Michael Petek on statutory marriage and the heterobond

POSTED BY  Michael Petek

“Chauffeurs, photographers and caterers will break the law if they do not provide services to same-sex couples getting married on conscience grounds, the government’s equality watchdog has said.

In accordance with new rules introduced yesterday, businesses such as florists, hoteliers and wedding planners could have to pay thousands of pounds in damages to same-sex couples if they refuse to work on a gay wedding.

The guidance, drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and civil servants, makes it clear that “refusal to provide services to customers” is in breach of equality laws and all weddings must be catered for on an equal basis. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10732532/Caterers-who-refuse-to-work-on-same-sex-weddings-face-prosecution.html

Comment: On 29 March 2014 the legal meaning of the words ‘marriage’, ‘husband’and ‘wife’ were changed.

We now have to deal with two different institutions. In the eyes of English law, ‘marriage’ means the voluntary union for life of two persons, to the exclusion of all others. Let us call this ‘statutory marriage’. A person enters it by taking a man to be his or her husband, or a woman to be his or her wife, the parties manifesting their consent by the expression of the prescribed contracting words.

A ‘husband’ is a man, and a ‘wife’ is a woman, who is joined with another in a statutory marriage.

A statutory marriage gives rise to a package of legal rights, duties and privileges which are not available to a union of any other description. These rights and duties include none having any relation to sexual activity of any kind. There is, nor can there be, any right to the body of the spouse for sexual acts, neither can there be any duty to abstain from sexual acts with a third party.

The union formerly known as marriage has become unregulated by the law of England and is now unknown to it. To avoid confusion, let us call it ‘heterobond’, and let us use this term from now on in our dealings with the civil authorities. We can use the term ‘marriage’ for domestic consumption.

A person enters a heterobond only by irrevocably giving to, and receiving from, another person the exclusive right to the body for acts of sexual union by which a fertile couple conceives a child. For this reason it can subsist only between one man and one woman. If they irrevocably give to, and receive from, one another that exclusive right to the body, then they heterobond. If not, then they do something else. And so ‘husband’ means a man, and ‘wife’ means a woman, who has exchanged the right to the body with a living woman or man respectively.

A statutory marriage and a heterobond can be established by a man and a woman concurrently, or either after the other, or either as an alternative to the other, depending on what their intention is when they do so. A union of either description is not a union of the other, and so neither is automatically established by the fact that the other is contracted.

The position is this. The existence of statutory marriage is an injustice which no reasonable person can support. It attracts privileges in the enjoyment of certain civil, social and economic rights which are not available to persons joined in unions which are not of the statutory definition. It is available only to two adults not otherwise related to each other, and not to three or more, nor to siblings. For this reason it unjustly discriminates against unions which are factually and relevantly similar.

There is also an injustice against heterobonded couples. These make a unique contribution to the procreation and survival of the human race in that heterobond is a point of reference for determining kinship relations in society.

I propose this. First, let us get the civil authorities out of marriage by going for the abolition of statutory marriage as a legally recognised institution.

Next, let us reconstruct it on our own terms. Now that heterobond is no longer regulated by law, there is no reason why it should not be contracted privately and in the presence of witnesses of fact. The Church can offer a service to the community at large by undertaking to register, and to confer social recognition upon, the institution of heterobond. Whoever can marry (heterobond) only in church would have to do so, and whoever can do so only elsewhere could do so with the support of the Church and of any witnesses who would like to volunteer themselves.

Any takers?

There follows a letter I wrote to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York before the C of E officially went gay this week:

From: Michael Petek

To: The Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby The Most Rev and Rt Hon John Sentamu

Dear Archbishops

I have been asked to respond to new pastoral guidance permitting churches to offer special prayers to newly ‘married’ same-sex couples issued on 15th February by the House of Bishops of the Church of England, and to allow persons in same-sex couples to receive Holy Communion.

I do so as a layman in the Roman Catholic diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

Although the new guidance claims the Church’s official teaching on marriage will not be changed, nor will Church blessings of same-sex ‘marriages’ be permitted, special prayers for same-sex weddings will imply God’s approval of such unions.

The practice of offering special prayers will be perceived universally as an endorsement of same-sex ‘marriage’ and will effectively overturn official teaching.

Prescinding from the moral evaluation of homosexual genital acts, I have serious misgivings about thejustice of laws giving recognition to same-sex civil unions and same-sex marriage. The fact that a couple joined in such a union are, or are not, sexually active either with each other, or at all, is irrelevant to this evaluation. So is the fact that the terms of a civil partnership are void of any reference to sexual activity, to any right of either party to the body of the other for genital acts, or to any duty of sexual fidelity.

Marriage is a legal status to which are attached certain privileges in what concerns the enjoyment of certain civil, economic and social rights. These privileges have traditionally never been extended to domestic group units of any other description. When a man and a woman marry, even if they should remain childless, either is inducted into the blood family of the other and so the bride and the groom establish bonds of kinship between their extended families, giving rise to mutual rights and obligations which no reasonable person can gainsay, and which are beneficial for the wider society and in particular for any children who might issue from the marriage. Nothing of the kind is assertable of same-sex unions.

Society owes its continued survival to the family, founded on marriage. This is why true marriage is indissociable from factors linked to heterosexuality such as the procreation and raising of children, whose welfare cannot reliably be secured unless their father and mother are united to one another in marriage.

The evaluation of laws establishing same-sex civil unions can vary according as they confer on a couple all, most, some, or only a few, of the rights which the law confers on married couples. The more closely civil partnership resembles marriage in the array of rights attaching to it, the more compelling are the objections to it. The reason is found in the principle of non-discrimination, which demands that equal things must be treated equally, and unequal things unequally.

To treat civil partnership and same-sex marriage on an equal footing with marriage in its true sense as the exclusive union of a man and a woman for life is to commit a grave injustice against married couples. A man and his wife ought to be given special privileges which ought not to be shared with group units of any other description, because they make an irreplaceable contribution to the procreation and survival of the human race.

Among these privileges is the faculty for adopting children. To allow children to be adopted by persons living in same-sex unions would entail doing violence to them, because it would amount to deliberately depriving them, to the detriment of their full human development, of either a father or a mother.

The treatment of a civil partnership or same-sex marriage differently from non-sexual domestic group units of other descriptions falling outside the legal specification is, again, an act of unjust discrimination. It amounts to preferential treatment for same-sex couples, though these do not relevantly differ from group units consisting of close relatives or of three or more persons.

Turning to the moral evaluation of same-sex acts, whether within legally recognised unions or out of them, there is only one judgement which is open to a faithful Christian, keeping in mind the observation that the Church is a place for sinners but not for unbelievers.

That judgement is according to the truth which God has revealed in Scripture and which must be believed by all, concerning a sin which excludes sinners who persist in it from the kingdom of God. All Christian denominations have, in their constant teaching and unanimous acceptance by Christian tradition, correctly identified this truth as having been acquired with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, such that any denial or doubt of it must be reproved as heresy.

Homosexual acts are against the natural moral law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

It follows from these observations that clerics or lay persons who live in same-sex marriages or civil partnerships, or who live a lifestyle involving the commission of homosexual genital acts, are in a state of grave sin and cannot without sacrilege be admitted to to Holy Communion.

It also appears from the deliberations that the House of Bishops of the Church of England is in heretical doubt of the truth of God concerning a point of sexual morality which is not a matter of divine revelation alone, but also of reason. This cannot fail to raise issues concerning its claim to be in full organic communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Yours sincerely

Michael Petek”


M Donnelly:  Thank you Michael

9 comments to Michael Petek on statutory marriage and the heterobond

  • Lynda

    This requires the Catholic bishops to speak out and take the lead, and protect the rights and souls of their flock. Man has a natural right to do business with whomever he wants, and vice versa. He also has a natural right (and duty) not to cooperate in any way with intrinsic evil. If the bishops will not lead on this but allow good Catholics to be unlawfully coerced and persecuted, they are also guilty of tacit acquiescence with grave evil. A Catholic or man who by reason recognises objective natural law, may not cooperate or assist with objective evil. Obviously, if a person were unlawfully coerced, duress would be a mitigation as the will would be subverted. Bishops, cardinal, priests – stand up and state as one that Catholics cannot engage in such cooperation, and protect the individuals whose rights will be attacked maliciously. Lord, have mercy.

  • John Thomas

    Sliding down the ever so slippery slope

    Now that aberromarriage has been legalised, what next ? where will it ultimately lead?

    Here is a chilling early warning

    h/t patheos (Father Logenecker)

    New Movie Panders to Pedophiles


  • shaun the sheep

    Awful. As a person who daydreams of one day being a wedding photographer, I would not be prepared to photograph a homo-union. I simply couldn’t as it would do grave violence to my conscience to pretend everything was ok and to take pictures of this unnatural and sinful behaviour. I would simply decline such a request. I’d also include in my terms and conditions that it is my business and I reserve the right to refuse service based on my definition of marriage. I’d probably be sued and put right out of business and maybe in jail as I couldn’t pay the fines, but I wouldn’t go down without a fight!!!

  • This law should be opposed on the basis that slavery – forcing someone to provide a service or face punishment – is illegal in Great Britain.

  • ms Catholic state

    The couple hounded from their B&B business by a gay pair are taking their case to Europe (I don’t know which court). Sometimes the EU does have its uses. God willing they will win. Europe doesn’t want to lose more support at the moment…..and that’s the criteria the EU goes by as always.

    • confused

      It is the European Court of Human Rights. The ECHR has NOTHING to do with the EU. The ECHR has jurisdiction over countries such as Norway, Iceland, Turkey and Russia who are not members of the EU.

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