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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Unintended consequences

When the ongoing issue of the proposed redefinition of marriage is raised the majority it seems, appear to be hung up on (a) the 'equality' issue and (b) the opting-out of religious celebrants who do not wish involved, on deeply held and conscientious views,  in the 'marriage' of two persons of the same gender. Regularly, I read that these issues are being dealt with by both the U.K. and Scottish governments.

However, the civil partnership provides all of the legal rights that are enjoyed by heterosexual married couples - one of the reasons (if not the main reason!) why the governments in both Holyrood and Westminster are unwilling to grant civil partnerships to heterosexual couples (as Sharon James highlighted in the previous post's video clip). It is also the case that fairly recent cases have shown that so-called legal safeguards are not, when taken to the ECHR, worth the paper on which they are written.

Only occasionally do I read of other potential, and actual, consequences if the Bills currently proceeding through both seats of government eventually reach the statute books. What of chaplains, of whichever religious persuasion, in the public - and even private - sector? What about teachers? What about ordinary couples who offer themselves as foster parents, or as adoptive parents? What about the time it will take - to say nothing of the cost of such an exercise, in a time of austerity - to make the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of changes in the nomenclature used in legal documents that are still in force, but go back for centuries?

This is not a full, or definitive list. We should be very careful before introducing such a change simply to fulfil the desires of a minority within a minority! There is too much, in this issue, of the tail (and a docked tail at that!) wagging the dog!

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