Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

In a recent exchange of emails, my Member of Parliament, Mr Andy Slaughter, told me he intended to vote in favour of same-sex marriage. No doubt by now he has done so. He said he believed it to be an extension of human rights. I replied that, just as there can be reductio ad absurdum, so there can perhaps be extensio ad absurdum, but I am not sure that my Latin is correct. Anyway, MPs do not to have to reply to replies. Indeed, I feel slightly sorry for Andy Slaughter, bombarded not just by letters and emails protesting against same-sex marriage, but some of the million postcards distributed through Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Westminster.

The postcard points out that same-sex marriage was not in the Conservative manifesto and that it will degrade marriage and the family. I suspect that there is more than this behind most Christians' opposition to the Act. As Peter Hitchens wrote in this publication almost a year ago, the institution of marriage is already degraded by being ignored by many couples: and it was redefined when same-sex couples were permitted to adopt children. Many Christians, I suspect, object to same-sex marriage because they consider homosexual intercourse morally wrong while sex within marriage is not just licit but sacred; in Catholic countries God-fearing households have a crucifix above the conjugal bed. To call a homosexual union a marriage is therefore blasphemous. It is this that upsets so many Christian believers.

At a dinner party in Bayswater last week I asked a fellow guest, a former Tory European Commissioner, what he had thought of Cameron's speech on Europe. He said he thought it was good but had been dismayed by the Prime Minister's failure to acknowledge the strong feelings of many Continental Europeans in favour of a united Europe.

He mentioned the idea of 'an ever closer union' only to dismiss it as one of the things the EU would have to jettison along with fishery quotas. Since living in Berlin in my early twenties, I have always been an advocate of a united Europe.

At the time, it seemed obvious that the nations of Europe, instead of fighting each other, should form a federation like the United States. It was a patriotic agenda.

British prestige was high: if we seized the moment, we could forge a future superpower in our likeness and extend our influence around the globe. …

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