Sarah Teather, the Catholic Liberal Democrat MP and former Children’s Minister, put the defence of marriage before her career in the same-sex marriage vote, earning her the vitriolic anti-Catholic hate of members of the homosexual community. Ms Teather is an unlikely Catholic hero considering her previous campaigning for civil partnerships. What makes her stand even more courageous is that in the explanation she released after the vote she makes it explicitly clear that her committed Catholic faith contributed to her decision:
‘This evening I voted against the second reading of the same-sex marriage bill. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever taken. As a life-long liberal and a committed Catholic I spent many months reflecting on this issue in the lead up to the vote. I wanted to explain to people why I took this step.’
She goes on to explain the truth about real marriage:
However, changing the definition of marriage for me raises other more complex issues.
I believe that the link between family life and marriage is important. We know that permanent stable loving relationships between parents are very important for children. Such relationships make it much easier to offer the kind of consistent loving parenting that enables children to grow into healthy happy adults able to play their part in society. I recognise that this kind of stability can exist outside of marriage, but the act of giving and receiving vows in front of others and making a commitment for life is an aid to stability. It is precisely the reason that marriage has formed the basis of family life for thousands of years, and is the reason that the state has historically tried to encourage it.
I also recognise that not all couples who get married have children for a variety of reasons, and similarly that many children are now born outside of marriage. My concern, however, is that by moving to a definition of marriage that no longer requires sexual difference, we will, over time, ultimately decouple the definition of marriage from family life altogether. I doubt that this change will be immediate. It will be gradual, as perceptions of what marriage is and is for shift. But we can already see the foundations for this shift in the debate about same-sex marriage. Those who argue for a change in the law do so by saying that surely marriage is just about love between two people and so is of nobody else’s business. Once the concept of marriage has become established in social consciousness as an entirely private matter about love and commitment alone, without any link to family, I fear that it will accelerate changes already occurring that makes family life more unstable. (I should add, that I also suspect it will make marriage ultimately seem irrelevant. After all, how long before gay people begin to say, as many straight couples of my own generation have begun to say, “if marriage is just about love, why would I need a piece of paper to prove it?”). [...]
The argument in favour of same-sex marriage has mostly centred on rights. But this isn’t the only liberal philosophical perspective on the legislation. The more I considered this bill the more I was unsure about the state’s role. If an important reason for marriage is that it is a space for having and raising children, I can see the relevance for the state being involved in regulating it and encouraging stability for the good of society and for children’s welfare. Similarly, if there is a need for protection of rights to property and rights to make decisions, there are good reasons for the state to provide regulation. But neither of these things is what this legislation is trying to do. In this case, the state is regulating love and commitment alone, between consenting adults, without purpose to anything else. That feels curious to me, as I would normally consider that very much a private matter.
Protect the Pope comment: Sarah Teather MP has been courageous on two counts: First, she voted against same-sex marriage as a Lib Dem MP; second, she admitted that one of the reasons why she voted to defend marriage was due to her being a committed Catholic. As a consequence of her action and her honesty she has become a hate figure among many homosexuals, even though she has campaigned for them in the past.
Our thanks to Sarah Teather and the other Catholics who had the courage to vote against same-sex marriage. Hopefully those Catholics who voted for same-sex marriage will follow your example at the next vote.
Go on to the Pink News website and read the anti-Catholic comments to see the degree of irrational hate for us out there