It is my understanding that the amendment proposed by both Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, and Lynne Featherstone MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Equalities would, if accepted, bring about a substantial change to this situation, by "permitting" such civil contracts to be entered into within consecrated buildings, and to receive a 'blessing' from a minister of religion.
My concerns are, among others, that if civil contracts and services of blessing were to be held so consecutively, then they would quickly become combined, and the secular nature of the civil partnership would be clearly compromised. This situation would also create the anomalous situation in which the contractual union of two persons of the same gender would have been formalised within a religious context - something, I am certain, that was never in the minds of those who legislated for the 2004 Act.
Marriage, I would respectfully suggest is, in the eyes of the vast majority of the British people, the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, for life. This traditional marriage is also, I would submit, the best environment of the upbringing of a child. it is surely of consequence that same-gender partnerships are incapable, without assistance from someone of the opposite gender, of producing offspring. Perhaps nature, itself, is trying to tell us something!!
Although it is stated that such 'blessings' will not be forced upon the clergy (para 2.5, inter al), I note that, on p.48 of the Consultation Document, the statement is made, concerning the proposal, that "It gives same-sex couples from faith groups that opt in a legal right to celebrate and form their union in the place where they worship, a civil law right available to opposite-sex couples through religious marriage." (my emphasis). Recent judgments would, at least, suggest that the homosexual/lesbian.bisexual lobby groups would be all too ready to claim such a "legal right" - and to take legal action if their wishes were not met!
I am also concerned that this would be, as has happened in so many instances in the past, the "thin end of the wedge". I note that the Ministerial Foreword ends with the statement that "During our engagement with stakeholders on these proposals it was also made clear by many that there is a desire to move further towards equal marriage and partnerships. This document does not over these further steps, but our commitment remains to consult on how legislation can develop, working with all those who have an interest in this area." (my emphases). This wording, it seems to me, indicates a clear willingness, at least on the part of the signatories, to make further moves towards the full redefinition of marriage, as is the stated objective of a number of the more vocal members of the homosexual/lesbian/bisexual lobby.
The terms of Human Rights, and Equality, legislation have already led to a dramatic curtailment of freedom of belief and worship within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I fear that if this proposed Amendment were to enter the Statute Book, it would merely give the more militant members of the homosexual/lesbian/bisexual community further opportunity to undermine marriage, the family, and society itself