The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament last week. Scotland’s Health Secretary, Alex Neill, stated “marriage is about love not gender”. Ah! So sweet. When politicians get all gooey you have to worry about their competence to consider the serious implications of their actions and to understand the long-term consequences for society. Marriage legislation in England, Scotland or anywhere else in the world is all about legality and contractuality. If you have the time and inclination to trawl through Laws and Statutes you will struggle to find any reference to love.
A Christian marriage ceremony is all about the love of a man and a woman for each other and for the purpose of bringing children in to the world. It is about fidelity and lifelong commitment entered into by the taking of vows, witnessed by both families and the parish community. It is selfless, sacrificial and sacramental. None of this applies to a civil marriage or partnership, same sex or otherwise. A Christian marriage is indissoluble. A civil marriage or partnership can be legally dissolved, known as divorce.
Having spent fruitless hours searching marriage law books for references to love, move on to the divorce law books. Yes, you have guessed it. There is no reference to love either. Having entered into a civil marriage or partnership because ‘I luv you’ it would be expected that ‘I don’t luv you anymore’ would be the grounds for a divorce. Not so. Love does not come into it. In fact if you have to face the situation of being dragged in to a divorce court, lawyers will tell you in no uncertain terms not to mention love because you will be mocked. ‘But, I still luv her’ is no defence. There is now only one ground for divorce, that is, the marriage has irretrievably broken down, shown by one party declaring there is no possibility of a reconciliation. And there we have it in a nutshell.
If divorce lawyers were honest they would tell clients not to defend a divorce action because you cannot possibly win. They do not because they would lose the fees that go along with a protracted divorce case. Even if they said ‘save your money’, it would not be true, because you will lose it at a later stage with the financial settlement. It is a lose lose situation and only the lawyers on both sides win. This is a major reason for the decline of marriage. Men in particular get a raw deal in the divorce courts, so why put yourself in that position? And why would homosexuals want to put themselves in that position? In the main they don’t want to. It is only a tiny minority of a tiny minority that want to get married because, ‘I luv my partner’.
Well they should get real and stop listening to soppy songs like; ‘love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage, you can’t have one without the other’. Yes they can, but not in public and don’t frighten the horses.
On a more serious note. There is no definition of ‘irretrievable break down’ of marriage in divorce legislation. Also, there has never been a divorce case where the term ‘irretrievable break down’ has been defined. There is no legal precedent but in thousands of divorce cases, heard every day and mainly uncontested, but with marriages worth saving, we have the sad spectacle of a legal charade of justice played out. In any other contract entered into by two parties you can only get out of it by both parties agreeing.
Marriage is the only civil contract that can be broken by one party. It lacks common sense and it is nonsense. There is no legal basis for it. Divorce is not a legal process, even though it is played out in court before a judge in an adversarial manner by professional lawyers at great expense. It is actually an administrative process. Divorce judges do not want to know about the marriage, and they most certainly do not want to enquire into the causes that comprise the grounds for the alleged irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
This is how it works. The party that wants a divorce gets a lawyer to file papers at court. These papers are then served on the other party with a form that they must complete and return to court. Pressure is then applied. If the form is fully completed you must answer the question admitting that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and there is no chance of reconciliation. Once that box is ticked both parties have agreed that the marriage is ended. The form can be returned without payment, but if the box is not ticked and the divorce is contested a fee must be paid when returning the form. After that higher and higher fees are paid to the court just for returning and submitting forms. You can see why most people just tick the box. They do not want to pay out money in an unwinable cause and even if they do want to contest, they will not be able to pay fees to a lawyer. So, we have got de facto divorce on demand.
This leaves a Catholic in a terrible dilemma when trying to defend a divorce action. There is no box that says I cannot agree to the divorce and will take no further part in the proceedings, so do your business. After all, the decree absolute is only a piece of paper. It will lead to practical consequences and much misery, but they will still be married in the eyes of God and the Church. No allowance is made in the divorce legislation for being a Catholic. If you are a Jew there is a provision that once the decree nisi is issued there will be no decree absolute until procedures in accordance with the Jewish faith are completed. Although there is no similar provision for Muslims, the court will adopt the same informal stance when an application is made. If a Catholic makes the same application it will be refused. The process for Jews and Muslims does not alter the inevitable conclusion because their faiths accept divorce. If a judge agreed to a Catholic’s application on the basis that they had married in a Catholic ceremony under Catholic cannon law, and knowing that they would not get the approval of the Church to a divorce, he would in effect be blocking the divorce.
So much for equalities legislation. Catholics are discriminated against in divorce courts and they will be resulting from same sex marriage. There is no provision being made for the exercise of conscience. Already in France we are seeing the consequences of the introduction of same sex marriage. Hundreds of Mayors, who perform civil marriage ceremonies, have declared that they will not perform same sex marriages. One has already been charged for refusing to perform a ceremony and is being prosecuted. An activist for traditional marriage has also been thrown into a French jail for campaigning, on the grounds that his T-shirt was against the law. In the US the Supreme Court has struck down the Defence of Marriage Act. How was this possible when five of the nine supreme judges are Catholic? Well, swing judge – Anthony Kennedy – who is supposed to be a Catholic voted with the liberals. This is the equivalent of Wroe-v-Wade and the legalisation of abortion.
One of the consequences of that is that democracy has been dealt a grievous blow. The voters in the State of California had voted under proposition eight to make same sex marriage in the State illegal. That democratic vote has now been overruled. The push for same sex marriage has broken out like a contagious rash across the western world. The push will now accelerate in the other US States and also in the remaining EU States that have still to legislate. The fight to resist the introduction of abortion in to Ireland is at a crucial stage and must be won because next on the agenda is a same sex marriage bill. The fact that the liberal tendency is making headway in a conservative country like Ireland is not unconnected with the debt forced on the country through membership of the Euro Zone. The European Commission and Central Bank, together with the French led IMF, are firmly in control and dictating the agenda in Ireland. The troika are in permanent residence in Leinster House and are pulling the strings.
Catholics are being prosecuted and persecuted. It will get much worse.