Foster says DUP will use POC to block marriage equality + criticises Equality Commission

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir’s departmental marriage equality legislation is dead in the water.

In a pre-conference interview with Press Association, First Minister Arlene Foster commented on the failed appeal by Ashers Baking Company:

We have an enormous amount of sympathy for the McArthur family.

We feel they have been through an absolutely horrific time – not helped I have to say by the actions of Equality Commission. I think the Equality Commission have not covered themselves in glory in fact I think it’s quite troubling the way in which they have behaved in all of this.

I think they need to have a long hard look at how they work with faith communities in Northern Ireland and instead of accepting the metropolitan liberal elite definition of equality they need to look at what real equality is and look at the faith communities in Northern Ireland and that is something they haven’t been doing.

Shifting from the issue of cake to that of marriage, Sinn Féin equality spokesperson Sean Lynch tonight said that the Finance Minister had “brought the issue of marriage equality to the Executive today but it is disappointing that the DUP have again blocked progress”.

Instead Sinn Féin “will now bring forward a Private Members Bill on marriage equality” – which will most likely be the multi-party bill that was already being drafted in parallel with the Department of Finance’s legislation. Lynch added: “I hope it will receive support from MLAs across the political spectrum.”

However, in the same PA interview the First Minister confirmed that the DUP will put a spanner in the works of any marriage equality bill.

Mrs Foster said her willingness to use the petition of concern voting tool reflected her party’s strong determination to protect the traditional definition of marriage.

“Why would we, when we feel so strongly about the definition of marriage and the redefining of it, why would we give away that tool,” she said.

She dismissed allegations that her party was anti-gay.

They are wrong and they need to understand why we take those positions from a faith point of view and why we want to protect the definition of marriage. I could not care less what people get up to in terms of their sexuality, that’s not a matter for me, when it becomes a matter for me is when people try to redefine marriage.

Abusive communications directed towards the party leader and elected members has made the chance of a U-turn less likely she explained:

Some of the abuse that is directed at me and colleagues online is very, very vicious and I think if activists want to have a conversation about where they are coming from do they seriously think they are going to influence me by sending me abuse? No, they are not going to influence me by sending me abuse – in fact they are going to send me in the opposite direction and people need to reflect on that.

The rule in politics is not to change a policy or give concessions until it’s necessary, until there’s an electoral or political benefit. Parties suppress the urge to do something just because it’s the right thing to do. Sinn Fein’s continued pro-life stance on policy has been explained by some insiders as being a policy that will one day crumble, but the time is not yet right.

There are elected DUP representatives – albeit a minority – who disagree with these policies, and there are internal discussions about whether a three-line whip is appropriate during Assembly votes.

Given the opportunity to lurch to the right [Ed – not a lot of room left at that side of the road!] and hoover up UKIP, TUV and disgruntled UUP voters, there’s obviously not enough political capital to be gained – or deal to be done with Sinn Fein – by changing now.

However, it does look a little hypocritical to be ignoring the example of GB legislation on this matter (never mind going against the majority will of MLAs and 70% of people in NI) while following the will of GB (and again ignoring the will of NI as a whole) over Brexit.

The common thread seems to be ignoring the will of the people of NI … ultimately that’s not a great political strategy.

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  • Oggins

    We are being held hostage by the DUPs religious beliefs. A vote was made, and a technical ‘get out of jail’ enable them to force their beliefs on the vast majority of people.

    Joke

  • Karl

    Arlenes response was lacking in nuance, undiplomatic and graceless on all fronts. She could at least pretend not to be a petulant teenager having a strop. It seems that even if you dont start in the DUP you learn the ways of their farce fairly quickly.
    Pretty appalling from a head of government.

  • jm

    She knows what her audience wants…

  • Séamus

    Allow me to quote briefly from Naomi Long’s response:

    “For Arlene Foster to suggest online trolling has made her more determined is unbefitting her leadership role. Punishing the entire LGBT community for the behaviour of a small number of trolls is both childish and unjust. It is also disingenuous, as her party has always fully resisted any progress towards full equality for LGBT people.”

  • Zorin001

    Nail on head

  • Zorin001

    Playground politics, even Peter (usually) managed to be more nuanced than this.

    I said it in the othe thread and I’ll say it again: this position is untenable, Arlene knows it’s untenable and is simply waiting for the court case to push it through so she can gain political cover.

    All the time leaving the LGBT community in NI bereft of rights it enjoys over the rest of the islands and no doubt costing the public purse a pretty penny if a court action is brought.

  • Declan Doyle

    A disgusting state of affairs and an affront to humanity, her words uncover a deep aggression and an obtuse disregard for the very basic of Christian principles. Unionism at its worst, shame on her.

  • Declan Doyle

    British Unionists of the Island of Britain are of no relation to Irish Unionism

  • Korhomme

    Ms Foster is correct to call into question the actions, or lack thereof, of the Equalities Commission.

    Otherwise, it’s almost incomprehensible that a senior politician in a western democracy could make such statements, and presumably believe them. Ms Foster may well not like the idea of equal marriage; this, by itself is not a reason to block it. She is, as First Minister, to govern and lead for all of the inhabitants, not just a select or ‘elect’ few. And she certainly ought not to allow what is really trolling to infect her judgement. Indeed, statements such as hers are in more keeping with a repressive theocracy, a closed mindset which cannot or will not see the issues and realities of the wider world.

  • Korhomme

    I would much rather have heard from her a statement along the lines of: “I do not agree with equal/gay marriage, I think it is wrong, I think it goes against all we accept here in NI as traditional marriage; but I see and accept that there is a body of opinion which is in favour of it. Thus, when a motion to approve equal/gay marriage next comes before the Assembly I personally will vote against; but, accepting that there are other views, members of the DUP will have a free vote, and my party will not block it through a petition of concern.”

    [And likewise for abortion.]

  • Old Mortality

    ‘Ms Foster may well not like the idea of equal marriage; this, by itself is not a reason to block it.’
    You oppose a policy so you make every effort to prevent it being adopted. Is this an unusual course of action for a politician.
    Stormont should have better things to do than argue about whether homosexuals should be allowed to indulge their marital fantasy.

  • Korhomme

    By referencing ‘marital fantasy’ I take it that you are against equal/gay marriage, yes?

    If so, please explain why a minority should be denied what is available to the majority.

    And yes, were the Assembly to sort this out, and it could be quickly done, then there would be time of other matters. But perhaps it’s the old thing; quibble about something not so important because you have no idea how to proceed with the big, real problems, so you waste time with the trivia.

  • Lex.Butler

    I note, by coincidence, Anne Brolly’s resignation from SF on its abortion stance. Like it or not, there is a sizable constituency from both sides in NI that does agree with Arlene on gay marriage and abortion. There’s also a happy result for Nationalists that they can be seen as liberal on these issues (even if many Nationalists don’t agree) knowing full well that the DUP will, in its usual knuckle-headed way, take the flack and also portray loyalists as one step up from Neandethals. Result!

    The disappointment really is in Arlene. One thought she might be her own woman and with a strong mandate she had time to move the DUP into this century. But she backed Brexit hoping the English would oppose it and now faces a crisis of her own making. The sad reality is that she is wrong on every issue. Luckily for her there is no opposition or alternative. As it is, she is be vying with James Chichester Clark as the worst first minister/PM in NI’s history.

  • Declan Doyle

    Try not to patronise please. If you dont mind. Unionists in Britain reject the DUP type of social exclusion.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And her statements fly in the face of her role as First Minister for Northern Ireland. Arlene Darlene needs reminding that her position to represent all the people of NI, not just her intransigently insular core vote.
    We are also overlooking her need to bury a recent, embarassing photoshoot.
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/uda-boss-stitts-17m-reasons-to-be-happy-35098809.html

  • Roger

    she’s not a head of government; a devolved administration

  • Roger

    why shouldn’t a man be able to marry more than one woman?
    and vice versa?
    why should single people have to subsidise others because they have a marriage certificate?
    why should the number of people due a subsidy be increased to include yet more couples who cannot even possibly have children?
    isn’t it time for the state to leave the bedroom and abolish marriage laws altogether? or at least divorce them from economics.

  • Abucs

    and Sinn Fein wonder why they are losing support. Just another secular godless party pushing the religion of political correctness.

  • Zorin001

    Shes been on the back foot since the Brexit vote hence the need to come out swinging on an issue like this were she is on firmer ground.

  • chrisjones2

    It might be hard for SF to profess Christian principles

  • Granni Trixie

    But was Arlene not meant to make a fresh start for the DUP of old? Did they not seem to be positioning themselves to appeal more broadly than previously…using the old tactics of wheeling out their hardliners such as Gregory to deliver traditional views to their traditional voters leaving it to other reps to sound more moderate.
    The way she is dealing with current issues however suggests the DUP have decided it is best to keep on appealing to core base and no further.

    Not smart is it? For example any party would be wise in devising their strategies to think about changing attitudes not to mention new voters who have not experienced th troubles,

  • chrisjones2

    Yes but all the polls indicate that its a minority view on gay marriage and abortion

  • chrisjones2

    Its great that Arlene has been so vocal in her stance on this issue as it appears her Party policy is in direct contravention of her Duties under the Ministeral Code which says that:

    “1.4 Under the Belfast Agreement and under sections 16, 18 and 19 of the Act, it is a condition of appointment that Ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembly, including the First Minister and the deputy First Minister and junior Ministers, affirm the terms of the following Pledge of Office.

    …….

    (c) to serve all the people of Northern Ireland equally, and to act in accordance with the general obligations on government to promote equality and prevent discrimination;

    (ca) to promote the interests of the whole community represented in the the Northern Ireland Assembly towards the goal of a shared future;

    ………………..

    (cd) to uphold the rule of law based as it is on the fundamental principles of
    fairness, impartiality and democratic accountability, including support for
    policing and the courts as set out in paragraph 6 of the St Andrews Agreement;

    (ce) to support the rule of law unequivocally in word and deed and to support all
    efforts to uphold it;

    …….

    (g) to comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

    1.5 The Ministerial Code of Conduct referred to at (g) above is as follows.
    Ministers must at all times:­

    ……….

    (vi) operate in a way conducive to promoting good community relations and
    equality of treatment;”

    So embedded in the Code is a repeated committment to equality of tretament but we have a First Minister who refuses to perform that duty for parfty reasons.

    Best to run the Bill, let the DUP strike it down and then straigtht to a JR

  • chrisjones2

    Hang on ….. this is the week when the Catholic Church announced it will refuse funerals to families who plan to scatter the ashes of the deceased rather than bury them. Its all the Churches who will support this bigotry.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There may be an argument about trans-female marrying a cis-female or a trans-male marrying a cis-male.

    Though it may be legally a case of who isn’t allowed to marry who in these cases.

  • chrisjones2

    ….thats not what the polls say.

    I suspect that its part personal and part that she is looking over her shoulder at the Lagan Valley Taliban

  • ABlivit

    How much longer is religious belief going to be allowed as an excuse for politicians to impose their will, undemocratically, on the rest of us?

    Some statistics may help – we now know, thanks to physics and astronomy, that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe and that the average galaxy (e.g. our Milky Way) holds 10 trillion planets, so that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe. It’s therefore statistically unlikely, putting it extremely mildly, that God, at least as we know he/she/it exists and even less likely that they sent their “only son” down to this earth to “save” us. Well, I’d like to be saved from Arlene and her ilk.

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee people !!

  • AndyB

    The DUP is at complete liberty to whip their MLAs to vote in accordance with their long-standing policy against equal marriage, and to persuade other parties and unwhipped MLAs to join them in opposing it. That’s perfectly democratic.

    Their use of petitions of concern is completely undemocratic.

    The purpose of a petition of concern is to prevent abuse of power by nationalist over unionist or unionist over nationalist. This is neither of those situations.

    Unless it can be established that the vast majority of LGBT people are nationalist or republican, of course.

  • Zorin001

    “Best to run the Bill, let the DUP strike it down and then straigtht to a JR”

    Which is the DUP’s strategy all along.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I never believed the Arlene “fresh start” to be more than the kind of “graphic” Captain O’Neill “who had no grand plan for community relations” also employed in the 1960s. O’Neill (no relation) could still characterise his thinking for the future as:

    “It is frightfully hard to explain to Protestants that if you give Roman Catholics a good job and a good house they will live like Protestants because they will see neighbours with cars and television sets; they will refuse to have eighteen children. But if a Roman Catholic is jobless, and lives in the most ghastly hovel he will rear eighteen children on National Assistance. If you treat Roman Catholics with due consideration and kindness they will live like Protestants in spite of the authoritative nature of their Church…”

    I believe that an intelligent modern party could very easily make a very strong case for the Union here, but would still not gain those votes “tied” to parties who espouse what is seen as “traditional” Unionism. That is the real problem.

  • On the fence!

    Well Marty gets away with it!

  • chrisjones2

    But all the coutrt can do it issue a declaration of incompatibility

    What happens then? It may be that as the State London is forced to intervene and force gayness on the DUP

  • chrisjones2

    Contrition for past sins?

  • Zorin001

    Yes and that would still give the DUP political cover as the decision was taken out of their hands and allow them to portray it as the Liberal Elites forcing sin upon Gods Own Country.

  • chrisjones2

    But what do they marry as? ie they have the right to marry in their new sex as opposed to the sex they were allocated at birth

  • chrisjones2

    “a fresh start for the DUP of old”

    Well that was the usual bullshit

  • On the fence!

    Final refuge of the scoundrel.

  • chrisjones2

    There is a fundamnetal difference. Even Wallace eventually realised he had been wrong. Dont hold your breath here

  • Katyusha

    The entire issue of faith and religious belief in blocking this legislation is a red herring. Civil marriage is not religious marriage.
    A couple should be free to marry in civil law without being subject to the precepts of a faith in which they do not believe.
    Similarly, religious orders should not be held to conform to the civil definition of marriage. They should be at liberty to define marriage as it applies to them, their own rites, which marriages they will perform and recognise.

    Separation of church and state means exactly that – faith is a personal concern and matters of faith should be kept separate from constitutional politics which affects everyone living in the state. If Arlene opposes homosexual marriage from a moral standpoint, let her come out and say that, rather than using faith as a blanket to hide behind.

  • Oggins

    All very valid points, but the crux is separating religion from politics in NI, will take years, if it can… I can only hope that most younger people in this province, are moving that way, and those who are religious can remove their beliefs from politics.

  • johnny lately

    An affront to humanity and an obtuse disregard for the very basic of Christian principles !

    Declan that’s the exact same excuse the DUP are using in their efforts to stop gay marriage. They see the inevitable upsurge in designer babies for those gay relationships as a threat to humanity and a very real threat to the ethos of Christianity.

  • Thought Criminal

    You can tell the loaded bias of libtards like Alan Meban with his use of nonsense phrases like “equal marriage”. “Equality” does not exist and Arlene would be better to state this fact.

    Polls are also not reliable, especially given the levels of bullying by the liberal elite and aggressive activists to anyone opposing their degenerate agenda. Different polls have also showed the complete opposite result to what this loaded piece is making out.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The issue with religious instituitions is that they are allowed to practice marriage on their own jurisprudence. Some could be fine with criminalization. ut unhappy with the goverment encroaching on their decisions.

    Asher’s decision does not give them any encouragement.

    There is a valid point here, imagine community institutions having to be agreeable to laws backed by both the DUP and Sinn Féin or face criminalisation.

  • chrisjones2

    Your name is wrong …………………. surely it should be Hate Criminal

  • Jollyraj

    And yet he doesn’t seem to put much store in confession.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Not to sure which Prods the Good Captain was referring to in his statement “they will see neighbours with cars and television sets” I remember the Night of Long Knives in the inner southern side of Belfast City centre where the Prods burnt and looted four catholic owned pubs. While the mobs as predictable went for cases of beer and bottle of spirits. I will always vision the wee man running down the street with the Colour TV of the Emprise Bar on his back. Some might say he was smarter than the average Prod ?

  • Granni Trixie

    This was indeed a revealing) mistake by O’Neill. His emphasis on the benefits of creating economic prosperity for everyone as a means of addressing Catholic demands for reform was not altogether without merit however.

    If it were possible to leave the words/thinking you quote aside, in the context of the early 60s I don’t think O’Neil was the worst.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    O’Neill was far from the worst, but the competition for that “accolade” was still very, very fierce within a Unionism which had expelled Brian Maginess and Clarence Graham in the late 1950s for even suggesting that Catholics might be re-admitted to the party!

    My own understanding from what my family (a few of whom would have mixed in such circles) thought of him at the time is that O’Neill was certainly a Conservative moderniser, but was still far from being a liberal as we would have understood it now. His personal lead in the campaign to suggest that a vote for Labour was a cote for Rome after the 25% socialist poll in the 1962 election especially did not go unremarked, and ironically lost his that very cross-party support which might have matured his social policies into something more democratically based!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I think O’Neill was referring to his own social milieu and the likes of my people (we had the first TV for miles around in the early 1950s)! I somehow doubt he had much idea of what was going on anywhere in (for example) East Belfast, other when his Special Branch reports mentioned goings on at the CPNI offices at the bottom end of Albert Bridge Road!

  • Granni Trixie

    I’m especially interested in the early sixties as a time when if a programme of reforms had got going and if Westminster had not continued with looking the other way as regards NI the troubles might have been avoided. 1962 is notable also as the year when The Border Campaign was abandoned and when Bob Cooper left the YU for the same reason as Brian Maginess suggesting that the UP just were not minded to learn the lessons of inclusion.

  • Granni Trixie

    I heard people tag on the T – but confess that I didn’t know what it represented. I trust that goodwill towards people of various sexual orientations makes up for my ignorance? We don’t want a situation do we where you’re afraid to say anything for fear it will give offence.

    BTW, my favourite tune at the moment is Tilted by the French singers Christine and the Queens. It’s a worm in my ear but as well as the tune the lyrics are very meaningful – well worth a visit to YouTube.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Unusual location for the Communist Party Headquarters in Belfast, but then I also remember the National Front having offices bottom of Albert Bridge Road and Ravenhill Road too.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    There’s a reason for that location for the CPNI. It is significant that my grandfather’s old friend Jack Beattie was MP for Belfast East from 1925, and there was always a very, very radical substratum in the East Belfast working class. the Communist Trade Unionist Andy Barr for one was a Mount Pottinger boy, and many of the rank and file members had links with Shorts or the Shipyard as I remember. The Young Communists used to give some good recruitment parties in the mid-1960s when some of us naughty middle-class Protestant radicals used to fill up on the available spirits and slip away before the forms actually came out.

  • ted hagan

    More and more, Arlene is coming across as a nasty bit of worK

  • chrisjones2

    “why shouldn’t a man be able to marry more than one woman?
    and vice versa? ”

    Or vice versa

    “why should single people have to subsidise others because they have a marriage certificate?”

    They shouldnt and generally they dont

    “why should the number of people due a subsidy be increased to include yet more couples who cannot even possibly have children?”

    I cannot see any circumsatnces in which it would

  • chrisjones2

    …and in Sandy Row I seem to recall

  • chrisjones2

    Wellyou have to laugh ….preferably at them all, not with them

  • chrisjones2

  • SeaanUiNeill

    !!!!!!! Ah! Sandy Row in the 1960s before they flattened that little row of quite interesting one story shops where that big hotel now looms!

  • Oggins

    I usually do….. it is like we are stuck in this continuous loop, like when an old vinyl or cd has a scratch on it? The only problem is I dont like this rift 😉

    What I would like to know if NI is becoming mores secular like down south and GB? Is there any stats on that? Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

    Will my kids have to deal with this baggage?

  • NotNowJohnny

    “They need to understand ….. why we want to protect the definition of marriage”

    Go ahead …. help me understand, please.

  • Oggins

    Because a selection of books written ‘thousands’of years ago, that where review by Constantine (we forgot that), said a lot of stuff, that certain sects, decide when and how it implies.

    This give them the moral authority to tell the general population on what we can do.

    I would pay to watch a tv show that openly dissects the bible line by line, and a person would have to live by it… Amazing to watch I would say!

  • Oggins

    Particularly when she refers to thoses online trolls, wont help the cause…. it reminds me of an old teacher I had.in primary school… who does she think she is, using trolls as an example for why they wont support… sad

  • grumpy oul man

    Designer babies! Inevitable! upsurge! Threat to humanity! Ethos of christainty.
    Way over the top man, Calm down, its just two people who love each other and want to get married what can be wrong with that.
    if they give a baby agood home and a decent start in life, well why not , it won’t do you me any harm.

  • grumpy oul man

    I do love a conspricacy theory. Thats hear some more about the bullying.
    Where can i meet one of these aggressive activists! Do you think they rigged the vote for equal marriage in the south are they in cahoots with the lizard people and where does area51 fit in.

  • grumpy oul man

    Never managed to get a resonable defination of this “relegion of political correctness” last time i asked you, i didnt get a answer.
    I personally think its your catch all insult and does not have a meaning.
    But please enlighten me.

  • Thought Criminal

    Good idea. I will have to change it to that. Nothing is a greater indication of the totalitarian and Orwellian nature of the current establishment than the very existence of “hate crimes” and “hate speech” for anyone who doesn’t tow the PC line.

  • Thought Criminal

    Because the primary purpose of marriage is as an optimum environment for raising children. This needs promoted as the ideal now more than any other time as the number of dysfunctional families is at epidemic levels.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I still don’t understand. So the primary purpose of marriage is as an optimum environmemt for raising children. OK I understand that sentence. But it certainly doesn’t explain why “we want to protect the definition of marriage”. Anyone else have any idea?

  • NotNowJohnny

    I’ve ceased to believe that these people get their moral authorny from the bible. I believe that they merely use the bible as a means of justifying their prejudices. These people don’t follow the teachings of the bible and they don’t follow the teachings of Jesus. What they do is cherry pick certain bits of scripture to support their own viewpoint and then conveniently and silently discard those parts which don’t fit with their particular view of the world. Who was it that said “I like your Christianity but I don’t much like your Christians and I certainly don’t like your Christian God”?

  • NotNowJohnny

    Let’s face it, if the DUP were to come at this from a moral standpoint they’d be laughed out of town. It’s not unknown for the DUPs most strident anti homosexual moralisers to be caught with their pants down.

  • NotNowJohnny

    No they can’t. You can marry your partner only if they happen to be of a different gender. If your partner happens to be of the same gender then you can’t marry them. Not in Northern Ireland. Pray tell me wise one, where is the equality in that?

  • AndyB

    I’d find it acceptable for her to whip the MLAs to vote against, and even to persuade others to vote against it alongside her, because at least that’s democratic. If the proposal is defeated in the Assembly, then it’s a fair victory for Arlene’s point of view, much as I believe it would be the wrong outcome. One MLA, one vote and all that.

    Using the Petition of Concern is neither fair nor democratic. It’s abusing a mechanism that was only ever intended to ensure that nationalists and unionists could not push legislation through disadvantaging “themuns” by sheer weight of numbers.

    In this case, I’d like to see anyone justify suggesting that there are significantly more LGBT nationalists and republicans than unionists.

  • AndyB

    There has been no married couple’s allowance for years, so I’m not sure where you get your “subsidy” from. The most recent change in tax law for married couples allows the transfer of tax allowances in one direction or the other if one of them isn’t working.

  • Korhomme

    I’d far rather that there were discussions and negotiations between people and parties than the use of the whip; that suggests (some) MLAs haven’t bothered to think through any issues. I suppose though, that the whip could be necessary at times.

    Here, this is surely about ‘social justice’ and ought to be up to individual MLAs consciences. I don’t see it as appropriate to whip.

    As for a PoC, in this case I see it as an abuse of process. It’s reminiscent of the old days at Stormont which was one party rule.

  • Korhomme

    You are, I think, suggesting two methods of marriage; one civil and one religious. In the UK you can get married either in a (legally recognised and ‘licensed’) church or by a registrar. However, as I understand it, in a church it is the signing of the register which makes the marriage lawful in terms of civil law. Thus, even if you marry in a church, you can get a divorce under civil law.

    In France, under the code Napoleon, the only valid form of marriage recognised in civil law is that done in the town hall. You may choose to have a church service thereafter, though this is more like a blessing.

    The problem is the separation of the powers of the state and of the church(es). And whose law will be superior?

  • Roger

    66yr old couple retirees from public service. Married. One dies. What happens to pension?
    A. Married. Survivor collects a substantial part for the rest of Survivor’s life.
    B. Not married. Survivor. Who are you? Don’t waste my time. Feck off.
    Price tag per annum to State / tax payer? Increased price tag post extension of discrimination against the unmarried? I don’t know. No one talks about it.

    That’s just one example. In Ireland (not personally sure about UK) no inheritance tax arises on gift of estate to surviving spouse. What’s the price tag of that every year? What’s the increased price tag post the extension of discrimination against the unmarried? Again, I don’t know. No one has ever mentioned price tags in all the public discourse I’ve personally ever heard.

    Who picks up the tab and makes up the difference when these tax breaks or pension advantages get extended? Tax payers. Who never gets a benefit? Singletons.

    Decent economic analysis and logic ought to feature in the debates about marriage: Traditional and reinvented. Logical analysis re allocation of scarce resources ought to feature.

  • AndyB

    They already have those rights in civil partnerships as of December 2005. No additional cost.

  • Roger

    So we’ve agreed on what I said at the outset re subsidies.

  • AndyB

    To an extent, and only to an extent. It certainly doesn’t involve the extension of what you allege is “discrimination,” but is actually to reflect how lives change through having a spouse in terms of lifestyle and how a couple might rely on each other’s income, and the impact on that of death.

    I would add that referring to “yet more couples who cannot possibly have children” is actually pretty offensive to those of us who either cannot have children or for whom the choice is between having children and having a well spouse.

  • Roger

    Polygamy has been going on since day 1. It certainly is a wider practice and more historically rooted than SSM. It’s not part of broadly Christian tradition. True. Neither is SSM. I don’t see why one should remain criminalised while the other is trumpeted.

    Re subsidies, my post below refers. Marriage is not free. It has a price tag.

  • Old Mortality

    Because the concept of marriage evolved even before Christianity in order to provide security for women and especially children. Since a homosexual couple is incapable of producing children, there is no point in their being married. You may argue that, on this basis, post-menopausal women should also have no right of marriage and I would agree. However, the taboo on sex outside marriage imposed by Christianity and other religions cause many such people to seek the ‘respectability’ which will be afforded by marriage. I suspect that few homosexuals abstain from sexual activity because they are not married.
    In short, homosexual marriage is not merely a subversion of the Christian definition of marriage but of the very concept.
    Of course, homosexuals are perfectly free to arrange their own versions of marriage if that is what pleases them but they do not need or deserve official endorsement.

  • Old Mortality

    If you accept that the principal purpose of marriage is to afford a measure of protection to children, then it does not apply to homosexuals couples who are incapable of producing children.

  • Korhomme

    Didn’t marriage develop along with settled agriculture and the concepts of property and inheritance? Men, seemingly, wanted only legitimate heirs, hence the need for female virginity.

    And of course until recently pregnancy and childbirth were dangerous; perhaps as many as one in six women died (as did many children).

    While two men don’t have an ‘incubator’ between them, two women do; it may soon be possible to produce eggs and sperm from stem cells.

    My main concern with your argument is this: you define marriage in Christian terms, and indicate therefore that the state should adopt this into the law (or not for gay or equal marriage). I prefer to see a separation of the powers of church and state.

  • Roger

    Two men cannot have children. Two elderly people cannot have children. Offensive though those facts may be. As I’ve said, marriage involves allocation of resources. Allocating taxpayers’ resources to preferred family structures irrespective of need or whether recipients are vulnerable is not, to my mind, logical. That’s what marriage laws do.
    Marriage involves billions of pounds or Euros (take your pick) every year. Regrettably, I can’t put a specific number on it. There’s been that little talk about it. The piece of paper in question draws distinctions between how citizens in the exact same situation are treated. It discriminates against those without the piece of paper.

  • NotNowJohnny

    It’s not that I don’t accept it. I simply don’t recognise it. But I’m happy to be convinced. As far as I can recall the protection of children is not mentioned in the traditional marriage vows which surely is odd if that is the principle purpose of it. And when my granny got married for a second time at the age of almost sixty, I am sure that the primary purpose of her doing had nothing to do with children.

    For me, marriage is a socio-economic arrangement entered into for the mutual benefit of the participants. I know young couples who married with both having agreed at the outset that they did not want to have children which rather flies in the face of it being the primary purpose. Of course none of this indicates that marriage is not a good thing nor that it’s not a good environment to bring children up in. Indeed evidence shows that it is. But it’s not the only option. And it’s not the primary purpose. And even if it was, it hasn’t been an argument which has prevented a change in the definition of marriage in the rest of the UK.

    The idea that the primary purpose of marriage is to ensure the protection of children is a recent idea artificially constructed to support the case against gay marriage. But it doesn’t add up. If gay couples and lesbian couples also have children (albeit one whereby only one is the biological parent) why is marriage not also a good thing for them? Do those children not also deserve to be raised in a protected environment? Whichever way you look at it, this argument falls flat. Indeed it seems to me to be an argument for broadening the definition of marriage to include all parents, including those of the same sex. So I still don’t understand why the current definition needs to be protected. Perhaps the great weakness in the DUPs argument is that no one really does. And that is the reason that they’ll finally lose.

  • Granni Trixie

    Who would have predicted that just when people are looking to the Pope/Church to put its house in order that they take action…….in respect of scattering of ashes! Fiddling while Rome burns comes to mind.

  • Granni Trixie

    Would you like to define what you mean by ‘dysfunctional families’ given we see so many happy families which do not fit into the traditional mould?

  • Old Mortality

    Might your granny have thought that it unseemly to be ‘living in sin’? I can’t see any other serious reason why she should have married again.
    The couples intending to be childless could well have changed their minds or become accidental parents.
    What has been done in the rest of the UK is not necessarily sensible or desirable. I would be happy to see UK legislation on abortion to be adopted without qualification in NI but I don’t think there is much support for it even among the so-called pragressive parties.
    You make my point. Homosexual couples cannot have children without the vicarious assistance of a member of the opposite sex.
    I think homosexual parenthood is an undesirable environment for children unless they live in certain metropolitan enclaves where such arrangements might not be rare.
    In the Irish referendum, 23% of the voting population thought that the current definition should be protected and only 38% were in favour. In the House of Commons vote 152 members (excluding NI MPs) voted against. That figure included 22 Labour and 4 Lib Dems.

  • John Collins

    Mostly reared by heterosexual couples, or am I wrong.

  • Stephen Mc

    Nonsense. The United Kingdom is no longer a Christian country. Christian interpretations are no longer relevant, (as we have seen proved through the courts), as we march towards a secular society where everyone is free.

    Less than 1% of Anglicans regularly attend church. You could therefore argue, that the % of Christians in the UK is even lower than the census would suggest.

    Further, I would not even call someone who believes in your world view a “Christian” since Christ would certainly not behave or speak like you do, but I would expect no more from a “pick n mix” Christian.

    Lastly, Christianity has been around for only 2,000 years. Homosexuality has been since we first walked the earth (having EVOLVED from Apes), and before marriage was defined. In the scheme of things, Christianity is a really new hobby (and, incidentally, one that has caused millions of deaths).

    Marriage is no longer the plaything of Christians. Indeed, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, Jedis etc. all get married legally. Your argument therefore is null and void, you should simply say what you are really thinking – you just don’t like gay people.

  • John Collins

    Never forget Brendan O’Carroll’s mother, Maureen was a Labour Party TD, from ’54 to ’57, in real life. Maybe he will take up that cudgel next.

  • NotNowJohnny

    You can’t see any reason why my granny would have married at sixty other than for religious reasons? I see what you are doing here. In order to support your case that the primary purpose of marriage is the protection of children, you are chosing to dismiss all the other valid reasons why someone would get married. Of course my granny could have remarried for religious reasons or for economic reasons or because it was tradition or because she loved the guy or because she believed in marriage or because she had an unhappy first marriage or because she wanted to show commitment or simply because the guy asked her. All very valid. Whatever the reason the primary purpose wasn’t the protection of children. I think it’s also worth pointing out that my granny and her husband also “couldn’t have children without the vicarious assistance of a member of the opposite sex” so that point is a bit lost on me.

    Whether you are correct or not in your thinking that homosexual parenthood is an undesirable environment for children, this has little to do with the issue of marriage. What is being debated is not whether gay people should be allowed to have or bring up children. It is about whether they should be allowed to get married like other people do. Legislating for equal marriage will have no impact whatsoever on a gay couple’s right to have or to raise children. If this was the debate I would understand your point even if I didn’t agree with it. But it isn’t. Indeed civil partnerships already exist so I’m not clear what difference signing a register with the word ‘marriage’ on the front rather than ‘civil partnership’ will make in respect of your argument. It’s worth remembering that the DUP isn’t campaigning to legislate to prevent homosexuals raising children. They are campaigning against gay marriage. Your ‘raising of children’ argument is therefore a red herring.

    Of course I understand the stats and the percentages and the fact that not everyone agrees with it. What I’m trying to understand are the reasons why the definition can’t be changed. Not agreeing with it is not a valid reason. It has already been changed in other parts of the U.K. Why can’t it also be changed here in Northern Ireland? Could the real reason be because the DUP is anti-gay?

  • Old Mortality

    I don’t care what the DUP thinks and my own opposition to homosexual marriage is not based on Christian principles because marriage is not a peculiarly Christian institution and the Christian church has undermined marriage, for example by accepting for baptism the offspring of couples who refuse to marry.

    I accept that your granny could have had many reasons for getting married but the point I am making is that the fundamental reason for getting married did not apply in her case and her marriage ceremony was an unnecessary and perhaps frivolous exercise which is exactly what homosexual marriage would be, were it to be legalised.
    Your granny presumably had children as a result of a previous heterosexual relationship so her experience does not vitiate the point that homosexuals require the assistance of the opposite sex in order to procreate.

    I’d forgotten about civil partnerships which seemed fair in order to protect inheritance rights from greedy relatives, but that was no more than the acceptance that if a person devotes a large part of their lives to someone of the same sex, they are entitled to a share of their estate. However, civil partnership should also have been made available to heterosexual couples.
    At least you have conceded the ‘everyone else is doing it’ point and you seem to be implying that any opposition is unreasonable if not irrational. In other words, it’s fine to disagree with homosexual marriage but you must passively accept it and certainly not actively oppose it.

  • grumpy oul man

    There are many millions of children around the world awaiting adoption, a gay or lesbian couple could (and many do) adopt one or more of these children and give them a loving home and a chance in life, many hetero married (and those is stable relationships) couples do this wonderful thing as well many because they for one reason or another cannot have children of their own.
    The fact that the child was not made by them does not affect their marriage, nor does if affect the love and protection the child is given.
    So what is the difference between a gay couple and a hetero couple adopting, thus fulfilling you definition of the principal purpose of marriage completely?

  • johnny lately

    I dont have any problems at all with people from the same gender getting married its none of my or anyone elses business, fair play to them, each to their own an all that. Its the procreating part of the relationship thats the problem. How do same sex couples procreate without bringing a third party into the relationship or adopting.

  • grumpy oul man

    Is procreating the main reason most marriages take place, as pointed out by another poster, no wedding vows have clause,s stating that there must be children.

    Would the the procreating part present a problem to you if a Hetero Couple who get married cannot have children (and were aware of this before getting married ) for one reason or another.
    Adopting is the norm, some go for surrogacy or the chicken baster but that is the same for hetero couples, and if a child gets a good home so what.

  • John Collins

    I am not so sure about this protection of women thing.Remember in the bible when Abraham’s wife could not conceive he was allowed to ‘go into’ a slave girl and thus begot a son. I just wonder what would have happen if Abraham had not been able to father a child. Would Rachael have then been allowed to take a lover in order to have a child herself. I doubt it.

  • Thought Criminal

    No, the most dysfunctional of families are those where the marriage has broken down and there is no father. The optimum is both father and mother, male and female, discipline with nurturing, yin and yang.