UK government to remove sexual consummation from marriage law to allow unnatural marriage

Edward Leigh, a Catholic Conservative MP, has expressed  outrage at David Cameron’s plans to remove the requirement for sexual consummation from UK marriage law to allow unnatural ‘marriages’ between homosexual persons.

Edward Leigh claimed it would reduce marriage to the level of a civil partnership — an option already available to gay people.  ’It will have profound effects on the ability of individuals to have a marriage annulled. This is important to Catholics for whom annulment is permitted by the church, but divorce is not.’

Mr Leigh warned of a rash of legal challenges if the need to consummate a marriage is removed.

Protect the Pope comment: The reason why David Cameron wants to remove the requirement for sexual consummation from UK marriage law is that homosexuals are incapable of ‘ordinary and complete’ sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. The unnatural sexual acts that homosexuals and lesbians perform on each other obviously render them incapable of entering into marriage as understood and practiced for thousands of years.

Instead of recognizing the truth of the situation David Cameron and the Coalition government plan to go further down the path of madness by removing ordinary and complete sexual intercourse from the definition of marriage. By removing conjugal sex and the inherent capacity for children from marriage Cameron is reducing marriage to a legal contract between two people. If he succeeds in his plans, PM David Cameron will have broken the perennial link between human nature and marriage, turning it into a legal fiction.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/article4340305.ece

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/govt-to-rip-out-sex-from-marriage-law/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+christianinstitute+%28The+Christian+Institute%29

57 comments to UK government to remove sexual consummation from marriage law to allow unnatural marriage

  • Burt

    How interesting and also how revealing. I guess it shows the absurdity of homosexual ‘unions’ being described as marriages anyway. Would you have homosexual divorces because one partner failed his ‘marital’ duty to sodomise the other? ok sorry it’s too gross to even think about.

  • Burt

    I am sure most readers of this excellent website have signed this petition, but just in case you haven’t….
    http://c4m.org.uk/
    Click the link and sign.

  • Jim S

    “homosexuals are incapable of ‘ordinary and complete’sexual intercourse between a man and a woman”

    But it certainly does’t stop them from having children. A gay couple I know have five children between them.

    • Deacon Nick

      But those poor children are not the result to the sexual union between the homosexual persons, that’s the point. Deacon Nick

      • Jim S

        They are the result of former relationships with women.

        • Karla

          The biological complementarity issue is key in the gay ‘marriage’ debate because marriage is rooted in this complementarity between a man and woman, that a woman and woman, and/or a man and a man do not have. Traditional marriage needs to be protected because it serves an interest in affirming and sustaining male/female relationship and provides a stable environment for children to be brought up in. This is not to say gay people can not bring up children well, but studies show children do best in an environment with a mother and a father who are married.

    • Karla

      But gay people can not procreate with each other. They do not have biological sexual complementarity.

  • Karla

    Gay ‘marriage’ is a legal fiction. It is absolute nonsense. Government has no authority to redefine an institution which was not created by government.

    • Jim S

      The courts have already come to the conclusion it is not fiction.

      • Deacon Nick

        Jim S, what courts have already come to the conclusion that gay marriage is not fiction? Not courts in the UK.

      • Karla

        What authority does a court have to redefine marriage?

        Government does not have authority to redefine marriage, which it did not create. If you believe the government has authority to redefine which it did not create then you are giving so much power to the government that can also lead to corruption and relativism.

        • Jim S

          It is not about redefining, but extending marriage. Civil partnerships are also to be amended and classified as marriage in due course.

          • Karla

            No, it is redefining marriage. Marriage for 5000 years has been defined as between one man and one woman, if you change that to mean a man/man or woman/woman or three or people can marry that is redefining the very nature of marriage.

          • Gurn

            I knew consummation would be an issue and I can remember wondering what on earth would be judged by the government as ‘consummation’ among homosexual couples, but now they want to remove consummation entirely from marriage! At least they are being honest about their continual rejection of reality.

          • Gurn

            Jim, extending marriage to homosexuals is as absurd as extending pregnancy to males.

      • Burt

        The Courts have also come to the conclusion that killing babies in the womb is not murder. The courts may soon make it illegal for me to tell you that sodomy is a disgusting perversion. If you want to support a totalitarian future that makes right wrong and wrong right, by law, that is your choice. Wake up people before it is too late.

        • Ioannes

          Murder is a common-law offence and is usually defined as the unlawful killing “with malice aforethought” of a person who is “in being and under the Queen’s peace”. “In being” has always been taken to mean completely extruded from the mother, so an unborn child cannot be murdered. However, abortion is still a criminal offence (unless carried out in accordance with the 1967 Act), as is child destruction, so the unborn child is still protected by law.

  • ms catholic state

    Thank God for Edward Leigh. As far as I can remember he is also the MP which brings up the fate of persecuted Christians in the Middle East etc.

  • harry

    Does a marriage have to be consumated if the partners agree that consumation is not required. Assuming that the answer is no [ie the partners agree], then does the Church still hold that to be a non-marriage?

    • Deacon Nick

      Non-consummation of the marriage, even if both parties agree, means that it is not a marriage. Sexual intercourse is intrinsic to marriage. The physical act of union expresses and confirms definitively the union of self-giving and acceptance between a husband and wife. A union that can only be broken by the death of one of the spouses. Deacon Nick

      • Christopher

        ‘Non-consummation of the marriage,even if both parties agree,means that it is not a marriage.’
        Surely there is some error here. If it were the teaching of the Church we would have to say that in some sense the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph were not married.

        • ms catholic state

          It is also true that if a couple get married with the intention of never having children, this is not a valid marriage in the eyes of the Church. A devout Catholic woman told me this….otherwise I would never have known it. These practicalities should be taught in our parishes and schools.

        • ms catholic state

          Christopher….as far as I know Our Lady was the daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit. This again I was not taught at school or in Church…but read in the Catholic media somewhere. But what of Catholics who do not read the Catholic media?!

        • Teresa

          Christopher

          Not being an expert I would say that Mary & Joseph’s relationship had a special purpose ordained by God. They were set apart for the specific purpose of Mary giving birth to Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God, and together bringing Him up. Their vocation served a higher purpose, and was specific to them. I don’t think we can use that as an argument against the nature of marriage of ordinary people which is again ordained by God.

          Just for info – extracts from the Code of Canon Law relating to the conjugal act of procreation

          MATRIMONIAL CONSENT

          Can. 1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage:
          1/ those who lack the sufficient use of reason;
          2/ those who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and duties mutually to be handed over and accepted;
          3/ those who are not able to assume the essential obligations of marriage for causes of a psychic nature.

          Can. 1096 §1. For matrimonial consent to exist, the contracting parties must be at least not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.

          SPECIFIC IMPEDIMENTS

          Can. 1084 §1. Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature.
          §2. If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether by a doubt about the law or a doubt about a fact, a marriage must not be impeded nor, while the doubt remains, declared null.
          §3. Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 1098.
          Can. 1085 §1. A person bound by the bond of a prior marriage, even if it was not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.
          Can. 1087 Those in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.
          Can. 1088 Those bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute invalidly attempt marriage.

          • Teresa

            I would add that because Mary bore God Incarnate and that is something that no other human will do, then we cannot imitate her state as it was directed to that.

        • Chris

          Quite possibly, after all he was 90 and she was 12 [comment moderated]

  • ms catholic state

    Jesus Christ gives the complete definition of marriage in Matthew 19. This is the definition from God Himself and the one that we adhere to.

    • Teresa

      This is true but it is a response to the question from the Pharisees about divorce. They did not ask about procreation and therefore Jesus did not mention this in His answer. We have to look elsewhere in the Bible for this. Genesis 1:27-28 springs to mind but there are more.

      • Teresa

        What I meant to say is Matthew 19 is a true definition but not a complete one for the reason I have mentioned.

      • Teresa

        Matthew 19 does mention that there are those who are unable to procreate and those who choose not to and recommends celebacy. Living singly and chastely is a gift but not all receive this gift. He does not state that the celebate state should be lived within a marriage.

      • ms catholic state

        Yes….but Christ elaborates and goes into detail as to what constitutes marriage.

        • Teresa

          could you please list all the verses which you say are Jesus’ “complete” teaching on the matter? I have been right through chapter 19. He asserts indissolubility of marriage in response to the question about divorce and says what constitutes adultery. He then states that some are called to celibacy (but does not state that He means within marriage).

          Jesus quotes Genesis. He obviously knew that it also spoke of going forth and multiplying. He mentions the “male and female” bit and the “becoming one flesh” bit. I don’t think He missed the “multiplying” bit because He disagreed with it. He was responding to a question on divorce not whether to have sex and bear children. The Jews believed a child to be a gift after all.

          I put it to you again that His teaching in Matthew 19 was most definitely true, but not necessarily a complete doctrine on what constitutes marriage.

          • Teresa

            sorry I meant “The Jews believed a child to be a gift of God”

          • ms catholic state

            I am speaking of Matthew Chapter 19 verses 1-12. I cannot see how this is not complete. While Jesus does not speak about bearing children….that is the natural outcome of ‘becoming one flesh’, if God wills it. And in the debate on the nature of marriage….it is to this chapter I will turn to, as it is from the Master Himself and as far as I can see…it is complete.

          • ms catholic state

            By the way….I didn’t use the word doctrine or teaching. I used the word definition. Christ’s definition of marriage is mine.

          • Teresa

            The verse in question had said more to me about the two adults and I had not understood it necessarily to be speaking about offspring. I am still unsure that I would consider it complete, but I appologise for misunderstanding you.

  • Ioannes

    As far as I know, non-consummation would be a strong ground for annulment in Canon Law but does not in itself invalidate a marriage.

    I have known Edward Leigh since university days. He is a Tory in the real and best sense of the word. I have no idea what Cameron is.

    • Teresa

      It would depend on whether the individuals intended never to consummate their marriage either intentionally or by reason of impediment or would never do so due to lack of judgement or ability to comprehend. If any of these exist then they are lacking in proper consent. The priest should be able to identify lack of proper consent (indeed a form must be completed to demonstrate proper consent). Of course it is possible that one/both individuals deceive the priest and enter into marriage invalidly, in which case it would be grounds for annulment as there is not a valid marriage.

      See Canon Law extracts in my post above

  • markarmitage

    I am by no means an expert in canon law, but it seems to me that some of these comments contain some highly misleading opinions. The Catholic Church has a long tradition of recognising “Josephite marriages” – i.e. marriages in which both partners freely agree to live in complete continence with each other for the purpose of mutual sanctification. It has always been a rarity, but a Josephite marriage is a perfectly valid marriage. I give some relevant links below. Regarding the belief (proposed in some of the comments above) that a marriage needs to be consummated in order to be valid, Jimmy Akin writes as follows:

    A valid marriage comes into existence upon the valid exchange of matrimonial consent between two parties that are free to marry each other and not otherwise impeded. If the parties are not both baptized … then the marriage is a non-sacramental one, but nonetheless valid. If both parties are baptized then the marriage is a sacramental one. If the marriage is sacramental and the parties then consummate it, it becomes indissoluble by anything except death. Otherwise, it is at least potentially dissoluble. Consummation thus changes the status of certain marriages (sacramental ones) but it is not necessary for marriage to be valid.”

    http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/unusual-controversial-catholic-subject.html

    http://jimmyakin.com/2005/07/marys_marriage.html

    http://catholicexchange.com/a-meditation-on-%E2%80%98josephite%E2%80%99-marriage/

    • just asking

      Mark, I know you claim not to be an expert, but you clearly know more about canon law than I do.

      So what do my make of Edward Leigh’s claim that this possible change to English law would ’have profound effects on the ability of individuals to have a marriage annulled’?

      Surely annullment is goverened by Canon law not English law? Is Mr Leigh talking nonsense or have I missed something?

      • markarmitage

        Just Asking, you ask some very good questions. However, I think these questions need to be put to someone who has more expertise than I possess. I tend to feel that canon law is one of those subjects on which non-experts such as myself should be wary of venturing opinions. I’m not at all sure how annulments in civil law relate to annulments in canon law. And, of course, canon law in the Church of England and the Orthodox Church will be different to canon law in the Catholic Church (not to mention the fact that traditionalist Catholic groups like the SSPX will presumably be working with an earlier code of canon law), so the question of how civil law impacts on various different kinds of canon law is, I would imagine, very complicated.

      • Teresa

        I agree it isn’t all that clear what he is trying to say.

        You are right – a Catholic marriage is governed by Catholic Canon Law. A civil marriage is not recognised by the Catholic Church. As far as the Church is concerned, annulment would have no effect as there was not a valid marriage in the first place. A marriage in other Churches (tho not necessarily all other Churches) is considered valid so an annulment would need to be sought.

        But unless an individual is a Catholic or planning on marrying or separating from one then what the Catholic Church sees as valid would not be a consideration for them.

        Catholic marriages cannot be annulled by a civil court (well the court may do so but the Church wouldn’t recognise it).

        As far as this change in the English Law is concerned, the Catholic Church is not going to want to see a further diminishing in the meaning and value of marriage, especially one that is likely to lead to even more relationship and family break-ups. Some may see annulments as an easy option to divorce (who knows until it starts to happen)

        As for Catholics, my personal feeling is that this will just serve to confuse people, especially those who do not fully understand Church teaching on marriage or why it matters. And there is already plenty of confusion around the matter of Catholic annulments (who can get one and why). This will lead to even more confusion and and people going astray. The true nature of marriage will no doubt be further obscured.

        • just asking

          well I didn’t know until today tha there is such a thing as annulment in English civil law. 3 possible grounds – non consumation, veneral disease or pregnant by someone else. The last two grounds require the other party to be ignorant of the disease or pregnancy (ie they become non-grounds if both parties consent)

          I can’t see that removing a ground for civil law annulment will actully make much difference to the chance of a marriage surviving. Because divorce is available and much more widely used than annulment anyway. Outside of the Catholic Church I don’t think people do see annulment as an easy option to divorce because there are so few of them and divorce is relatively easy especially if there are no children.

          Civil marriage is in crisis, but I am not convinced that Cameron’s proposal makes it any worse. By removing the requirement for consumation you are actually strengthening marriage (or you would be if divorce wasn’t so easy) because what you are actually doing is removing an option for ending a marriage on the ground of non-consumation.

    • Teresa

      The links you give are the reflections of individuals (their opinion).

      Having looked through your links, through Canon Law and the Catechism (admittedly all rather quickly) I do not see anywhere in Official Church Teaching & Law that explicitly permits or encourages celibacy/virginity within marriage. A higher calling – yes. But not in the married state. There is plenty stating that marriage is ordered to procreation and that proper consent only exists if this is intended (see my post above re Canon Law on this).

      You say it is perfectly valid. Can you point me to which Church Teaching/Canon explicitly qualifies this? …..and where it says that a non sacramental marriage is valid?

      • markarmitage

        Teresa, canon law is outside my competence, and, where questions of canon law are concerned, I think it is inappropriate for non-experts such as myself to venture opinions. My understanding is that it is a matter of fact that “Josephite marriages” do take place and that they have done so for a long time (the practice is mentioned as a rare but perfectly Catholic one on the very traditionalist Fisheaters website), but that they are so infrequent that they are not covered in the Catechism or in the standard canon law texts. I would imagine that two people who wanted to enter into such an arrangement would do so only after extensive consultation with a good spiritual director, and that the spiritual director would advise on matters of canon law, dispensations, etc. I would also imagine that the Church would approve of this kind of marriage only in very limited and exceptional circumstances – which explains why the standards documents such as the CCC do not cover it.

        • just asking

          “I would also imagine that the Church would approve of this ”

          I imagine that teh church would approve of this too. There is plenty that the Church approves of that isn’t part of cannon law and plenty that the church approves of that it does not regonise as a marriage (at least in the sense that the word is usally understood – ie a sacremental marriage).

          Returning to the gay “marriage” issue, the church might approve of chaste homosexual lifelong friendships, but is won’t regard them as marriages.

          Cameron’s proposal raises issue that are actually rather complex. If we are going to have civil same-sex marriages (and we will – if not now then some time in the future), I’d much rather have them in a form that doesn’t require homosexual acts to be regarded as valid in the eyes of the state than one that does.

          By decoupling gay civil marriage from sex, you make them essentially civil partnerships mascurading under the term “marriage”. You can object to the term used to descibe them on grounds of acuracy and respect for the English language, but objections to the thing itself don’t logically go any further than objections to civil partnerships.

          You can’t accuse gay marriages of encoraging sinful sexual behaviour of that behaviour isn’t a requirement of the marriage.

          I am much less sure than straight marriages need to be changed by this proposal, but those of us with religious marriages are unaffected.

      • just asking

        “and where it says that a non sacramental marriage is valid?”

        Isn’t the point that it depends what you mean by valid? A non-sacremental marriage isn’t valid as a sacrement, but it might be valid as a contract or as an honourable agreement between two parties or recognised by the Church in some other way. Both the state and the church can choose to recognise and honour things that are not sacrements. It might be a good thing or a bad thing (depending on the details) and the Church can decide whether or not it is good or bad but it isn’t valid as a sacrement. The question is therefore is it appropriate to call it a marriage? That is a question of linguistic acuracy and clarity and not one I can get very excited about. I don’t have any problem with anyone using the term “Josephite marriages” but it clearly doesn’t fall within the broader Venn diagram labelled “marriage” and therefore doesn’t actually redefine what we might call ordinary marriage. The parallel with gay “marriage” are obvious. To my mind it is a question of whether these “marriages” are good or bad in themselves. They are not recognised as sacrements so whilst the term might do harm to the English language they don’t change the definition of sacremental marriage at all. The space race broadened the English language meaning of the word “ship” (to include “space ships”) but did not change the definition of the term “ship” as recognised by the Royal Navy.

      • just asking

        …a non-sacremental marriage (because of non-consumation) is “valid” to the extent that it prevents a subsequnt marriage taking place until an annulment is granted. So it is “recognised” in some way by Cannon law. I would be wrong to say that it is recognised as a marriage though.

        Does the church grant annulments to sacremental Catholic marriages only or would it grant one to a couple who had a non-consumated civil marriage? or would it just ignore the civil marriage and allow a subsequent sacremental marriage?

        • Teresa

          I think (but I am not certain) that there is no need for an annulment for a non-consummated civil marriage.

          “The question is therefore is it appropriate to call it a marriage?”
          If marriage is a sacrament then perhaps it may not be a good idea for those who are aguing against redefinition of marriage to call a relationship a marriage that isn’t

          I actually have lectures over the next few days by someone who is an expert in matters such as these and an expert in Canon Law. I think I will ask him about Josephite marriage.

  • Peter

    On another aspect of this I wonder if the removal of the assumption that a relationship is sexual should remove the bar on siblings entering a civil partnership. This would seem to be to be appropriate so that the two can be next of kin, can pass pension rights and property between them and even share responsibility for children on one of the two (perhaps a widower).

  • Teresa

    I think (but I am not certain) that there is no need for an annulment for a non-consummated civil marriage.

    ………or a consummated civil marriage as the Church regocnises neither as a marriage.

  • Chris

    I’m not really interested so much in the religious aspect of this discusion, (everyone has their own personal views I’m sure, as do I). I just wanted to point out that Cameron’s motivation for promoting marriage between gay people (civil partnerships, and now full marriage) probably has less to do with equal rights and more to do with the removal of benefits for couples who live together where one person is employed and the other is not.

  • If one takes sexuality out of marriage, or the necessity to include it in the very definition, then my brother should be able to marry my father, and my sister should be able to marry ME! Then they could happily collect government benefits, like, say, Social Security, (USA). Since ya don’t have to have sex involved, then it is not incest. Oh goodie. Wait till I tell my sister she can cash in BIG on “CivilPartnership” turned into marriage. After all the incest taboo is about having SEX with close relatives –babies with 8 toes or something resulting; there should be no objection to marriage of same-sex relatives if one does not include sexual activity, or suppose moral meaning in the definition of marriage. Ahhh shoot, let’s just have a big free for all!

    Daughter/Mother marriage? Father and son marriage? Still no kids would result, so what the heck! Rules = culture. Culture is arbitrary. Let’s burn it all down and have a world-wide orgy.

  • Philip Maguire

    And one reason Cameron wants to remove the requirement for consummation is because he doesn’t want to put a legal requirement for sodomy into the Marriage Act in addition to the impossibility of finding a suitable lesbian act.

    It might just be that inserting a requirement for buggery into the Act might be a bit too much for the populace to swallow.

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