Marriage Will ONLY Remain the Bedrock of Society If It Is between a Man and a Woman
Byline: by Lord Carey Former Archbishop of Canterbury
WHEN David Cameron told his party's conference last autumn about his plans to bring in gay marriage, he said that this was because he was a 'Conservative' and believed in 'commitment'.
Like many others, I was baffled by this statement. Not because I begrudge rights and benefits to homosexual couples. And certainly not because I have any great interest in the internal debates of the Conservative Party over what constitutes a true Conservative direction in policy - though 'conserving' things is definitely not what this policy is about. For it threatens to fatally weaken what is still one of our country's greatest strengths - the institution of marriage.
I was also baffled because this Government's proposal constitutes one of the greatest political power grabs in history.
The state does not 'own' the institution of marriage. Nor does the church.
The honourable estate of matrimony precedes both the state and the church, and neither of these institutions have the right to redefine it in such a fundamental way.
For thousands of years, the union of one man and one woman has been the bedrock of societies across cultures, all around the world. Marriage is now an integral part of the modern world not because of a government diktat, or a church decree, but because it has stood the test of time - and proved to be the fundamental building block for every stable society.
Marriage is one of the most important aspects of our culture, and one that the public hold in great esteem. Most people still get married, and many young people aspire to be married. Even if couples choose not to, when children come along many of them instinctively tie the knot.
By their actions they affirm their belief in what many of us know to be true - that the ideal is for children to be raised by a mother and father who are married.
Academic study after academic study has shown that adults, children and the wider community all prosper because of marriage.
A report recently published by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that cultures where monogamy is the norm are safer, while countries in which other arrangements are more common have higher levels of serious crime.
For many centuries, Britain has known much more stability than most other nations on Earth, and marriage has been essential to our national welfare. It keeps families together. It is clear that family breakdown has a personal and societal cost - from children damaged by the experience of growing up in a broken home to the older people who are left lonely and isolated because of the break-up of their families in middle age.
On a personal level, my own experience has taught me how wonderful marriage can be. I could not have managed without the support of my loving wife Eileen, who has been by my side for over five decades, assisting me with my ministry and also doing a brilliant job of raising our four children.
Marriage is the glue that binds our country together. When a couple marries, they are not just joining with one individual, but connecting two families - and in doing so creating a support network far better than anything the state can supply. …