homosexual behaviour, there can be no consummation, or non-consummation, and no adultery. These will not, therefore, be grounds for gay divorce. If your gay husband offers you no nookie, or if he avails himself of large amounts of nookie elsewhere (or both), he gives you no legal cause to divorce him.

So what they have ended up offering, strangely enough, is a law of marriage with no sexual element whatever. This has never happened before (although there have been plenty of sexless marriages). There is nothing in Mr Cameron’s new law to say that same-sex marriages must be between homosexuals. If I were a bachelor, I could marry a straight male friend just to get whatever tax advantages, travel deals and insurance discounts might be going. Incestuous marriage remains forbidden, but I don’t see why, in Mr Cameron’s vision of same-sex marriage, a mother could not marry her daughter or a sister her sister or a father his son. No sexual act is expected of them and even if – distressing thought – it did take place, it could have no genetic consequences. Why should such pairs not just agree that they fancy the married couple’s exemption from inheritance tax, and hurry down the aisle? How long before a same-sex, keep-it-in-the-family couple tries to make a fight of it, and wins a case against the British Government at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)?

Politics, Life and Theology

The current legislation around making gay marriage has popped out  a surprise – gay couples who are married under the new law will not be able to divorce on grounds of adultery, likewise having a gay  marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation. Partners in same sex unions will instead have to divorce unfaithful partners on the grounds of “unreasonable behaviour”, as is currently the case with civil partnerships.

This developments seems to down to Government legal experts who failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between people of the same gender. Therefore the distinction created inequality between heterosexual and homosexual couples in the divorce courts.

Jonathan West, the head of family and marriage law at Prolegal, said: “In my view it is discriminatory. The test for discrimination is whether one section of society is treated differently from another. They are being treated differently.

It means that people in a same-sex marriages who discover that their spouse is unfaithful…

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Should we reward marriage?

1 Feb
Long Wedding Dress for Couple with Flowers

Long Wedding Dress for Couple with Flowers (Photo credit: epSos.de)

 

Tax break for married couples, or a transferable tax allowances between couples. These are two main options for “rewarding” a couple for marrying compared to cohabitation.

Does this discriminate couples who are not married, but maybe in a relationship? Or same-sex couples (well, until they can marry IF the law changes)? Or individuals who are not in a relationship for various reasons of divorce, death or do not feel they wish to be in a relationship with anyone? Does it discriminate? Yes and no.

The legal definition of discrimination is when:

a person is treated less favorably than someone else and that the treatment is for a reason relating to the person’s protected characteristic.

So yes, people are being treated differently based upon a legal status (that of marriage). But no, it is not a protected characteristic in the eyes of the law. But still, why discriminate again non-married couples through financial rewards?

Before we go much further, I have a confession. I am married so I biased as any tax break or transfer would benefit me financial. So I speak from that perspective but hope to give this a fair hearing, even if I do think we should reward marriage.

 

Society is changing, with more children are being born whose parents are not married to one another – 45% of births are now outside marriage. Numbers marrying is going down and those cohabiting is rising. Yet the stability of those who cohabit is questionable. I do not believe cohabitation is marriage by another name. This is the crux of my first point arguing for rewarding marriage – that it is a unique institution.

As a Christian I believe marriage is a covenant relationship, ordained and sealed by God, issuing in a permanent mutually supportive partnership, and sexual union, that normally includes the blessing of children. Marriage offers the stability and security that nothing else does. Divorce is high but there is something deeply profound in the invitation to be married, to be loved, is the most intimate of offers.

This stability and security stems into my second reason:

Marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike

Taken from Civitas report, marriage gives a child the best opportunity in life. This does not mean single parents can not raise children. However the arugement is not over. This report from the Institue for Fiscal Studies argues that:

our findings suggest that the gaps in cognitive and socio-emotional development between children born to married parents and those born to cohabiting parents mainly or entirely reflect the fact that different types of people choose to get married (the selection effect), rather than that marriage has an effect on relationship stability or child development. On the basis of this evidence, therefore, child development does not provide a convincing rationale for policies that encourage parents to get married before they bear children.

Basically, that other factors in are in play, not the relationship status of the parents, in a child’s development. I agree, in the sense that no one factor will decide a child’s development. Yet research such as Margaret Ainsworth and John Bowlby (Re: Social Learning Theory) does show, I believe that a child’s earliest experience will continue to affect the way the child will think, feel, and act throughout its life. The experience of attuned relationships in the first years of life ensures the development of social skills and sets the stage for a positive future. And part of this is marriage, it somehow encourage better ‘conditions’ for a child’s development.

Marriage is stable, the facts do seem to provide that. This stability provides security, especially for children. This secuity provides the foundation of society. Stability and security are the foundational basis of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs of individuals, and the core of a strong society. Surely that is in the interest of all, singles and those who in a relationship yet not married, and provide the best for them. So yes, we should reward marriage to encourage a better society and reward those who are working to make society so.

 

Link

10 Reasons Why The Government is Wrong To Redefine Marriage

29 Jan
Houses of Parliament, London, England

Houses of Parliament, London, England (Photo credit: ** Lucky Cavey **)

 

10 Reasons Why The Government is Wrong To Redefine Marriage

 

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has had its first reading and due for its second reading on the 5th Feb (you can follow the progress here).

 

Both the Conservative and Labour party are allowing a free vote, so this means each MPs can vote as their conscience lead them. Part of this will include listening to the voices of their constituents.

 

Therefore this is a great time to contact your MPs (again if you have done so before) and express your views on the matter. Personally, the whole legislation concerns me which is why I have signed the Coalition for Marriage’s petition. You can find out who your MPs is and how to contact them here.

 

For is now becoming clear that Christian teachers with traditional views will have no protection from dismissal if they feel unable to promote the new norms. Many implications of the legislation will only become clear after the courts have become involved, but it is most likely that the assurances being offered will not hold, at least once the European Court becomes involved.

 

End of Adultery?

27 Jan
Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The current legislation around making gay marriage has popped out  a surprise – gay couples who are married under the new law will not be able to divorce on grounds of adultery, likewise having a gay  marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation. Partners in same sex unions will instead have to divorce unfaithful partners on the grounds of “unreasonable behaviour”, as is currently the case with civil partnerships.

This developments seems to down to Government legal experts who failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between people of the same gender. Therefore the distinction created inequality between heterosexual and homosexual couples in the divorce courts.

Jonathan West, the head of family and marriage law at Prolegal, said: “In my view it is discriminatory. The test for discrimination is whether one section of society is treated differently from another. They are being treated differently.

It means that people in a same-sex marriages who discover that their spouse is unfaithful to them would not be able to divorce for adultery – unless it was with someone of the opposite sex. Equally, it makes clear that straight people cannot accuse their partner of adultery if they discover they had a secret lover of the same sex. It could also ultimately lead to the abolishment of adultery in law under the basis of equality – fundamentally changing marriage law.

Some have claimed, if passed, this will open up a “Pandora’s box”. Likewise civil partnership will still be the exclusive right of gay couples, something Peter Tatchell calls, “flawed and wrong” and a “discrimination against straight couples”.

What a mess…